Charles Woodson thinks things could get “nasty” between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Woodson, a Hall of Fame cornerback who played in Green Bay from 2006-12, predicted on CBS Radio that a divorce between Rodgers and the Packers is imminent. And Woodson doesn’t think it will be pretty.
“I think it could be one of those situations where it gets nasty at some point, somehow in the back and forth between the Packers and Aaron’s agents and then before you know it somehow the thing gets blown up,” said Woodson, who helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl title in 2010. “I mean, I certainly hope that doesn’t happen, but you know where there’s smoke there’s fire.”
Rodgers won his third MVP award in 2020 after arguably the finest season of his 16-year career. But his future with the team is in doubt for two reasons.
First, Green Bay traded up and selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft. In today’s NFL, first round quarterbacks don’t sit for long and the Packers will want to see what they have in Love sooner rather than later.
“The Packers of course were going to say, we’re going to take the best player available, and this wasn’t about looking to the future, but this is looking to the future,” Woodson said. “I know that (Rodgers) had to be thinking, ‘Bring me somebody in here that’s gonna help me immediately, you know, not somebody that has to sit behind me for the next two or three years or whatever it is.’ So I think he ends up ending his career in another place.”
Second, the Packers restructured the contracts of six different players this offseason to get below the NFL’s salary cap of $182.5 million. Rodgers was not one of those players, which makes it easier for Green Bay to move on from him after the 2021 campaign.
Rodgers signed a four-year, $134 million contract extension in Aug., 2018 that runs through the 2023 season. In 2021, Rodgers will count $37,572,000 against the cap (20.18%), which is the largest number in the league.
By not extending Rodgers now — and lowering his cap number in 2021 — the Packers have kept open the real possibility of moving on from their Hall of Fame quarterback after this season.
Green Bay’s cap hit would be $17,204,000 if they traded Rodgers before the 2022 season and $2,852,000 before 2023. Considering the salary cap is expected to take a substantial jump in 2022, the Packers could certainly withstand those cap hits.
Woodson believes a parting of the ways is inevitable.
“You think about over the years the great players that have played most of their careers in one place and then gone on to play somewhere else. Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, myself — I left twice,” Woodson said. “At some point, the team is gonna start looking to the future.”