Aaron Rodgers got what he wanted. Sort of.
Before the 2020 draft, Rodgers made it clear in comments to Pat McAfee that the long-time Packers starter wouldn’t complain about seeing the team’s first-round pick devoted to getting him some help offensively.
“We haven’t picked a skill player in the first round in 15 years, so that would be kind of cool,” Rodgers said.
Yes, the Packers finally picked a skill-position player for the first time since selecting Rodgers in 2005. And by all appearances, the guy they picked will be Rodgers’ successor, eventually.
The decision to draft Rodgers came at a time when Brett Favre continuously engaged in annual exercises of angst and uncertainty over retirement. The decision to draft Jordan Love comes at a time when Rodgers has repeatedly made it clear that he like to play into his 40s, and that he’d like to do so with the Packers.
“The only way to do that is to keep playing at a high level and give them no choice but to keep bringing you back because you’re the best option and give them the best chance to win,” Rodgers said earlier this month. “That’s my goal. I’ve got four years left on my deal. I’d like to play four at a really, really high level and if I feel like keep on keeping on from that point, to do it.”
On one hand, the arrival of Love via round one could boost Rodgers to continue to play at a high level, providing the same kind of kick in the ass that Jimmy Garoppolo‘s presence as a 2014 second-round pick did for Tom Brady. On the other hand, Rodgers could realize that the decision to move up in round one to draft Love will do nothing to help Rodgers pursue his elusive second championship. And that could poison the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers, either slowly or quickly as he stews or steams over what the Packers could have had with the first-round pick and fourth-round pick they invested in securing Love.
Thus, it will make plenty of sense to pay close attention to anything Rodgers does or doesn’t say about the situation. He’s brilliant, he’s measured, and he knows how to send messages with his words. What messages will he send, internally or externally?
It could go very well for the Packers, helping Rodgers achieve even greater excellence for a sustained period of time in the hopes that Love ends up being a wasted pick. It also could go very poorly, with Rodgers deciding to break up with the Packers before the Packers have a chance to break up with him.