It’s a given now. The Green Bay Packers have to draft a quarterback next year, and they need to start looking in the first round.
Aaron Rodgers’ recent back tightness seals it. If there’s a quarterback general manager Brian Gutekunst really likes when he picks in the first or second round, he should take him.
Considering Rodgers’ age (35) and injury history, the GM doesn’t have much choice.
He has to upgrade behind Rodgers, and the free-agent veteran route isn’t much of an option. There are too few to pick from and the cost too high for a team already devoting a huge chunk of its salary cap to Rodgers.
That leaves drafting one in an early round, which is hardly ideal for a team that needs talent to help a star quarterback win now.
But it’s a bullet Gutekunst will have to bite next April. If he drafts one high and in three years Rodgers is still going strong, well, that’s the price of good insurance. The GM might have options anyway, just like Bill Belichick did in New England with Jimmy Garoppolo a couple years ago.
But the fact is, Rodgers’ physical issues are piling up: a broken collarbone, an MCL sprain and fractured tibial plateau table, a concussion and now a sore back, all in less than two years.