Aaron Rodgers said he's not sure what his future holds in Green Bay. That was all it took to raise concerns about the Packers' ability to contend in 2021 and beyond.
Green Bay earned the top seed in the NFC behind an All-Pro season from Rodgers, who at age 37 put his team in ideal position to win its first Super Bowl since the 2010 season and the second of his brilliant career.
But the Packers' season ended with a dispiriting 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday's NFC championship game, and it didn't take long for questions about the team's long-term commitment to Rodgers to resurface.
After the Packers' fourth NFC title game loss in seven seasons, Rodgers said “a lot of guys’ futures are uncertain, myself included.” Rodgers has three years remaining on the four-year, $118 million extension he signed in August 2018, but the two-time MVP has acknowledged on multiple occasions that his hopes of finishing his career in Green Bay were complicated by the Packers’ decision to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the 2020 draft.
Assuming Rodgers returns, the team around him could look quite different. The Packers’ list of potential free agents includes running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, All-Pro center Corey Linsley and cornerback Kevin King.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur is 26-6 in his two seasons, and despite questions about his late-game decisions against Tampa Bay, he remains one of the bright young minds in the NFL and isn't going anywhere.
LaFleur has had the same coordinators — Hackett, Mike Pettine (defense) and Shawn Mennenga (special teams) for his first two seasons. Now he must decide whether to bring them back.
The NFC championship game reflected the occasional inconsistency of Green Bay’s defense under Pettine. The Packers intercepted three of Tom Brady's passes and allowed only three points in the last 28 1/2 minutes of the game, but they also gave up that long touchdown pass just before halftime.
Green Bay’s most notable flaw during its seven-game streak was its occasional tendency to have a breakdown on special teams.