The Broncos' hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as head coach is no guarantee that Aaron Rodgers will be making his way to Denver.
ESPN's Adam Schefter said the Broncos hired Hackett independent of their potential pursuit of Rodgers during an appearance Thursday on Get Up:
"The Broncos hired Nathaniel Hackett because they believe in him as a coach. They thought he would be the right guy to reset their culture, to change the program, to bring them back to their winning ways. And they've missed the playoffs six straight years since going and winning the Super Bowl; the first team in NFL history to miss the playoffs six straight years after winning the Super Bowl. They hired Nathaniel Hackett because of the coach and man that he is, not because they thought he would provide the key for trading for Aaron Rodgers. The fact that he knows Aaron Rodgers, that Aaron Rodgers loves Nathaniel Hackett, is that a bonus? Absolutely. Let's not be naive to that fact, but that's not why the Denver Broncos went out and hired [Hackett], because there's no assurances that Denver will be able to pull off a trade, even though the Broncos would like to as they wanted to last offseason and couldn't get it done. So, you hire Hackett because he's the coach. You make your run at Aaron Rodgers this offseason. The fact that you have Hackett is a plus in your corner, but it doesn't assure you that you're going to get Aaron Rodgers."
Hackett has been the Packers' offensive coordinator for the last three seasons, with Rodgers winning the MVP in 2020 and likely repeating in 2021 while playing in his offense.
Rodgers has been coy about his future in football. He may retire, force a trade from the Packers or return to Green Bay for 2022.
All options are on the table, but Hackett's hiring certainly gives Denver a potential leg up if Rodgers wants to continue playing in a new location.
The Broncos are arguably a quarterback away from being a Super Bowl contender. They have one of the best collections of young skill-position talent in football, a solid offensive line and a talented defense that should only coalesce more with another year together.
Denver has shuffled through a series of short-term options at quarterback since Peyton Manning's retirement after the 2015 season, with Teddy Bridgewater being the most recent stopgap. Bridgewater is set to be a free agent this offseason, and it's unlikely he returns after a middling 2021 campaign.
Rodgers was reportedly intrigued at the potential of playing in Denver last offseason, and there's little reason to expect he'd feel any differently now. The Broncos are also projected to have $44.8 million in cap space this offseason, which would give them ample room to trade for Rodgers—almost certainly on a new contract—and add pieces elsewhere to bolster the roster.
Davante Adams, Rodgers' longtime favorite target, is set to be a free agent but will likely be franchise tagged by the Packers rather than hit the open market. It's possible the Broncos work out a move that lands both Rodgers and Adams in Denver, but odds are the front office's first priority is at quarterback.