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Packers' Aaron Rodgers says decision timeline will be influenced by what happens with Davante Adams

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Packers' Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times in Sunday's 13-10 divisional playoff loss to the 49ers at Lambeau Field. 

GREEN BAY — While there will surely be myriad factors that go into Aaron Rodgers’ decision about his football future, the Green Bay Packers quarterback made it clear Tuesday the future of another player — wide receiver Davante Adams — will be among his considerations.

And that, in turn, gave a glimpse into the timeline Rodgers has for deciding if he’ll return to the Packers next season, seek a trade to another team or hang ‘em up and retire.

Speaking during his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show”, Rodgers offered up Adams’ uncertain future unprompted when discussing how he’ll go about deciding whether he would like to play an 18th season in Green Bay, move on to another team or walk away.

“I’d like to be respectful of the organization,” Rodgers told McAfee and ex-Packers teammate and friend A.J. Hawk. “One decision that will be upcoming will be obviously Davante and his future with the team. There still is this thing called a franchise tag, which I don’t think ‘17’ wants the franchise (to use).

“I think that should be enough time to make a decision by then. I don’t want to put myself on a specific date, but I do want to be sensitive to Davante and many other guys who have decisions to make on their own futures. To drag it out past free agency would be disrespectful to the organization and to those guys, and that 100% will not happen.”

The window for NFL teams to place the franchise tag on a player opens on Feb. 22 and closes on March 8. The new league year — and with it, free agency — begins on March 16.

After working on a long-term contract extension throughout the summer, Adams’ agent, Frank Bauer, and the Packers were unable to come to an agreement, reportedly because the Packers had a different definition of what being the league’s highest-paid wide receiver meant. Adams played out the 2021 season without the security of a long-term deal and set the franchise record for receptions (123) and receiving yards (1,553).

Obviously, if Rodgers has decided by then he’d like to retire or play elsewhere, that would impact Adams’ thought process about returning to Green Bay on a long-term deal and whether he would be willing to hold out or request a trade himself rather than playing on the guaranteed one-year salary that comes with the franchise tag — expected to be around $20 million for 2022.

The Packers are already a projected $44.8 million over the 2022 salary cap of $208.5 million, and that figure does not include the cost of using the franchise tag on Adams.

Asked on Jan. 5 about an NFL Network report the Packers plan to place the franchise tag on him, Adams replied, “I’m not sure how to answer that safely right now. We’ll just cross that bridge when we get to it. I’ll just say that. I like to be professional on here.”

A week earlier, Adams acknowledged that Rodgers’ decision would factor into decisions he’d make about his own.

“(Rodgers’ future) won’t be the end-all, be-all, but it’ll definitely be something that I’m monitoring and paying attention to see where his head is at after all of this,” Adams said at the time. “We’ve talked about it a lot this year — just making the main thing the main thing and just really enjoying the time that we do have with our teammates.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes into whether or not I’m back here, whether or not he’s back here. If it was just as simple as, ‘Do you like being here? Do you want to be back? We’ll pay you how you should be paid,’ then it would be easy. Everybody would be exactly where they want to be and having the time of their life.”

With one year remaining on his contract at an untenable $46.8 million salary-cap number, Rodgers acknowledged he won’t have the chance to be a free agent. He also said he wouldn’t retire and spend a year away from the game only to come back in 2023. If Rodgers did retire, the Packers would keep his NFL rights simply by placing him on the reserve/retired list.

“One thing I would not do, 100% not do, is retire and then come back a year later,” Rodgers said. “I don’t have any desire to do that. That makes no sense.”

On Monday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who has been adamant about wanting Rodgers to remain as his quarterback — going back to Rodgers’ offseason of discontent a year ago — said he, general manager Brian Gutekunst, director of football operations Russ Ball and team president/CEO Mark Murphy are in agreement in wanting Rodgers to return in 2022.

“Every conversation that I’ve been involved in with Gutey and Russ and Mark, we’re all on the same page there,” LaFleur said. “There’s no debate.”

In the immediate aftermath of the Packers’ season-ending 13-10 NFC divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on Saturday night, Rodgers said he would come to a decision relatively quickly. He reiterated that Tuesday.

“I feel like I’m in a really good place relationally with the Packers, especially with Brian and the way our friendship and trust has grown, where it would be a simple conversation and whatever comes out of the conversation is moving forward,” Rodgers said. “There’s not going to be a weird standoff, war of silence or anything. Brian and I have had good conversations throughout the year and when it comes time to make a decision, we’ll have a conversation and that’ll be that. It won’t be a long, drawn-out process.”

Rodgers also said that he does not have “a fear of retirement” but suggested that, after skipping the Packers’ offseason program last year, he’d like to limit his participation in the offseason program in 2022, be that with the Packers or his new team. Should he move on, it’s hard to imagine Rodgers, playing in a new offense for a new coach with a new organization, staying away like he did last year.

But first, Rodgers must figure out exactly what he wants to do.

“I think it’ll be a lot of intuition and a lot of feel,” Rodgers said. “You have to imagine yourself in those situations because I don’t want to be sitting there during the season going, ‘Man, I probably should’ve hung it up.’ Or, sitting there and not with the organization — (an) organization — and going, ‘God, I should be playing right now.’

“I think it’s just a trust that I’ll know exactly what to do. Once you make a decision, that’s the decision and you move forward. Until you get to that certainty, you don’t make a decision. There also is a timeframe for this because I understand that my decision does impact a number of other people’s decisions. I want to be very sensitive to that, so I’ll definitely make a decision sooner rather than later.”

10 sign futures deals

The Packers signed 10 players to futures deals, all of whom spent at least a portion of the 2021 season on their practice squad: quarterbacks Kurt Benkert and Danny Etling; offensive linemen Cole Van Lanen, a former University of Wisconsin athlete and Green Bay-area native; center Michal Menet; wide receiver Chris Blair, cornerback Kabion Ento; safety Innis Gaines; inside linebacker Ray Wilborn; outside linebacker La’Darius Hamilton; and kicker JJ Molson.

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Douglas, who played for a prorated portion of a one-year, $990,000 veteran minimum salary deal, earned $661,111 in salary with the Packers, and considering he had the team’s two biggest stars — quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams — describing him as a “star” himself, it’s hard to imagine the Packers not wanting him back.

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