The Green Bay Packers were shockingly defeated by the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday's divisional-round contest. Green Bay's latest playoff failure will welcome tons of speculation-related chatter regarding the future of MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It didn't take long for rumors regarding Rodgers' 2022 plans to run rampant via social media. With several crucial decisions lying ahead for the cash-strapped Packers, including the future of star wide receiver Davante Adams, Rodgers was quick to admit he has very little interest in playing for a rebuilding team in his post-game presser.
It promises to lead to yet another unpredictable offseason for Rodgers and the Packers, who nearly cut ties with one another a year ago. Those differences were ultimately mended and Rodgers agreed to return. We are now heading toward a similar showdown between the two sides, and the impending outcome is even more incalculable than it was last offseason.
Should Rodgers indeed strategize and execute his exit from the Packers, the betting odds regarding his next destination reveal several intriguing potential candidates. They are as follows:
- Denver Broncos (+250)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+350)
- Miami Dolphins (+450)
- Philadelphia Eagles (+550)
- Cleveland Browns (+750)
- Las Vegas Raiders (+900)
- New York Jets (12/1)
- Carolina Panthers (14/1)
- Tennessee Titans (14/1)
- New Orleans Saints (14/1)
- New York Giants (16/1)
- Seattle Seahawks (16/1)
- Baltimore Ravens (20/1)
The list of potential teams includes several intriguing candidates with various quarterback situations. These three teams particularly stand out when envisioning a potential change of scenery for Rodgers.
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: DENVER BRONCOS
Rodgers and the Broncos were consistently linked throughout the 2020 offseason and we largely expect more of the same throughout 2021. The Broncos feature an exciting blend of offensive playmakers that include wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and Courtland Sutton, an ascending running back in Javonte Williams, and a legitimate TE1 in Noah Fant. Any quarterback in the league would be extremely lucky to call Denver home, and the potential of this supporting cast's productivity won't be lost on Rodgers should he indeed search for greener pastures.
Denver's roster is viewed as being a quarterback away from legitimately competing for a Super Bowl. General manager George Paton is expected to remain steadfast and aggressive in his pursuit of upgrading Denver's less-than-desirable quarterback situation. The Broncos simply can't waste the potential the current roster beckons with by not acquiring a quarterback this offseason, especially since their division features Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert as rival quarterbacks.
Adding fuel to this fire, Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is a finalist for Denver's head coaching job and is set to receive his second interview for the position, per multiple reports. The mutual interest between Rodgers and the Broncos should be very real as we head toward an entertaining offseason.
THE RUNNER UP: PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers were obliterated and dutifully torn apart by Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild-card round by a merciless final score of 42-21. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger now marches into retirement and unfortunately provided the Steelers with a grim glimpse of what life is like in the AFC without adequate quarterback play. The Steelers (and every other AFC team) received an even more up-close-and-personal look at what it will take to compete for a spot in the Super Bowl while witnessing Sunday's classic duel between Mahomes and Buffalo's Josh Allen.
Now imagine entering next season with hopes of reaching the Super Bowl with Mason Rudolph as your quarterback.
That's the scenario the Steelers are currently staring in the face, and it should be enough to convince them to aggressively pursue an upgrade at quarterback. General manager Kevin Colbert has rarely been aggressive in such scenarios and prefers to build his roster through the draft, but Colbert plans to retire following the conclusion of the 2022 draft. An incoming general manager may realize Pittsburgh's desperate need to find a legitimate starting quarterback, particularly if they don’t draft one in April.
A WORTHY DARK HORSE: LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Owner Mark Davis is one for the theatrics. It was Davis that convinced long-time ESPN analyst Jon Gruden to come out of retirement and return to coaching by handing him a rather unprecedented 10-year, $100 million contract. Davis is rarely denied when he sets his sights on acquiring a player or coach in dramatic fashion. Should Davis consider acquiring Rodgers, you can bet your bottom dollar he'll remain aggressive in his pursuit of the three-time (soon-to-be-four-time) MVP.
Davis and the Raiders are currently in the process of hiring a new general manager and head coach following the departures of Mike Mayock and Gruden. Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia maintains a small chance to keep the role, but those odds plummeted following Mayock's firing. The incoming regime will have an opportunity to share their thoughts and vision on the future of Vegas' quarterback situation. For that reason alone, Derek Carr's future as Vegas' signal-caller heads into the 2021 offseason very much hanging in the balance.
As we head toward an offseason that promises to provide plenty of movement within the quarterback market, it wouldn't be shocking to see the aggressive Raiders throw their name in the race to land Rodgers.