Rodgers, QBs become top attractions at NFL combine
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Green Bay Packers intend to wait for Aaron Rodgers to determine what's next in his career.
Other teams can't afford to be so patient.
As the first day of the NFL's annual scouting combine kicked off Tuesday with coaches and team decision-makers taking center stage, quarterback-needy teams started jockeying for position to figure out their situations.
And while the Packers still have Rodgers, the four-time MVP and one-time Super Bowl champ, general manager Brian Gutekunst and the rest of the football world seem to be in wait-and-see mode since Rodgers completed his "darkness retreat."
“We’ve exchanged some texts and things like that, but we haven’t had a chance to speak yet,” Gutekunst said.
“Obviously, our feelings haven’t changed about Aaron. But we need to have some of those conversations about our team, where it’s going, where he’s at before we go forward.”
Gutekunst's preference, of course, is to know before free agency opens March 15 and with the Packers trying to clear up cap space, he'd probably like to have some extra time to rework a contract that calls for Rodgers to make $59.5 million. Rodgers has acknowledged reworking the deal would be necessary — if he plays.
If Rodgers isn't back, the Packers also appear resolute with their other option — Jordan Love, their first-round pick in 2020.
“We’re excited about him. I think I’ve expressed to a lot of people that he needs to play,” Gutenkunst said. “That’s the next step in his progression. He needs to play. Jordan’s done a great job working hard, so he’s doing everything we’re asking.”
It's a familiar scenario for Packers fans who remember the 2008 offseason when three-time MVP Brett Favre retired, handing the job to Rodgers, Green Bay's first-round pick in 2005. When Favre later decided to return, he asked for his release and was eventually traded to the New York Jets.
The Jets are in the quarterback market yet again and are one of several teams apparently pursuing the recently released Derek Carr.
Carolina also plans to meet this week with Carr, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because the team doesn’t announce its meetings with free agents.
And one day after the Washington Commanders cut Carson Wentz, the Atlanta Falcons did the same with 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
AP Sports Writer Steve Reed contributed to this report.
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Michael Marot, The Associated Press