There has been plenty of chatter coming out of Green Bay from Aaron Rodgers this offseason, and that's a good thing. The Packers quarterback, who is still waiting on a new deal from the new front office, is as thoughtful as it gets in the NFL.
Sure, sometimes he snaps at younger teammates who are not Jordy Nelson, but largely you hear a guy giving insightful input.
To wit, Rodgers sat down with Kevin Clark of The Ringer to break down what he would do if he was in charge of the NFL. Given commissioner powers, Rodgers would immediately figure out a way to keep the lawyers out of the room when it comes to making NFL offseason changes.
Or to at least make sure players had more input in the changes being made by owners.
"The owners shouldn't be able to pass rules without ratifying it through the players," Rodgers told Clark.
Rodgers was referring to practice time, training sessions, etc. But he was also. Rodgers pointed out the owners managed to distract from the actual purpose of the protest by some players taking a knee by making the issue about the anthem.
"If you're going to take the focus off of what the protest was really about—it was never about the anthem, it was never about the troops, it was about social equality and racial injustice—then make it all about the anthem," Rodgers explained. "Everybody in the stadium stands and does the exact same thing. You have people in the concession, people in the bathroom; you've got cameramen on their knee watching. You can't have it one way or another."
He also pointed out that, as an older player, he remembers when the players were not required to be on the field for the anthem. Things have changed drastically on that front in recent years.
And Rodgers isn't wrong here: if the owners reached out to the players and had more communication about changes to the rules and policies, it would likely be much more well received than them simply voting on a policy and handing it down.
The other thing Rodgers wants to see changed? The NFL getting rid of franchise tags.
"I think I would not allow the franchise tags," he said. "Because I think that gives the team a lot of power over your future, and they can tag you a couple of times. That, obviously, restricts player movement."
But Rodgers actually believes a lack of a tag would result in deals getting done sooner and things being easier for teams as a result.
"I think if you didn't have it, it would encourage teams to get deals done earlier and in the long run it actually might save them money," Rodgers said. "Because you're doing a guy's deal a year before he's ready to play, especially young guys. Maybe they get him for cheap and, if he has a huge season his last year, cheaper than they would have gotten him after that season, if you sign him early."
The NFLPA is probably never going to get guaranteed contracts, or at least not in the football-playing lifetime of anyone who is currently in the NFL. But getting rid of franchise tags should be a pretty big component for the union, because it does limit player movement and it does create situations like what's unfolding with Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack. You think the Rams would be messing around with Donald's deal if he could walk into free agency after this year? No chance. He would have gotten paid far earlier.
On the other hand, Julio Jones was trying to hold out with three years left on his deal, so who knows what will actually make NFL players happy from that perspective.
Rodgers also said he could see a situation where teams are allowed to have a soft cap in the NFL, which would, of course, result in more money being spent and generated, thanks to a luxury tax in place.
"I would allow teams to go over the cap knowing if they do, since there's not a hard cap, they are going to be faced with some luxury tax issues and they'd change their strategy," Rodgers explained. "It's not like we're hurting—just like the NBA, we're not hurting for revenue. We're doing excellent in the NFL and the NBA is doing fantastic as well."
Honestly, these are all pretty good things. And Rodgers has concerns about practice habits as well -- Clark points out that he follows the rules VERY closely (which is smart, because knowing the rules gives you a big edge). And Rodgers sounds worried about the targeting issues at both levels. Very understandable as well.
Maybe he's got a future as NFL commissioner. Too bad he'll have to wait about a decade based on how long he wants to play.