Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have managed to resolve their differences. For now.
Our long national nightmare is over. For now.
But let's not pretend that the last five months didn't happen. Don't try to sell that "nothing to see here" narrative with me. No one wants to go to war with a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback (and this isn't even Green Bay's first rodeo when it comes to that caliber of player), and this was very messy and very dragged out for a reason.
Sure, the sides found enough financial and contractual common ground to facilitate a temporary arrangement that really serves as an exit portal for the player. They got that much done. But Rodgers isn't going to forget the long list of gripes and grievances that led to this saga in the first place, and the real end game of this revamped contract is it allows the QB an opportunity to help determine where he ends his career.
Does he have written guarantees that he will be traded as soon as January? No. But neither side wants to go through this again. The Packers are very clear on what Rodgers desires, he will relish being one of the most talked about players in the NFL every week in this 'Last Dance' scenario, and then he will go from his MJ moment to his LeBron moment as we all eagerly await 'The Decision' in early 2022 with Rodgers steering himself to a new team (and another new contract!) via trade (maybe Tom Brady could loan A-Rod his buddy Jim Gray?). No trade will be made without more years on the deal, Rodgers can always play the retirement card if need be and the Packers aren't going to be able to just force him to play for the lowly Texans or something like that.
That's not how it's going to work.
But it does beg the question of which teams make the most sense for 2022. Which franchises could potentially possess what Rodgers desires, and also be in a position to consummate such a trade? Where are the most likely landing spots? Never too soon to consider! Rule out the NFC North for obvious reasons, and rule out teams that might need a QB badly but aren't close to competing (Houston, etc.) and rule out teams that have recently drafted or acquired whom they believe to be the QB of the present and the future, and this is how I would size up the field, with roughly one third of the NFL at least worth mentioning:
They have to be the leader in the clubhouse, right? Rodgers is cool with Colorado. They have a legit defense and some interesting pieces on offense. It worked for Peyton Manning near the end. John Elway can facilitate. It hasn't been just all smoke between these sides this offseason. That seems like a great fit from a lifestyle and football standpoint and the QB of the future is not on this roster now.
New Orleans Saints
Man oh man. Rodgers and Sean Payton would be something, wouldn't it? They have look-see QBs for now, but having Rodgers come in a year after Drew Brees retires with a veteran team and taking them to the Promised Land? A-Rod at Jazz Fest? That seems like a decent fit, too. Great OL. Can run the heck out of the ball. Play a lot of games in great weather or a dome. Same division as Tom Brady. Hmm.