Around this time last year, Aaron Rodgers seemed to be on his way out of Green Bay. The Denver Broncos were reportedly near a trade during the NFL Draft that would’ve shipped the future Hall of Famer out of Green Bay.
The deal ultimately fell apart, and Rodgers and the Packers were able to mend their relationship enough for him to commit to return last season. Beyond that, though, was still a question mark, especially after the team ended its season in disappointing fashion. As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, they were upset at home in their first playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Rodgers hinted that he’d consider retiring, and if he did play, Denver once again emerged as an interested suitor for him, especially after the team hired former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as coach in the offseason.
But, in a major reversal from where they stood last year, Rodgers and the Packers announced that he’d return to the team. Green Bay signing him to a record-breaking contract extension certainly helped, but Rodgers also seemed to grow less distrustful of the team’s coaching staff, front office, and overall direction as the season wore on. And, in addition to the money in the extension, Rodgers will reportedly have the flexibility to consider retiring whenever he wants during the life of the contract.
Rodgers back in the fold checks off the Packers’ biggest offseason priority as a success. But they still have some work to do. Here are three other questions the team needs to answer now that Rodgers will be back under center.
It’s also time to pay Davante Adams: Offseason reports suggested that any team wishing to secure Rodgers’ services also needed to be ready to sign his star receiver, Adams, to a big contract. Adams is one of the best free agents on the market, so signing him will not come cheap, and it’s likely that Green Bay will need to come up with a big offer for him as a condition of Rodgers agreeing to come back.
After news of Rodgers’ contract broke, the Packers also announced that they’ve designated Adams with their franchise tag. That’ll give them time to work out a long-term deal with him, so expect that to be a major priority in the coming weeks.
What’s next for Jordan Love?: Drafting Love in the first round in 2020, purportedly to be the team’s quarterback of the future, rather than using that pick to add an offensive weapon for Rodgers at a different position was reportedly one of Rodgers’ frustrations with the team.
Now that Rodgers is back and signed to a 4-year extension, that sort of negates the need for a “quarterback of the future.” Green Bay still needs a reliable backup, and that could certainly be Love. He’s played six games in his career, completing 58 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
He’s still young and has untapped potential, something that a rebuilding quarterback-needy team might have more patience to develop. The team could explore trading Love for a draft pick or asset, and then sign a more veteran backup whose play would be more predictable in the event Rodgers gets hurt.
Find a tight end: One position of need that will help Rodgers out is tight end. Robert Tonyan missed most of last season due to injury, and is now a free agent. With receivers Adams, Allen Lazard, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling all entering free agency as well, the Packers might not have the money to afford Tonyan as well.
If they don’t re-sign him, finding an affordable and reliable pass-catcher at the position should be a priority.