Bears

NFL Rumor: Aaron Rodgers is linked to the Colts

Bears

As Aaron Rodgers' future remains in question for the third consecutive offseason, one source relayed an interesting scenario to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler

"One NFC executive brought up an interesting team that's sort of random but would make some sense on paper: Indianapolis," Fowler said. "The Colts enter the offseason with $20.6 million in cap space. They absolutely need a quarterback. Despite a four-win season, the roster is not void of talent, especially on defense. And Indy owns the fourth overall pick, an easy dangling point in a potential deal with Green Bay.

"'[Indianapolis general manager Chris] Ballard has to get one [a quarterback] and get it right,' the executive said. 'Maybe they just draft one and save the money, but Rodgers would be different than their other past stopgap options because he's more of a sure thing.'"

The situation poses an interesting case for both Rodgers and the Colts to resolve their longstanding issues. 

Despite signing a three-year extension with the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers has lacked the trust the organization can build the proper team around him to compete for a deep playoff run. The Packers haven't made the Super Bowl game since 2010 when Rodgers helped the Packers win. 

As for the Colts, they've failed their third consecutive plug-and-play quarterback experiment, the latest victim being Matt Ryan. Before that, Carson Wentz and Philip Rivers have each tried their hands, and failed, despite Rivers bringing the Colts to a first-round playoff berth. 

 

In summation, the Colts need a quarterback, and Rodgers might want a new home. 

This could affect the Chicago Bears, not only by the potential departure of Rodgers from the NFC North – a division he's helped the Packers win eight times in the past 11 seasons – but also in the draft. 

Some pundits believe the Colts are interested suitors for the Bears' No. 1 pick in the draft, allowing the Bears to trade down in the draft to acquire more capital while remaining in a competitive position for a top defensive player in the draft. 

If the Colts hypothetically included their No. 4 pick in the draft in a trade for Rodgers, the odds of the Bears trading down to the No. 4 spot decrease. Unless, however, the Packers would be interested in drafting one of the draft's top quarterbacks  – Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud – to succeed Rodgers, that they would be inclined to trade with the Bears.

RELATED: Rodgers trade could have ripple effect that impacts Bears' plans

There are reasons for this move coming to fruition, and simultaneously remaining a rumor. 

For starters, the Colts have attempted to inject a veteran quarterback into their roster for three straight seasons by way of Ryan, Wentz and Rivers. None have worked. In that time frame, they've made the playoffs once. This past season, they recorded four wins. 

They've already debunked their interest in Derek Carr, the Raiders quarterback who is bound for the trade market this offseason, or free agency if Las Vegas doesn't field any intriguing offers for the veteran signal-caller. 

Does this mean the Colts won't quadruple down on their plug-and-play strategy for a fourth-straight season, and keep their eyes set on the NFL draft for a quarterback?

Not necessarily. 

Rodgers is a proven commodity. Even at the late stages of his career, he can bring the right team to Super Bowl contention. Between the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Rodgers won back-to-back MVP awards, proving his consistently elite ability, despite nearing 40 years old. 

And with a Colts offense stacked to the brim with Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman and one of the league's better offensive lines, they could generate success with Rodgers. Not to mention, they have one of the best groups on paper on the defensive side of the ball, headlined by Shaquille Leonard, DeForest Buckner and Julian Blackmon. 

The name of the game for the Colts is cap management. They will have nearly $20 million free to use this upcoming offseason, but would need to adjust their roster to inhale Rodgers' gargantuan contract that holds over $100 million in guaranteed dollars.

Rodgers, however, acknowledged his contract situation, saying on the Pat McAfee show on Tuesday: "Definitely things would have to shift. ... There would have to be some adjustments for sure."

 

Will the NFC North shed Rodgers, while forcing the Bears to readjust their draft strategy? Or, will the Rodgers rumor mill keep on churning?

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