The final image of Aaron Rodgers in a Green Bay Packers uniform could end up being that of him walking through the tunnel with Randall Cobb following their Week 18 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter (starts at :25 mark), there is a "real possibility" the four-time NFL MVP will be traded at some point this offseason.
Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show earlier this week (h/t Zach Kruse of PackersWire.com), Rodgers said he wants the Packers to retain teammates he trusts if he's back in 2023:
"If I'm playing, I want that guy next to me. I want the Randall Cobbs of the world, if he wants to keep playing, in my locker room. Guys you can win with. Allen Lazard, Bobby Tonyan, Dave Bakhtiari. There's a lot of interesting names that we'll see their desire to re-sign these certain guys who are glue guys in the locker room that will be interesting conversations to be had."
Schefter noted that the Packers "are expected to move on from certain players," though he didn't mention any names other than to say Rodgers "probably will not like" that decision.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and his staff will likely have to make some difficult moves this offseason. They're projected to be $14.5 million over the salary cap in 2023, per Spotrac.
Trading Rodgers could cause the Packers some headaches because of his contract, which has $110 million remaining, per Schefter. The 39-year-old has a $58.3 million option bonus that must be exercised between March and Week 1 of the 2023 season.
The Packers would also be on the hook for a $40.3 million dead-cap hit if they trade Rodgers before June 1. He finished this season with 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
If the Packers were in the position where they had been the previous two years as the best team in the NFC during the regular season, perhaps the front office would feel more comfortable trying to run things back.
But this season was often a struggle for the Packers as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018. Their 8-9 record marked the third time in the past six seasons they have finished under .500.