Green Bay Packers, NFL Draft

What is Packers’ path forward if Aaron Rodgers retires after 2022?

Although under contract through 2026, Aaron Rodgers feels like a year-to-year player at this point of his career for the Green Bay Packers.

With Aaron Rodgers about to turn 39-years-old in early December, we have to wonder what happens if the Green Bay Packers‘ star quarterback calls it a career after this season.

Rodgers is under contract with Green Bay through his age-43 season in 2026. While he could keep playing well into his 40s, each offseason has been more chaotic than the previous one for the future first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer. Given that Green Bay has struggled mightily this year, Rodgers could conceivably decide he has had enough of the NFL and moves on with his life.

Here is what the Packers need to do if Rodgers decides to hang up the spikes after this season.

What Green Bay Packers need to do if Aaron Rodgers retires after this season

With the Packers have their worst season in years, it probably serves Green Bay to attempt an honest rebuild once the franchise knows for sure Rodgers is not coming back. They should have a top-16 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, possibly inside of the top 10 if things get worse down the stretch. So for the first time in years, go draft a star offensive playmaker inside of the first round!

From there, Green Bay should sign a veteran free agent quarterback on a cheap, one-year deal so that he can battle with Jordan Love for the starting job. Keep in mind that Love will be entering year four out of Utah State. He is under contract for one more season. Although Green Bay could conceivably exercise the fifth-year option on the former first-rounder, the guy has barely played!

While players and coaches do not tank, organizations do. The chances of Love being a third as good as Rodgers or Brett Favre were in their primes are slim to none. Therefore, Green Bay may need to reposition itself for getting as close to the top of the board in the 2024 NFL Draft. USC’s Caleb Williams would be the No. 1 pick in that particular draft, but there may be other candidates.

Although one could argue for taking a quarterback in 2023, Green Bay is probably not going to be bad enough to be in a realistic position to draft either Bryce Young out of Alabama or C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State. Hendon Hooker out of Tennessee would have been right in the Packers’ wheelhouse, but he tore his ACL last week. Taking a flier on Hooker in day two is not a bad idea.

The reason the Packers would want to look at using first-round pick on a quarterback in 2024 as opposed to 2023 is to avoid paying that star quarterback one year earlier. In theory, Williams throwing the ball to college teammate Jordan Addison professionally in Green Bay is far better than Young having nobody to throw to with Love backing him up and still holding that clipboard…

By essentially punting on being overly competitive in 2023, the Packers can figure out if Love can play, if Matt LaFleur can really coach and if Brian Gutekunst is the right man for the job to oversee the most lengthy Packers rebuilding process in generations. If it hits the fan in 2023, then Green Bay can go ahead and select Williams or whomever with total confidence in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Simply put, Green Bay has enough brand equity to afford a few bad seasons in a row. It happens to pretty much every other team in the league. The goal would be for the next Rodgers or Favre to be hitting his stride midway through the 2025 NFL season. It may stink to high heaven to watch bad football for a few years, but you would so take that for 10 seasons of the next Patrick Mahomes.

Ultimately, Green Bay is an ultra-conservative operation and will not do anything drastic, even if Rodgers were to be a little more impulsive to their liking. While it may not be pretty, the Packers are not going to be directionless in the immediate aftermath of a premature Rodgers exodus. They are not going to make it up as they go. Green Bay will have a plan of action to follow through with.

If Rodgers retires after this year, all focus should be on nailing the next two drafts for Green Bay.

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