Source: Rodgers returns to play for the Packers

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The beautiful mystery ride will continue. Aaron Rodgers is not done with the Green Bay Packers yet, and now there really is a chance for the four-time NFL MVP to end his career in the same place he started.

Rodgers has decided he will return to the Packers in the 2022 season, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

The teams are working on a new contract that will lower his salary cap for the 2022 season while giving Rodgers, 38, contractual clarity well into his 40s.

Pat McAfee and the NFL Network were the first to report news of Rodgers’ return to Green Bay.

Rodgers promised to avoid a lengthy decision-making process, and now general manager Brian Gutekunst – once part of Rodgers’ dissatisfaction with the organization – can put together his plan to pose another Super Bowl challenger.

“I feel like I’m on the spot relationally with the Packers – a really good place, especially with Brian and the way our friendship and trust has grown,” Rodgers said Jan. 25 in “The Pat McAfee Show.” “Brian and I have had good conversations over the year, and when it’s time to make a decision, we’ll have a conversation, and it will be. It’s not going to be a long, drawn-out process.”

That means Jordan Love, who is entering his third NFL season, will have to wait at least another year before he gets a crack at the starting job. Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for three seasons before taking over.

It was Gutekunst’s decision to draft Law in 2020 that questioned Rodgers’ future with the team. Shortly after the Love election, Rodgers reiterated his desire to not only play in the 40s, but to do so with the Packers. He said, however, that he realized that “may not be a reality at this point” and added: “I’m just not sure how it all works together at this point.”

In the late 2020 season, Rodgers called his future a “beautiful mystery,” and shortly after losing the NFC Championship Game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he included himself in a group of players with uncertain futures.

What followed was an off-season long boycott – he missed training, organized team activities and minicamp – during which ESPN reported that Rodgers was so unhappy with the Packers that he told some in the organization that he would never play for them again.

When he returned to the team on the eve of training camp, Rodgers signed a restructured contract, eliminating the final year of his contract, for the 2023 season, making it easier for a divorce after the 2021 season.

Over the summer, Rodgers detailed his list of complaints, which essentially went out to this: “I just want to be involved in conversations that affect my ability to do my job.” Gut art brought wide receiver Randall Cobb back to Green Bay at Rodgers’ request, and it was the beginning of improved relations between the quarterback and front office. Over the course of the season, Rodgers actually offered unsolicited praise for the moves Gutekunst made, including signing veterans like cornerback Rasul Douglas and pass-rusher Whitney Mercilus.

After the season-ending loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Division playoffs, the Packers maintained their desire for Rodgers to remain with the team until retirement. Coach Matt LaFleur said the team would “be crazy not to have him back here.”

A day later, LaFleur said the feeling extended to Gut Art, team president Mark Murphy and director of football operations Russ Ball.

“We’re all on the same page there,” LaFleur said. “There is no debate.”

When offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was hired as the Denver Broncos’ coach in January, it sparked speculation that Rodgers could end up there. The Broncos were one of the teams that expressed interest in dealing with Rodger’s last offseason.

Rodgers said he did not want to be part of a rebuilding process. Given the Packers’ salary limit problems – getting into the offseason nearly $ 45 million above their expected salary cap and also not having wide receiver Davante Adams under contract – that could have been the case. So Rodgers must have gotten assurances from Gutekunst that he would be able to put together another candidate.

The Packers have won 13 games each of the past three seasons, but with their overall 39 wins set the NFL record for most wins in a three-season stretch without reaching at least one Super Bowl.

Last season, Rodgers broke Favre’s franchise record of 442 career touchdown passes, ending the season with 449. Depending on how much longer he plays, Rodgers has a chance to beat several of Favre’s other records, including career passing yards.

Rodgers’ 2021 season was also marked by COVID-19 controversy when he was accused of misleading the public about his vaccination status by saying in August that he had been “immunized.” Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 on November 3, after which it became known that he had not received one of the three league-approved vaccinations, but had instead appealed – and lost – his bid to be considered vaccinated against coronavirus due to an alternative treatment he underwent.

Still, Rodgers had one of his most effective seasons with 37 touchdowns and just four interceptions. He missed a game, a defeat in the Kansas City Chiefs, due to his mandatory quarantine as an unvaccinated player, but that did not stop the Packers from winning the top seed for the NFC playoffs.

When Rodgers signed his record-breaking $ 134 million contract extension in August 2018, he said, “I do not think this guarantees anything other than maybe the first three years of the deal.”

Four years later, he is back for more.

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