Aaron Rodgers won’t say whether he’s playing for the Packers, or for anyone, in 2021. But another all-time great quarterback can’t envision a scenario where the reigning NFL MVP isn’t on the field this fall. Appearing on MLB Network ahead of Monday night’s Home Run Derby, impending Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning said he “can’t fathom” Rodgers not playing this season, even though he doesn’t necessarily foresee one of his own former teams, the Broncos, acquiring the Packers star.
“Obviously it’s the question of the summer here in Denver,” Manning said from Coors Field, via NFL Network. “Obviously, I hope he plays somewhere this year. The fact that Aaron Rodgers might not play this year, I can’t fathom it. He’s too good of a player, too fun to watch for the fans. I personally hope it’s in Green Bay. That’s what I see him as (and) I hope they can kinda make amends and work (it) out. That is team is so close, if he were to leave there it’d be a major change, obviously, for them.”
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“My gut,” Manning added, “is he’s not coming to Denver. My gut is Denver’s gonna have Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater be their quarterback. At this point, you gotta kinda know what your plan is. You can’t be having a new quarterback three weeks before the season.”
Recent history has proven that teams are, in fact, willing to welcome a new quarterback right before, or even during, the season under unique circumstances. Think of the Raiders, who in 2011 acquired Carson Palmer — then coming off a third Pro Bowl — in October; or the Vikings, who in 2016 traded a first- and fourth-round pick for Sam Bradford less than a week before their opening game. All it takes is the right offer for the right player, and the Broncos — long established as a reported suitor for Rodgers — assuredly wouldn’t balk at the possibility of adding No. 12 even if it means waiting until August or September.
The bigger holdup, of course, remains Green Bay: Will the Packers ever listen to offers for their star QB, and if not, will Rodgers actually sit out (which Manning and plenty of others “can’t fathom”)? For now, only Rodgers knows what lies ahead, and he seems to be having a merry old time keeping everyone on pins and needles.