Aaron Rodgers thinks he can win MVP again in 'right situation,' unsure that will be with Packers
GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers doesn’t know if he’ll play next season, doesn’t know when he’s going to know, but there is one piece of clarity the Green Bay Packers quarterback doesn’t question.
In his first appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show" since the season ended, Rodgers said he knows good football is attainable if he chooses to continue his career.
“Do I still think I can play? Of course. Of course,” Rodgers said. “Can I play at a high level? Yeah. The highest. I think I can win MVP again in the right situation. Right situation, is that Green Bay or is that somewhere else? I’m not sure, but I don’t think you should shut down any opportunity.”
It would be a tough task for a quarterback who would be entering his age-40 season after the worst statistical year of his career.
Rodgers’ 91.1 passer rating was the lowest in his career, 20.8 points lower than his fourth MVP season in 2021 and 30.4 points lower than his third MVP season in 2020. His 3,695 passing yards were the fewest in a season that wasn’t truncated with a broken collarbone. Same for his 25 touchdown passes. His 12 interceptions were the most in a season since 2008, Rodgers’ first year as a starter.
He had no games with 300 passing yards for the first time in his career. Just one game with three touchdowns.
Rodgers is unfazed by his lacking production last season. He’s heard the critics before, as recently as 2019. The quarterback referenced those doubts Tuesday afternoon.
“In 2019,” Rodgers said, “we were feeling each other out on offense, and our defense played pretty damn good. A lot of people said I was washed, couldn’t really play anymore, wasn’t the same, and then I won two MVPs in a row without really doing anything different. I’m sure there’s a lot of the same sentiment this year. I have a lot of comments about a lot of that, that I’d like to keep to myself, or I’ll share maybe off air just because out of respect for the whole process, and just some things don’t need to be said, I think are more understood implicitly.”
What the Packers need to understand implicitly is whether Rodgers’ freefall last season was a sign of an aging quarterback on the fumes of his Hall of Fame career, or something that’s correctable. Rodgers said he had a lengthy meeting with the Packers decision makers last week before traveling back home to the West Coast, where he spoke with McAfee on Tuesday.
Coach Matt LaFleur has said he wants Rodgers to return as his quarterback. General manager Brian Gutekunst, saying Rodgers gives the Packers their best chance to win next season, pointed to the three-year extension signed last offseason.
Rodgers said he wanted to finish his career with the Packers when he signed the contract. While not ruling it out as a possibility, Rodgers said he’s unsure where his career will turn next, if it even continues. Rodgers made clear there will be parameters on his desire to return for a 19th season in Green Bay, saying there will be conversations on whether the Packers retain certain veterans. Rodgers named tight end Marcedes Lewis, receiver Randall Cobb, receiver Allen Lazard, tight end Robert Tonyan and left tackle David Bakhtiari specifically.
“It’s got to be both sides actually wanting to work together moving forward,” Rodgers said. “I think there’s more conversations to be had. I think no player wants to be part of any type of rebuild. I said that years ago. Reloads are a lot of fun because you feel like you’re close, you’re only a couple guys away. This game is about relationships, it’s about the players you play with and count on, even if they maybe don’t show up huge in the stat book.”
If the Packers decide it’s time to rebuild, and Rodgers responds by wanting to play elsewhere, the quarterback is aware he holds leverage over what happens next. While his contract does not include a no-trade clause, Rodgers’ stated willingness to retire means he holds the cards.
Rodgers said he does not envision finishing his career in a situation that doesn’t allow him to flourish.
"I don't think we get into a situation, in that imaginary world," Rodgers said, "where there would be a trade to a team I don't want to go to."