Brett Favre has seen this movie before. As a matter of fact, he's also starred in the Green Bay Packers version of it, so he remembers just how wild things got before the credits rolled on his illustrious NFL career. Favre played the protagonist in the original, at least from his view, with Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy having been the supposed villains that eventually led to Favre forcing his way out of Wisconsin. Flash forward 14 years and it's now Rodgers facing an uncertain future with the Packers, having suffered a gut-wrenching loss in the NFC Championship Game to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field.
Following the game, an upset and "gutted" Rodgers was resoundingly noncommittal to moving forward with the Packers, instead labeling his future a "beautiful mystery" and launching a rocket filled with speculation into the football stratosphere. For his part, however, Favre is deciding to shrug it off as simply talk from an emotional player who'd just saw one of his more special NFL seasons end -- unceremoniously.
"I wouldn't pay much attention to it," Favre said in a recent Q&A with SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Pro Football Talk. "I think frustration, disappointment, hurt, pain -- all were in that soundbite."
Taking it one step further, Favre simply doesn't believe the organization would pull the trigger on trading Rodgers.
"Look, there's no way the Packers would do anything to jeopardize losing Aaron [Rodgers]," he said.
This is, of course, a bit different from Favre's stance on what happened in the offseason.
It was then that the Packers opted against adding another weapon for Rodgers and instead selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, allegedly infuriating their franchise quarterback in the process. That was the first crack in the armor of what had been a bulletproof relationship to that point, even through the lean and contentious years on the back end of McCarthy's tenure with the team. Suddenly, it looked like Rodgers would be open to doing two things -- proving he's still one of the best in the league and possibly eyeing an exit down the line.
The former has been accomplished in spades, because even despite a trip to Super Bowl LV, the 37-year-old will likely land his third NFL MVP honor, and the latter now seems more plausible than it's ever been. The Packers do have contractual control of Rodgers through the 2023 season though, but this is where the original movie reveals Favre having inadvertently laid out a possible blueprint for Rodgers to force his way out, if he wants to pull that trigger.
In 2007, Favre retired from the NFL to sever his contract with Green Bay.
"Unless Aaron just chooses to retire, which I would be shocked," he said. "The guy's playing better now than he's ever played, and without him, you certainly wouldn't have been even close to where you were [Sunday]. And I think the same will go for next year, and really the next few years, if he chooses to play. I wouldn't pay much attention to what he said.
"I've been there. I mean, it hurts. It's painful. The last thing you want to do is think about next year, because you just had a major disappointment, and that's what you're hearing in that soundbite."
Favre might be dismissive of Rodgers' angst at the moment, but he himself showed what it looks like when your bluff is called, considering Favre himself believed could still operate at a high level when McCarthy was ready to pass the keys to Rodgers, which is why he immediately returned one year after retiring to join the New York Jets. He then set out to truly kick the Packers in the gut by signing on with the Minnesota Vikings two years after forcing his way out of Green Bay, which is all to say while it's unlikely Rodgers would make such a similarly rash decision, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. It's a risky hot route to call though, and for a list of reasons when, in the end, his best chance at landing another ring might be to sit tight.
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The more likely outcome in all of this is the Packers sit down with Rodgers -- after he cools down -- and get to work smoothing his ruffled feathers, and the two will get back to the business of trying to get back to the Super Bowl.
Easing Rodgers' anxiety might reportedly involve a new contract, per Pro Football Talk, along with a few other demands from the former league MVP. A new deal would also virtually guarantee no potential foul play with Love in the next couple of seasons, like the type Favre felt he suffered in 2007, as an indirect motive for Rodgers (money being the obvious primary goal). And it's tough to fathom the Packers being closed to that discussion if it helps to calm frayed nerves.
This at least hints at a relationship that can be repaired, because if Rodgers is at least amicable to sticking around, the Packers would love nothing more than to avoid losing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and after the season he just had; and that's the one definitive Favre sees in all of this.
"I think for the Packers, more so with them, you would be foolish to make any move other than bringing him back and going as long as he wants to go."