What started on the first night of the NFL Draft with reports that Aaron Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay seems like it will end with Rodgers leaving the Packers eventually. But it won't be for the 2021 season, as that will see Rodgers report for training camp and play out the upcoming season, with an understanding that he will seek a new home at the end of the season.
According to ESPN.com, the Packers have spent the last few days offering concessions to Rodgers in order to convince him to back off his demands and return to the team. As of Monday afternoon, the two sides are still working on the details, but all signs seem to point to them giving it one more try. Or, as Rodgers and Davante Adams referenced on Instagram over the weekend, one -- though reports also surfaced Monday that Adams is willing to continue contract extension negotiations.
According to ESPN's reporting, the last year of Rodgers' current deal, 2023, will be voided, and the Packers will agree not to franchise tag him in the future. The deal would also likely give the Packers more cap room for the 2021 season without costing Rodgers income, while the Packers would "agree to review Rodgers' situation at the end of this season."
Rodgers skipped offseason programs and mandatory minicamps after his trade demand, but the Packers have maintained that they were planning on having Rodgers back in the fold for this season. It seems less likely that will remain true in 2022, as the 37-year-old has reportedly been seeking to gain more control over his future.
What does this mean for Fantasy? Well, the gang's back together, for 2021 at least! Adams is locked in as the No. 1 WR for Fantasy now that Rodgers is back in the fold, and Aaron Jones belongs in the top 10 among all RB -- and you can make a good case he deserves to be even higher than that. He's a perfectly viable first-round pick after scoring 30 touchdowns over the last two seasons and averaging 1,094 rushing yards and 48 catches in that span.
Additionally, A.J. Dillon remains a very valuable mid-round pick as a potential fringe starter with huge upside if anything happens to Jones. And … well, that's about it. Robert Tonyan is in the touchdown-or-bust group of tight ends, and Allen Lazard has some appeal as a late-round dart throw -- he had 254 yards and two touchdowns in the first three games of last season before an abdominal injury landed him on IR. He wasn't great down the stretch of the regular season, but did have seven catches for 156 yards on 14 targets in two playoff games and could be a high-upside, boom-or-bust option in his own right.
And as for Rodgers? Well, some regression from last year's 48-touchdown season seems like a reasonable expectation, but he's still one of the best quarterbacks in Fantasy. He just probably isn't quite in the top tier, and maybe not in the second tier, either -- I have him behind Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, and Dak Prescott. Of course, that still makes him seventh at the position, and the kind of set-it-and-forget-it QB you'll be happy to take around 100th overall.
Beyond 2021, it still seems safe to assume this is going to be Jordan Love's team at some point. The fact that the Packers worked so hard to make sure Rodgers would return might indicate a lack of faith in last year's first-round pick, though you try being the football executive who lost Rodgers from a contending team.
The long-term future of the Packers does remain a bit cloudy, though with an exit ramp for Rodgers coming into focus, we can start to glimpse what it might look like. But the near-term future seems set, and avoiding the uncertainty of Rodgers' potentially holding out and of not knowing what to expect from Love if he was forced into action helps settle things just in time for the start of draft prep season.