Aaron Rodgers was traded to the New York Jets after 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, 15 of which he spent as the starting quarterback. In that time, he won a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl MVP, four regular-season MVPs, and set numerous franchise and NFL records.
However, the time came for both sides to go their separate ways. Jordan Love is the new starting quarterback in Green Bay, and Rodgers took several former teammates with him to play in New York.
It is a situation that, I believe, both sides were relieved to see resolved. The Packers were committed to Love, and Rodgers was obviously not completely all-in with Green Bay last season. However, Jeff Darlington of ESPN completely disregarded the Packers’ faith in Love and Rodgers’ own desire to move on when he gave one of the most ridiculous statements of the offseason on “NFL Live.”
ESPN Analyst Claims Rodgers Would Still Be on Packers If They Had a Playoff Roster
While on “NFL Live,” Darlington initially compared Love taking over for Rodgers to Mac Jones taking over for Tom Brady with the New England Patriots. He said:
“It is so hard to replace a legend. It is so much harder than simply plug and play and expecting the culture to stay the same. Expecting the winning to stay the same. I don’t look at this roster and think that they are better without Aaron Rodgers. And I also trust Aaron Rodgers’ evaluation of the roster because if he believes this is a Super Bowl-caliber roster, or to be fair, even just a playoff-caliber roster, I think he’d still be in Green Bay.”
Did Darlington forget that the Packers did not make the playoffs with Rodgers on the roster? Did he forget that, with a chance to get the Packers to the playoffs last season in Week 18, Rodgers threw the ball to the other team?
Look, we all understand the narrative that the Packers are possibly taking a step back in 2023 with a new quarterback (who has been studying the offense for three years) and a young group of skill players on offense.
But let’s not pretend that last season, which was a disaster compared to the standards set in Green Bay, didn’t happen, and let’s not pretend that Rodgers played no part in the Packers’ struggles.
Rodgers is not stupid. The NFC North is arguably the weakest division in the NFL this season. If Rodgers wants a sure-fire chance to get back to the postseason, the Packers have a much better chance of doing so than the Jets, who share a division with the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.
Finally, let’s not forget that it was the Packers who made the decision to move on, not Rodgers. Well, at least not explicitly. When he did not return calls or show up for meetings with Brian Gutekunst, the Packers made the decision to move on.
Perhaps Rodgers had already moved on in his mind. However, the writing was on the wall. Love is entering year four. It is time. Rodgers was going to be traded either way.