Aaron Rodgers says he wouldn’t have any ‘animosity’ if traded but has ‘dreamed of retiring as a Packer’

Amidst reports about the Green Bay Packers front office considering a trade of 39-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the four-time NFL MVP had an empathetic response when asked about it on “The Pat McAfee Show.” That tone is in stark contrast to his public feud with the team’s management prior to the 2020 season, after the team traded up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

“It’s taboo to talk about any of those ideas, but to be open to the possibility that if I want to continue playing, that it could be somewhere else, I understand that,” Rodgers said Tuesday. “I understand they might want to move on and get younger at a number of different positions. That’s part of it.”

“I have nothing but love for the fans and the wonderful people I’ve met over the years at different events. It’s a beautiful, beautiful city. So I think it’s been a lot of fun dreaming about retiring as a Packer because it is something very special about it. But if the competition gap still needs to be filled and it’s time to move on, then I hope everyone will look at it with a lot of appreciation and not resentment.”

“Or, even on the flip side, “Let’s get rid of this old guy. It’s time to move on.” I hope there’s some appreciation on both sides if that happens.”

Rodgers signed a three-year, $150 million extension with the Packers last March and is due close to $60 million in 2023. He also went out of his way in his first postseason comments to make Green Bay his preferred location. Love, who briefly filled in for Rodgers due to injury this season, is entering his fourth NFL season after the Packers moved up to make him their first-round draft pick in 2020. The team will also soon have to decide whether they are going to pick up or not his fully guaranteed fifth-year option. The front office may be looking to bolster resources and the salary cap after an underwhelming 8-9 finish in 2022 that resulted in the first year without postseason football under head coach Matt LaFleur.

“I’ve been there 18 years, I have lifelong friends in that organization,” Rodgers said. “I have lifelong memories. I made some of my closest friends in my life because I got drafted by the Green Bay Packers and they paid me multiple contracts. Had amazing success, I met some really special, special people. So why would I have animosity against it? And on the flip side, hopefully there won’t be any animosity if that was the decision at some point.”

However, Rodgers hasn’t made anything close to a wish list of other teams should the front office decide to trade him because he said he’s never had to consider life outside of being a Green Bay Packer before.

“I’ve never been a free agent, which is pretty wild,” he said. “I never got to the end of my contract, so the thought of being in another uniform never occurred to me… every subsequent contract was with at least one year left on my current deal. There was never a time where I thought ‘ oh, I can be in a different uniform.’ I just never thought like that, even when Jordan [Love] was drafted, I thought there might be a possibility that I might not finish in Green Bay, but then I won two MVPs and obviously seemed much less likely. You never know.”

If it is the team’s preference to go with Love and start a rebuild rather than a reload with Rodgers given that his performance this past season wasnot close to what it was during his MVP seasons in 2020 and 2021, Rodgers said he doesn’t want to burn any bridges in Green Bay or the state of Wisconsin.

“If they feel it was in the best interest of the team to move on, then so be it,” Rodgers said. “Again, it wouldn’t offend me and it wouldn’t make me feel like a victim. I wouldn’t have any animosity toward the team. I love the organization, I love the city, I love the region. I’m a minority owner of the Bucks . I’m going to be a part of the region long after I’m done playing. I have a lot of love for what’s happened in Green Bay. And I’d like to finish there, I would. I could have finished there. Who know?

Ultimately, all talk of Rodgers being traded is hypothetical until he announces his decision on whether or not he wants to play a 19th NFL season. The quarterback noted that he’s taking a pragmatic approach to the decision and taking some time to think through all angles since Green Bay hasn’t put him on a difficult schedule.

“Any time you make a decision, you have to try to take the emotion out of it,” Rodgers said. “There are emotions with the end of the season, with the end of certain runs with certain teams, with the end of specific teammates who can move on or the end of the contract. The way the season ends on the track is also emotional, so it’s always important to take your time and get away from it. If there had been a schedule where I was told I had to decide in two weeks, I would have come to a decision. It would have been a lot harder for sure … I’ve played a little less time [than Tom Brady]I think five or six years [five seasons fewer], still think it should warrant some time to make this decision and to weigh all the options… I need time to decompress and let the offseason sink in and then make that decision. All the other ideas about trading and stuff are all guesswork before I decide what to do going forward for myself.

Should the Packers and Rodgers look to part ways after 18 seasons together, a number of AFC teams will likely play for the four-time NFL MVP. Jets, Raiders, Titans and Patriots stand out as logical suitors: New York is positioned for a playoff run, but has a vowed need for veteran QB help; Las Vegas is set to trade Derek Carr and last year acquired Rodgers’ top target Davante Adams; Tennessee could move on from Ryan Tannehill; New England is restructuring its offensive staff.

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