The Green Bay Packers' season looks beyond saving, and that's created a change in incentives for the would-be contender.
Currently sitting at 4-8 after a 40-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers are suddenly in the position of considering whether or not to bench star quarterback Aaron Rodgers and give his back-up, former first-round pick Jordan Love, the opportunity to start the season's remaining games.
Love impressed in relief of Rodgers last week after the veteran sustained a ribs injury, going 6-for-9 for 113 passing yards and a long touchdown pass to rookie Christian Watson. Rodgers said Tuesday he will be ready to play this week, with some extra rib protection, but his starting status might not be a certainty going forward.
It's a position that would have been unthinkable at the start of the season, when Rodgers was coming off two straight MVP awards. And yet, Rodgers told reporters on Wednesday that he understands if the Packers opt to make a change under center.
"Look, I'd love to finish the season out, but I understand this is a business and there's a lot of us kind of older guys who play a decent amount and they might want to see some younger guys play," Rodgers said Wednesday. "Hopefully we don't have to have that conversation. But if that conversation comes up, I'll approach that with an open mind and without any bitterness or resentment. Obviously, like I said, I want to win out and we don't have to have those conversations. I understand if we don't that's a possibility to have that conversation."
Given the process Rodgers had to go through before he became the Green Bay starter, you can see why he might understand where the Packers are coming from.
It's been something of a nightmare season for Rodgers, who lost both wide receiver Davante Adams and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett lost offseason. In 12 starts this season, he has posted a 64.8 percent completion rate with 2,682 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His 6.8 yards per pass attempt is his second-lowest mark since taking over as starter in 2008.
Set to turn 39 years old on Friday, Rodgers' future in Green Bay is as up in the air as it's ever been, as shown by one answer to a question about getting right for next year:
When asked if that would be a better course of action to make sure he's fully healthy for next year, Rodgers said: "I mean, that's an assumption that this place won't look any different next year. Again, that's part of the conversation."
Rodgers signed a four-year, $200 million contract extension last offseason that keeps him under contract with the Packers through 2026.