Look For Rodgers' Backup Not Replacement

 
Now is not the time to find Aaron Rodgers’ successor. However, it might be time to find him another backup. 
 
Last week, Rodgers had the perfect response to a question asked on “Wilde and Tausch,” presenting the hypothetical of the Green Bay Packers selecting a quarterback in 2020 NFL Draft.
 
"No matter who you bring in, they're not going to be able to beat me out anytime soon," QB1 elegantly stated.
 
While Rodgers not only delivered what should have been an obvious comprehensive remark, he gave his peanut gallery some food for thought as well. Rodgers may not have delivered an MVP season in 2019, but he did provide steady quarterback play with the occasional heroics Packers fans have grown all too accustomed to. 
 
Many would like to see him return to his run the table form from 2016, or his level of greatness from 2011-2014, however, those stretches were nearly unprecedented. Asking him to do that at 36 is asking a bit much, although I wouldn’t put it past him with some more pieces on offense. 
 
Perhaps, Rodgers is not the quarterback he once was. His numbers suggest a slight decline, but he is still damn good and more than capable of leading a team to another Super Bowl. That is only partly why it doesn’t make any sense for Green Bay to take a quarterback early on in April’s draft. On day three? Maybe. But certainly not during the first round. 
 
Rodgers is under contract for at least the next four seasons. So, a rookie would not likely be the starter until his fifth year in the league. Your best chance would be taking a guy in the first who has the fifth-year option, which would mean passing up on a possible immediate impact from another prospect. 
 
The Packers went 13-3 last year and were one game away from the Super Bowl. Their window is very much open. That is why general manager Brian Gutekunst should be thinking about the 2020 season and no further. If it’s not adding on to an already improved defense or weaponizing Matt LaFleur’s offense, put it on the back burner. This team is ready to win now. 
 
Rodgers still has at least 3-4 good years. Meanwhile, Aaron Jones is coming off a breakout year, Davante Adams is in his prime, and the offensive line is raring to go (just resign Bryan Bulaga). The defense is stocked with young talent, having just a few loose ends in need of attention. 
 
Green Bay's goal needs to be entering the 2020 season with a more complete roster. Last season was a stepping stone for more to come, not a sign to prepare for the next chapter. 
 
If Gutekunst takes a quarterback at all next month, it should be to have a more secure plan b in case of Rodgers missing significant time. Gutekunst whiffed on the DeShone Kizer trade, instead opting for Tim Boyle. Thankfully, Boyle saw little to no action last season, but there’s no reason the team can’t upgrade at back-up as Boyle is clearly not the future of this franchise. But drafting a quarterback in the first? Let’s hope Gutekunst isn’t thinking too far ahead. 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (56)

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dobber's picture

March 09, 2020 at 07:26 am

I tend to agree with your sentiment: BG shouldn't force the issue and shouldn't reach, but if the Packers find themselves in a unique position to acquire the guy they think is the next face of the franchise, they need to do it.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 09, 2020 at 08:34 am

Rodgers contract is structured so that he’ll be the guy for two more years. After that, he gets a $25 million salary and unless we have gotten back to the Super Bowl, and Rodgers has stayed healthy and played well hell have to be replaced. It is a competitive disadvantage to have a high dollar QB.

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wildbill's picture

March 10, 2020 at 01:29 am

Two years from now a $25 million QB salary will be fairly common for any decent QB. The top salaries are already in the 30s and Mahomes May hit 40. $25 million will hardly handcuff our team.

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Leatherhead's picture

March 10, 2020 at 09:55 am

A decent, healthy QB would certainly be worth that, but neither of us can predict two years from now.

A high dollar QB doesn’t handcuff the Packers , but it is a competitive disadvantage compared to having a QB on a rookie contract. Texans, Ravens, Chiefs and others start with a $20 million advantage. If we protect Rodgers and play good defense we’re going to be good again, no doubt.

Drafting Rodgers when we had Favre was a great, great move by the organization. If the opportunity presents itself, we should be ready to go for it again.

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taarons420's picture

March 09, 2020 at 07:50 am

Mmmm... I sort of think that when your declining QB is 36, you should go ahead and pick a QB whenever you find yourself in position to grab one you like. If that's in the first round - so be it.

Don't let a charmed 2019 season (mirage) fool you into thinking this team is anywhere near a championship.

Drafting to "plug holes" creates more holes.
Pick the best players.

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Timeout's picture

March 10, 2020 at 09:47 am

Taking a qb with the 30th pick and having him sit on the bench for 3 years like Rodgers did in 2005 would be a waste IMO. Quarterbacks drafted in the 1st round no longer sit on the bench for 3+ years.

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Guam's picture

March 09, 2020 at 07:56 am

I wouldn't mind seeing an upgrade to Boyle (picked in maybe the 4th or 5th round), but unless Tua or Herbert do an Aaron Rodgers like plummet in the first round, I don't see Gute selecting a QB early. The Packers have too many other needs at starting positions to devote a high draft choice to a reserve that will see little playing time barring injury.

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Lphill's picture

March 09, 2020 at 08:35 am

Packers need a veteran backup not an unproven rookie. Find someone who has played in some games and sign someone for the practice squad.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 08:51 am

hammer hittting nail.

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Samson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:56 am

I'll second that.
"hammer hitting nail"

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dobber's picture

March 09, 2020 at 09:18 am

We all know that it's the uncommon draft pick--and not the norm--who becomes an impact player on a championship caliber team in his rookie year. What's more, it's sometimes difficult figuring out who that player will be. Most picks in 2020 are really being drafted for who they'll be in 2021-2023.

If we're legitimately talking about ARod's window and his contract (which he likely will not finish), the players picked in this upcoming draft are less likely to contribute to it than they are the next QB's window. It's far more likely the Packers--even with their limited cap space--will have more impact addressing their issues in 2020 through free agency than through the draft. This is why I wouldn't balk if the right QB and the right opportunity fell to the Packers in this draft.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 09:35 am

If TT thought this way with his first draft we would not have had Rodgers. If there is a QB at 30 you believe can be at least an above average starter in the NFL - take him.

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fordguy's picture

March 09, 2020 at 01:31 pm

Rodgers hasn't been contemplating about retiring every year and has also said he plans to play into his forties.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 04:20 pm

True. Rodgers has not stated he plans to retire. If Gute and others believe there is a QB at 30 that has a decent chance to be a franchise type QB they should consider taking him. Understand that we have significant needs at positions like OT, WR, ILB, DL and I would welcome a great pick at any of those positions. Thing to keep in mind that while Rodgers plans not to retire his play can continue to deteriorate and he has had a number of injuries.

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ShawnO's picture

March 09, 2020 at 02:58 pm

The Difference between then and now is worlds apart. In 2005 the year AR was drafted Favre had his worst year as a starter and made comments that he was thinking about retiring. The Packers had to start looking for a replacement at that point. AR has only made comments about continuing to play for many years and continues to play well enough to be a top 10 QB. There is no immediate need for replacement which means DON'T draft a QB in the first 3 rounds.

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TheVOR's picture

March 09, 2020 at 10:11 am

You keep drafting QB's until you have his replacement. It's obvious the guy is a backup until "he's not", and becomes your starter. When they drafted Rodgers, they drafted Favres eventual replacement, not his immediate replacement. As the draft has proven, that replacement can be found in any draft round. Ron Wolf drafted QB's all the time, in in the 90's, once Favre became who he was, those QB's were in fact drafted to develop, backup, and eventually trade off. That was mostly because Favre was "Young".

Rodgers in not a young dude, and to think there hasn't been a drop off since the injures would be incorrect. Still a great QB, still our starting QB, but this franchise definitely needs to start drafting to find a replacement.

If that guy falls in your lap at 30, you do it, just like we did with Rodgers, otherwise you draft one you want to develop. All said, we are and should be looking for Rodgers replacement, to not be doing so is a mistake IMO..

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4thand10's picture

March 10, 2020 at 01:31 pm

Im not going to say that there hasnt been a drop off....BUT, and this is a big but...he has not been throwing to a plethora of talent the last couple yrs. The Jordy ,Jennings and Jones combo was unique . Throwing to 2nds and a 3rd round is way different from throwing to a 2nd and a bunch of late round and UDFAs. There hasnt been any D Drivers in a decade.Im not saying there hasnt been a decline...but they have not done him any favors in the last couple of drafts. To put this in perspective...Metcalf got 900 yrds his first year, Ill bet dollars to donuts he gets 1200 yrds next year. That Sternberger pick better be elite because we could have easily traded up and got ourselves a metcalf or a deebo...Still doesnt fix other holes that there were. I knew we needed serious help in the DL department and it didnt rear its ugly head until the SF game. The Pack just simply did not have quite enough pics to fill all of the holes last year.

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lowcsp's picture

March 09, 2020 at 10:19 am

I would say you could explore a trade with Miami for Rosen if they would take josh jackson an a low draft pick you could fix both problems

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Lare's picture

March 09, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Agreed. They could even include Oren Burks or Montravius Adams.

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dobber's picture

March 09, 2020 at 01:14 pm

And season tickets.

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Packer_Fan's picture

March 09, 2020 at 10:23 am

I say look for a sixth or seventh round sleeper with a good arm. Develop the guy and see what happens. Matt Flynn was a seventh round guy that turned into a good backup. Just didn't become a good starter

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 05:47 pm

Flynn was a captain and he Lead his team to the National Championship. This year's group with similar characteristics will be gone by the 8th pick.

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jeepingmakooi's picture

March 09, 2020 at 10:43 am

I'd have to think that this year if it's gonna be something they draft it won't be a day 1 or 2 guy. And for whoever up there thought that Rodgers isn't gonna finish his contract has just not listened to the man. He has fire.. drive and is a competitor through and through.. that doesn't just go away.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:09 am

True but if you have drafted someone who can replace Rodgers then you can trade Rogers getting draft pick(s) and saving cap $. Favre was traded. Montana was traded.

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Guam's picture

March 09, 2020 at 04:00 pm

You aren't trading Rodgers anytime soon - the cap implications would be devastating. All of his bonus would be accelerated into the year of the trade (you can trade the rest of his contract, but you can't trade away a bonus that has already been paid) and the Packers would have to cut significant players to stay under the cap. Didn't have that problem with Favre and Montana was pre-cap - different era.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 04:21 pm

Met one could trade him in 2-3 years. Know cap hit is too high to do that now.

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stockholder's picture

March 09, 2020 at 10:43 am

Drafting a QB would be a mistake. The Run Defense still needs to be fixed. The stats show us that. (No way do the Packers want to start another PR disaster @ QB) Murray is needed in the middle of the defense. Forget Queen. The other is Jordyn Brooks. (Even if they reach for him.) .With these two, think of the $$ saved. They then would have enough for Bahk, Jones and King. To fix the Wrs, a slot is needed. And one can be taken later. Duvernay, Claypool, and even Jones work. Sure it would be great to have a big name at 30. But looking in the crystal Ball. The solution to future problems; is LB, and not a Back up QB or a Big Name WR. Forgetting a steal @ 30 will be hard. But whats best for the packers is New blood at ILB. Guys that can Tackle. Guys faster and better then Martinez, Goodson, Bolton, and Burks. Team First!

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 05:51 pm

Who is your RT ?

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stockholder's picture

March 09, 2020 at 05:58 pm

Barry was hired just for that reason. I believe they try and sign Vlad.

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Spock's picture

March 09, 2020 at 10:45 am

Rodgers is older now than Favre was when Rodgers was drafted. If the right guy is there it would be foolish to not take him. That said, I'm hoping we can address other needs and find a quality backup a bit later in the draft. Ron Wolf's philosophy was to always draft one QB per draft. Gute needs to start doing that now.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 11, 2020 at 07:41 pm

Rodgers has in essence 4 less years of wear and tear on his body than Brett.

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Tarynfor12's picture

March 09, 2020 at 10:58 am

"The Packers went 13-3 last year and were one game away from the Super Bowl. Their window is very much open."

If you and others who believe last season was the 'opening' of the window, don't try to stick your head through it to look to next season because it's more closed than open and the breaking glass will shatter your overly optimistic view,

This team needs help in many areas with different levels of angst attached to them. That angst is subject to each one's own thinking but here they are to be arranged how you feel about them.

OL, DL, ILB, TE, WR, OLB, RB, DB, QB

When you look at these needs and the depth at each, or lack of, you may find that positions you may believe OK are not so and some you feel need help need more than you can imagine because you're looking through a window you believe to be open but is closed in reality.

The Packers last season were very lucky with their schedule and even during the tough stretch they were granted reprieve with a couple of teams playing without their star(s) player(s) though struggling with obvious bad teams and getting the win. This is not 'window opening' football to brazenly embrace the next with eyes closed confidence of only doing better.

The point is while many sit and put their banner behind players that have failed, due to whatever reason you interject for it, the Packers depth and their expected level of 'jump' in play does not come from enough players in the fold, not to forget the total lack of contribution of the highest draft pick in years when most have accepted his failings as the 'plan' for him and reason for being drafted #12. We have and have had way too many 'wait til next year' guys who are retained with unlimited number of 'wait years' allowed, a strong reason our depth is sub par.

Enough from me and please, enough with the 'window open' because we're back to drafting at the bottom, due to a bs season record, and failed to draft correctly when we had a chance nearer the top and FA won't be the help many seem to believe in either.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:21 am

It is a shame the Packers overachieved last year (sarcasm). Taryn, do appreciate that your posts try to keep it real and 10-6, 11-5 next year is very possible. I'm a glass half full person - most on this board are half full or totally full persons. Need people like you to maintain the balance.

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Tarynfor12's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:41 am

I'm a glass half full person but I don't see it being half full with the same stuff.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 12:49 pm

:)

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Samson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:54 am

WMA
There's nothing wrong with a 10-6 or 11-5 next year along with 4 playoff games... GB went 15-1 a few years back & accomplished little by going one & done in the playoffs. --- I doubt anyone is looking for GB to repeat season 2019. -- Why?... They watched the SB from their couches like their fans.... The regular season record becomes insignificant after you hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Totally agree nothing wrong with 10-6 or 11-5. Also agree regular season is insignificant when hoist the trophy. Understand if viable options available what we need are OL, ILB, WR etc. If what Gute and others think an above average to franchise level QB is there they should take him - however, unless you are the Giants or the Pack 10 win teams rarely win the Super Bowl so finding the BPA for needed positions while Rodgers is still good makes sense.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 10, 2020 at 01:13 am

Nothing wrong with 12-4 either.

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Samson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:36 am

Some of what you say may very well be true....however... your analysis could easily be applied to all playoff teams in season 2019. --- All teams have verifiable & obvious weaknesses/strengths... This is how the NFL is constructed... All 32 teams with a chance each & every season .... Parity is a money maker & why the NFL is a billion dollar industry.... The chances of a resurgent decade like the '60's no longer exists.

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Tarynfor12's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:53 am

Sure, but it's been a huge part of the Packers ailment for a long time and it shouldn't have been when you have a Rodgers and now the window on Rodgers is closing.

Parity in the NFL is more a belief than a reality because there are teams that do the wrong and stupid things yearly accidentally on purpose. EX: The constant regurgitation of HC's and players that have failed elsewhere or everywhere they've been but somehow are saviors when signed to another team and over paid.

Each year we see 3-5 different teams in the playoffs but aren't those teams more often from the dumpster Divisions who literally take turns in the revolving door of ineptness.

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Samson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 12:05 pm

I agree. (the window on Rodgers is closing)
That's why I was thrilled with the departure of both TT & MM.
I have more confidence in Gute/MLF... Mainly because they are still early in their careers as GM & HC so final conclusions cannot be entirely produced yet .... but... even more so... both are aggressive & risk takers...

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stockholder's picture

March 09, 2020 at 12:12 pm

The stats show your Need concerns. You are correct on that. The NFL prides itself on different teams who take turns. The Rams had everything going for them 2 years ago. Keeping your players healthy, and from leaving, has become the problem. The Packers must break the trend.

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Timeout's picture

March 10, 2020 at 09:42 am

They were also very lucky last season when it came to injuries. It seemed with the exception of last season, they were always players missing games because of hamstring injuries.

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Samson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:43 am

Gute is a smart man...He'll be looking at season 2020... The Pack have more than enough time to find AR's replacement.. AR's replacement may not even be via the draft. -- Trades (BF) & free agency may actually provide GB another starter a fews years down the road --- but not now. (Although a cheap, somewhat proven vet would be nice to BU AR....if one exists)

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Mojo's picture

March 09, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Unless the second coming of Mahomes falls into their laps, GB is going to start ARod for next two to three years at a minimum. His salary is just to big to do otherwise. He's the face of the franchise. They like him and his cap hit is way to large to sit him.

The only other thing they could do is trade him to a team that feels they just need a proven QB to put them over the top. And I don't see them doing that unless ARod asks for it. Like I said he's the face of the franchise and they like him.

I can't see spending a high draft choice on a QB and burning his cheap contract on the bench when Rodgers isn't going anywhere for years. If you want to take a mid to late-round flyer go ahead. Too many needs elsewhere to burn high draft capital on a QB. Now in a couple years, things change dramatically. The decision as to who was going to be the GB QB until at least 2022 was made a few years ago when Rodgers signed his last contract.

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Guam's picture

March 09, 2020 at 04:16 pm

Same as my reply to WMA above - you can't trade Rodgers for at least 2-3 years. His signing bonus was huge and teams normally amortize that bonus over the life of the contract. If you trade Rodgers, you can trade the rest of his contract, but you can't trade a signing bonus you have already paid. All of the remaining unamortized bonus comes due the minute you trade him and the cap hit would be devastating.

I believe his agent and the Packers did that intentionally so Rodgers would remain a Packer for his career and not get traded. Rodgers is not going anywhere.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 04:27 pm

Replied to Guam above to his reply above - know cannot trade for 2-3 years - cap hit too high. However, if a QB is there now that Gute and others believe in they should consider it as Rodgers play can continue to decline and he has had a number of injuries. Still a BPA in a position we need would still make me happy.

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albert999's picture

March 09, 2020 at 01:24 pm

Draft to win now period
as a replacement isn’t going to be found at 30

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Mike Rossmeier's picture

March 09, 2020 at 02:46 pm

I always predicted that after Favre we'd wait another 25 yrs for a top QB, so I feel fortunate.
Plus I live in Chicago now and this has been a QB desert.

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WMA's picture

March 09, 2020 at 04:31 pm

That is what happens when the Bears picks Trubisky over Mahomes and Watson.

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Bure9620's picture

March 09, 2020 at 03:05 pm

I don't really see how this is a thing.......The Packers pick 30th, All that will possibly remain is maybe Jordan Love, Eason or From, none of whom are likely franchise QBs, Let alone guys whom would be ready for at least 2 years and not worthy of a 1st round pick. It would take a King's ransom for the Packers to even get into the top 15. Rodgers IS QB1 for a minimum of 2 years, Likely draft one after 2 more years, unless they fall apart this year and have top 10 pick.

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albert999's picture

March 09, 2020 at 03:15 pm

Always remember though bure9620
Brady went 199th

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madisson's picture

March 09, 2020 at 03:55 pm

I appreciate here all replies and discussion on Rodger backup!

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mnbadger's picture

March 09, 2020 at 11:37 pm

Always remember albert999, brady has the best gm and head coach in nfl history. I'll take AR over brady every day. If brady gets drafted by the browns, he's tim couch and is married to his high school sweetheart.

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wildbill's picture

March 10, 2020 at 01:40 am

Let’s load up for Rodgers and give it our all. We have had two hall of fame QBs in a row which is very rare. The chance of getting a third is so low, it’s never happened in 100 years, we need to give it our best shot and be mentally prepared for a replay of the 70s & 80s. Not trying to be a Debbie downer but just saying as it’s a QB league.

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greengold's picture

March 10, 2020 at 12:01 pm

I'm telling you, he's already on the roster. Manny Wilkins.... The guy will be a perfect backup for Rodgers this season. No need to waste a pick with so many holes to fill. Can add another camp arm in UDFA.

Manny is a gifted QB, and dynamic as hell. Good leader in the huddle too. Knows his assignments. Able to make all the throws with pretty good accuracy. The dude can run too. Year 2 in LaFleur's system... I think he will progress nicely for the Packers.

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