National Football League

What the Green Bay Packers' schedule might say about Aaron Rodgers' future

May 13

Did the NFL schedule release tip the hand of one of the biggest offseason quarterback sagas in league history?

Aaron Rodgers' future with the Green Bay Packers is still very much a question, but the NFL sure seemed to schedule Packers games as though the reigning MVP will be in green and gold.

Despite Rodgers' continued silence on his reported refusal to return to the team, that's the read from several pundits.

When making his case as to why he believed Rodgers will be playing for the Packers in Week 1, Colin Cowherd laid out why the schedule points toward Rodgers staying put on "The Herd."

"The Packers schedule came out ⁠— five primetime games and six afternoon games equals 11 total national TV games, more than Dallas," Cowherd said. "Leagues always know what's up. Remember when James Harden and the Rockets weren't scheduled for Christmas? The league knew: He's getting traded.

"The league knows something here. They've got a sense that Aaron's not going anywhere."

Peter Schrager of "Good Morning Football" echoed those thoughts, saying he thought the NFL schedule-makers might be calling the quarterback's bluff.

"Look at the Packers' schedule," Schrager said. "Right out of the gates, those four games. You're like, ‘Well, those aren’t crazy opponents.' Yeah, but when are they? How about the late-game window on FOX Week 1 at the Saints? Everyone in America watching. Then that Lions game? Monday Night Football. That Niners game? Sunday Night Football. That Steelers game? CBS. Romo and Nantz."

There are other factors that point toward a mended relationship between Green Bay and Rodgers, too.

Rodgers' former longtime teammate with the Packers, John Kuhn, said he thinks the two parties could resolve things.

"Aaron and I are friends," Kuhn told NFL Network on Wednesday, via ProFootballTalk. "We spent a decade of our lives together in the same meeting rooms, on the same practice field. So we do talk. And quite frankly, this is something that I believe is fixable."

James Jones, another former teammate of Rodgers, used the word "fixable," too, on NFL Network earlier in May.

For Brandon Marshall of "First Things First," the words of Rodgers' former teammates must have come with the all-clear from the quarterback.

"He's going through different channels," Marshall said, "getting his message out. So he will be a Green Bay Packer, and they will compete. They will an 11, 12-win team like they've always done."

If that's the case, it'd seem the 37-year-old QB is laying the groundwork for reconciliation.

And if there's a pathway for mending the relationship, it'd behoove the Packers to do whatever they can to make sure that path is smooth, Emmanuel Acho of "Speak For Yourself" indicated.

For Acho, it comes down to one thing: a chance at another championship.

"All the quarterbacks that fall into the individual talent of Aaron Rodgers ⁠– the Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings, the Patrick Mahomes, and I will even usher in Russell Wilson based on individual ability ⁠– they all had the opportunity at [at least] two championships, Acho said. "Packers, y'all owe Aaron Rodgers one thing and one thing very, very, simply: a championship. Get there however you can."

With back-to-back 13-3 seasons, followed by NFC Championship exits, the Packers are right there.

But that last step is a big one, and there are plenty of other NFC teams eager to head to the Super Bowl.

The oddsmakers at FOX Bet have the Packers priced at +800 to win the NFC, fourth-favorite behind the San Francisco 49ers (+650), Los Angeles Rams (+600) and defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+333).

Of course, Rodgers' uncertain future might be skewing those odds. Perhaps if he and the Packers find common ground, those odds will shift.

Or, maybe the Packers are looking at an uphill battle, even with Rodgers in the fold.

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