Peyton Manning has not only seen this movie before, he's starred in it. So as he witnesses the implosion between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, it hits a particular chord with him. The script in Wisconsin isn't exactly a mirror image of what took place with Manning, however, with Rodgers reportedly refusing to take another snap for the Packers despite being under contract through the 2023 season. The organization has consistently doubled down on their unwillingness to trade Rodgers, despite speculation to the contrary, and the two sides are now locked in a staredown that has no end in sight.
Rodgers is set to earn a $14.7 million salary in 2021 along with millions more in roster and workout bonuses, but that's if he takes the field. Considering their have also been rumors of a possible retirement to force his way out, shades of Carson Palmer versus the Cincinnati Bengals, it's becoming more and more of a long shot he'll ever play in Green Bay again. Of course, it remains possible this can all be sorted out -- much like the Russell Wilson controversy in Seattle -- and Manning is on record as being one who'd like to see that be the outcome.
"When I think of Aaron, I think of him as a Green Bay Packer..." Manning told TMZ Sports. "Hopefully, they can get it worked out."
But, in the same breath, Manning left the door open for what might be a potential exit.
"I look forward to seeing him play this year -- somewhere."
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Manning, who was once the pride of the Indianapolis Colts, built the majority of his Hall of Fame career with Jim Irsay's bunch before a neck injury and unproductive contract talks led to him signing with the Denver Broncos in 2012 -- followed by the Colts selecting Andrew Luck with the first-overall pick just over a month later. He'd go on to lead the Broncos to victory in Super Bowl 50 and, ironically, it's been John Elway and the Broncos most often linked to a pursuit of Rodgers.
As for any advice the current Hall of Famer has for the future Hall of Famer?
"Aaron doesn't need advice from me," Manning said. "He'll make a good decision. ... We'll see how it plays out. He's done such a great job in Green Bay.
"I think every player -- their goal is to stay in one team the entire time if they can. Obviously, Tom [Brady] made a move."
That he did, and like Manning before him, Brady's move paid off with a championship with his new team. That's not always the reality though, but if Rodgers believes he's truly done with the Packers and there's a fit for him elsewhere that also gives him a shot at landing an elusive second Super Bowl ring, he might make the jump. Then again, unlike Manning or Brady before him, he won't have the pick of the litter in 2021 and (as noted) he's still under contract; and that means the Packers would have to first be willing to open the window.
For now, at least publicly, they aren't.