NFL

Packers say they want Rodgers back next season


GREEN BAY, Wis. — At this point, the Green Bay Packers insist they want Aaron Rodgers back next season.

That, however, could be open for discussion in the offseason.

Rodgers, 39, signed a three-year, $150 million contract last March that runs through the 2024 season. It contained a $58.3 million guaranteed bonus for next season that would only void if he retired.

“Well, certainly that’s an offseason-type kind of decision, but surely, yeah,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said Monday when asked if he wants Rodgers back next season. “I mean we want all our guys back. We made a big commitment to him this offseason, so that was obviously something that was really important to us. But like we’ve talked about in the past, this is something we’ll sit down with him after the season and it will be something we do together and move forward that way.”

Gutekunst was already scheduled to speak to reporters Monday as part of the Packers’ bye week, even before Rodgers rekindled the topic following the win Sunday win over the Chicago Bears when he said of his future: “There has got be mutual desire on both sides.”

Gutekunst said he and Rodgers have not discussed next season and that he would not speculate on why the quarterback made his comments Sunday. Rodgers has not said whether he intends to play in 2023.

“We don’t talk about those things during the season very often,” Gutekunst said. “We just talk more about our team when we speak. Certainly, that’ll be something we get to. … But again, we went through something in the offseason where it was a very big commitment on our part. It wasn’t certainly for one year. But no, we really haven’t had any conversations about that stuff during the season.”

Rodgers’ contract would it make it difficult to trade or release him because of the massive amounts of dead money that would impact the salary cap.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur didn’t hesitate to say, “Yeah, absolutely, of course,” when asked Monday if he wanted Rodgers back.

Rodgers has played through a broken thumb and a rib injury this season. He said Sunday that both could be close to fully healed after the bye.

The Packers have four games remaining, beginning with the “Monday Night Football” matchup against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 19. At 5-8, they haven’t been eliminated from playoff contention, but another loss could make that official.

At that point, the Packers will have to decide whether to shut down Rodgers and go with Jordan Love the rest of the way.

“I think obviously if we get to that point, we’ll kind of look at those things,” Gutekunst said. “But I think no matter — even if we’re eliminated from the playoffs, which it wouldn’t be ideal — I said we’re going to still go out to win the game, and I think that’s really important. There’s a bunch of guys in that locker room that deserve that, so we’re going to go out to win the game and we’re going to make the decisions that are in the best interests of us going and winning the game.”

The Packers have to decide by next May whether to exercise the fifth-year option for the 2024 season on Love’s rookie contract. That would be worth in the $20 million area. Love has started only one game in his first three seasons, a loss at Kansas City in 2022. But he had a promising show in relief of Rodgers two weeks ago at Philadelphia.

Gutekunst said the Packers don’t need to see Love in further action to decide whether to pick up the option.

“I think that it would be really good for him — the growth that you need to go through, seeing things for the first time, making those mistakes that you need to make,” Gutekunst said. “But I think from our end of it, we’ve seen what we need to see.”


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