Aaron Rodgers Rumors: Packers Have 'Cautious Optimism' QB Will Return to Green Bay

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 30, 2022

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to throw against San Francisco 49ers during an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan 22. 2022, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

It's looking increasingly like Aaron Rodgers will return to the Green Bay Packers in 2022.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Rodgers remained in Green Bay after the Packers' divisional-round loss to the San Francisco 49ers to discuss the team's future. The front office and coaching staff reportedly left those meetings with "cautious optimism" that Rodgers will return. 

The reigning NFL MVP has been noncommittal about his future in football, with the possibilities of retirement and forcing a trade out of Green Bay lingering. Tensions that nearly led to Rodgers' departure from the Packers last offseason have seemingly dissipated, particularly with general manager Brian Gutekunst.

"I feel like I'm at the place relationally with the Packers—in a really good place, especially with Brian and the way our friendship and trust has grown—where it would be a simple conversation and whatever comes out of the conversation is moving forward," Rodgers said. on The Pat McAfee Show. "There's not going to be a weird standoff, war of silence or anything. Brian and I have had good conversations throughout the year, and when it comes time to make a decision, we'll have a conversation and that'll be that. It won't be a long, drawn-out process."

Rodgers said he plans to make a decision about his future before the March 8 franchise-tag deadline. Davante Adams is set to be a free agent this offseason, and it's almost certain the Packers plan to use their tag to keep him from hitting the open market. However, Rodgers announcing his retirement or asking for a trade could alter those plans.

Green Bay would have no shortage of potential suitors if Rodgers chose to force his way out. The Denver Broncos hired Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as their head coach and are arguably a quarterback away from Super Bowl contention. The Pittsburgh Steelers are seeking to replace a retiring Ben Roethlisberger, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be doing the same with Tom Brady if a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington proves true.

Should Rodgers choose to return, the Packers will have to start getting creative with their accounting. Green Bay is projected at $46.4 million over the cap before factoring in any potential tag of Adams.