According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Rodgers is seriously considering retirement and it's something that could happen "unless the situation [in Green Bay] is repaired to his liking." If he does retire, hosting "Jeopardy" could be a post-retirement option for Rodgers.
The only piece of good news here for the Packers is that based on Rapoport's phrasing, there may be a way for the Packers to salvage their relationship with their star QB. If the situation can be "repaired to his liking," that at least leaves the door open for the Packers to fix things.
Of course, we don't know what the Packers would have to do to repair the situation. It's possible that Rodgers wants a contract extension, it's possible that he wants to see Jordan Love traded or it could even be possible that he wants to see someone in the front office fired -- According to Pro Football Talk, Rodgers "doesn't like anyone in the front office" -- or it could be a combination of all of these things or none of these things.
It's also possible that fixing things to his liking could involve trading him to another team. At some point before the draft, Rodgers made a list of three teams he would be willing to be dealt to (Raiders, Broncos, 49ers). The 49ers actually called the Packers about a possible trade on Wednesday, but Green Bay made it clear they weren't going to deal the three-time NFL MVP.
The bad news for the Packers is that Rodgers seemingly wants out of Green Bay so badly that he'd be willing to pay nearly $25 million to make it happen. If Rodgers were to retire, that's how much money he'd have to return to the team. The 37-year-old would have to return $11.5 million in signing bonus money for both 2021 and 2022 for a total of $23 million. On top of that, the team could probably fight to get back the $6.8 million roster bonus he was given in March, so Rodgers could be out nearly $30 million if he retires.
Based on all the reports coming in, it seems like the most likely scenario is that Rodgers doesn't play another down in Green Bay, which means this would end with either a trade or retirement. Not only does Rodgers dislike the team's front office, but he's already told multiple teammates that he doesn't plan to return in 2021, according to ESPN.
Although a trade would probably be Rodgers' preference, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst shot down that idea multiple times on Thursday night.
"We're not going to trade Aaron Rodgers," Gutekunst said when asked if there was any scenario that could lead to a trade. "He's our quarterback, he's our leader, we've been working through this for a little while now. I think it may take some time, but he's the guy that kind of makes this thing go and he gives us the best chance to win and we're going to towards that end."
Gutekunst also noted that he had spoken to Rodgers at some point on Thursday after the reports came out that the quarterback wanted out of Green Bay.
"I won't go into specifics, but there was communication with Aaron today," Gutekunst said. "There's been communication with Aaron a lot over the past six to eight weeks."
If the two sides are communicating and Rodgers is still contemplating retirement, that would seem to indicate that the team isn't doing a good job of repairing things to "his liking."
If the Packers play hardball and refuse to trade him, Rodgers could also play hardball. As noted by Rapoport, the Packers quarterback is represented by David Dunn, who was also the agent for former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, which is notable, because Palmer was in a somewhat similar situation a decade ago.
After the 2010 season, Palmer made it clear that he would rather retire than play for the Bengals. The Bengals took his threats seriously and ended up taking Andy Dalton in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. As for Palmer, he came through on his threats and didn't show up for OTAs or training camp that year. Although the Bengals weren't planning on trading him -- the team's plan was to let him languish in retirement --they ended up making a deal with the Raiders after they gave Cincinnati a huge offer in October 2011.
With the way things are going between the Packers and Rodgers, it wouldn't be shocking if there was a similar conclusion here. Rodgers could simply not show up for OTAs and training camp while making it clear to the team that the only way he's going to play football in 2021 is if it's not in Green Bay. If that were to happen, the Packers could either trade him or let him retire.
The bottom line is that this is an ugly situation and it doesn't sound like things are going to get better any time soon.