July 23, 2021

Here's Why Aaron Rodgers Won't Sit Out 2021 NFL Season

With the start of the 2021 NFL season less than two months away, the Green Bay Packers still don’t have clarity on whether it will be with Aaron Rodgers under center. 

Rodgers, who has enjoyed his offseason getting engaged to actress Shailene Woodley and guest-hosting "Jeopardy!," has made it clear that he doesn't want to return to the Packers after they traded up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL Draft and not giving him a lucrative contract extension. 

The three-time NFL MVP still hasn’t reported to the team in any capacity, leaving much doubt concerning his NFL future in Green Bay. Through it all, the front office and management haven’t wavered in their commitment to the future Hall of Famer.

Beyond that, it may speak to the underlying notion that Rodgers will be back in the fold for the upcoming season. Here are some reasons why that will be the case:

Miss Out on Millions 

It’s been said repeatedly that Rodgers’ firm stance to remain away from the team doesn’t involve money as a factor. 

However, it’s hard to envision him choosing to turn down millions of dollars to guide his way out of Green Bay. Yes, Rodgers can make up much of that money on his next deal regardless of where he plays, but it’s no guarantee he will make up the lost millions. 

Rodgers is scheduled to pocket $21.5 million in 2021 as part of his four-year, $134 million contract that he signed prior to the 2018 campaign. 

It’s certainly not a driving factor for him to play in 2021, but it’s something that will be on the list of reasons why he’s taking the field this year. 

Taking Year Off Could Impact His Performance

As much as Rodgers wants to control his NFL future, sitting out seems like a risky proposition. 

Over the last several years, the 37-year-old has ramped up his commitment to his health through diet and training. However, stepping away from the game could have a dramatic impact on his performance. 

It’s the feel for the game and physicality that comes with it that is not replaceable regardless of how much he works out or trains. Leaving that behind for an extended period of time then returning is a tremendously difficult hurdle to overcome. 

It would also greatly impact his legacy. 

Despite being one of the greatest passers in NFL history, Rodgers has won only one Super Bowl — and he's not getting any younger. If he misses the season, he could lose out on potentially his last great chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. 

Packers Provide His Best Chance To Win A Super Bowl

Rodgers may have a fractured relationship with the Packers, but the franchise may offer him the best chance to contend for a Super Bowl.

Green Bay is coming off back-to-back NFC championship game appearances. The front office went through some roster changes this offseason, but the Packers are returning much of the same group of talent. 

Rodgers will have the opportunity to find tremendous success in the third year in Matt LaFleur’s offense. He took a significant leap forward in 2020 by putting forth arguably the best campaign of his career. 

The one team that could offer Rodgers a chance to compete is the Denver Broncos, who have one of the most talented rosters in the league. But they'd be in the same division as the Kansas City Chiefs. While that'd be extremely entertaining for NFL fans, it doesn't offer the easiest path to the Super Bowl. 

Teams such as the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers will be prominent factors in the NFC. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit as the biggest challenge in the NFC, especially after retaining all of its big-name free agents. 

As much as Rodgers may likely not want to admit it, the Packers present his best opportunity to win his second Super Bowl.

Photo: Getty Images