Each offseason the Green Bay Packers are met with the uncertainty of whether their future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers will return or ride off into the sunset.
The last two off seasons the reigning back-to-back MVP has taken the Packers on an emotional roller coaster, ultimately deciding to return to the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field” for one more run.
But each time it’s becoming increasingly nerve-racking for a franchise that doesn’t have a succession plan in place. And based on early returns, unexpected 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love hasn’t looked like he’s ready to assume the mantle, if called upon.
So that leaves Rodgers to toy with the emotions of the franchise following each season, only to eventually return for another. One person who’s tired of his act is “Inside The NBA” on TNT analyst Charles Barkley, someone who’s never been afraid to speak his mind. During a recent appearance on the “Waddle & Silvy” radio show Barkley tore into Rodgers’ tired and selfish act.
“Aaron Rodgers is the pretty girl that you gotta tell her she’s pretty every day … He’s that girl, ‘Oh, I don’t think I look good today?’ ‘I told you five days in a row you look good. I gotta tell you every day apparently.’ ”
Barkley continued, as he then proceeded to call out other top signal callers in the league for their “acts of selfishness.”
“You know what I don’t understand with these quarterbacks? Why they such greedy pigs? I’m being serious. Every quarterback who has gotten big money never won again. You go Flacco, you go Russell, Aaron the first time, you go Drew Brees; Dak is gonna be in that boat. Matt Ryan’s in that same boat.”
Barkley is speaking truth, when you look at someone like Tom Brady who takes considerably less on each deal to keep the competitive edge. That style has led him to 10 Super Bowl appearances and seven Super Bowl wins — more than the rest of the starting quarterbacks in the league combined.
Rodgers Cashed In This Offseason: But Also Lost Star Receiver
The back-and-forth with the mercurial Rodgers led to him signing a record deal of three years, $150.8 million, or roughly $50 million per season. That’s the most any player in NFL history has been given to set foot on the gridiron. But the deal came at a cost as All-Pro wide receiver and arguably the league’s best pass catcher Davante Adams asked for a trade, after having grown tired of the yearly offseason circus that has become “ARod12.”
Now Rodgers will have to perform with a cast of receivers not anywhere in the same stratosphere as the aforementioned Adams. But as Barkley mentioned, that’s the greed that likely will keep him from winning that elusive second Lombardi Trophy.
All legendary quarterbacks are measured by Super Bowl wins, and winning two puts one in a different conversation. While Rodgers has the numbers, not having that second Super Sunday win is a bit of an asterisk on his illustrious soon-to-be Hall of Fame resume.
— NFL (@NFL) March 17, 2022
Packers Will Have To Lean On Defense And Running Game
Minus Adams, and with a roster full of journeymen receivers and rookie receivers, the Packers may be forced to lean on their running game and defense this season. That may not be a bad thing when you consider they have a dynamic duo in the backfield that consists of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, who are affectionately known as “Thunder and Lightning.”
Last season, the two combined for 2,316 yards (rushing and receiving) and 17 touchdowns. That tandem ranks second behind the Cleveland Browns duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) May 25, 2021
On defense, the Packers may have their best group since their 2010 Super Bowl run — led by the edge tandem of Preston Smith and Rashan Gary who combined for 18.5 sacks, 85 QB pressures and 31 QB hurries. In the secondary they have former All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander, who’s become one of the best man-to-man cover guys in the league — who was paid like it this offseason.
In all, Rodgers will have plenty of help in other areas. And this season he may not have a choice but to lean on those aforementioned areas to ensure a winning season for the cheeseheads.