Aaron Rodgers knows the clock is ticking on his time in Green Bay. The countdown started the moment the Packers traded up to draft quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Asked on the "10 Questions with Kyle Brandt" podcast on The Ringer, whether he sees the Packers moving on from him in a few years, Rodgers conceded that's more likely to happen than making Love sit for a long stretch.
"I think that's probably what happens," Rodgers said of playing elsewhere. "Based on just the circumstances around everything. Just look at the facts. They traded up. They drafted him. I would say they like him, they want to play him."
Rodgers noted that unlike when he entered the NFL in 2005, first-round picks rarely sit a year, let alone three anymore.
"It's a different environment," he said. "In 2005, my first year we were 4-12, second year, we were 8-8. There wasn't a clamoring to play me because it was normal for young guys to sit. In the third year, '07, we go 13-3. We're one play, we're overtime in the NFC Championship playing at home against the Giants from going to the Super Bowl. Different scenario. Now, I think quarterbacks are playing earlier. It gives some latitude for young coaches and GMs to play their guys. And I get it. I really do."
Rodgers didn't even mention one of the biggest reasons to play a first-round pick early in his career: the financial advantage playing a rookie quarterback provides. Upon signing their four-year rookie deals, any starting-caliber quarterback immediately becomes a bargain for his team. Resources that would otherwise go to a $30-plus-million quarterback can be used elsewhere to bolster that young signal-caller until it's time for his new deal.
Every year Love sits is a waste of that rookie-contract advantage in Green Bay.
With high-dead money implications if cut, Rodgers is likely to be a Packer the next two seasons. Then, who knows?
"I don't harbor any ill will about it," Rodgers said of the Love selection. "Was I bummed out? Of course, who wouldn't be? I wanted to play my entire career in Green Bay. I love the city. I grew up there, really, I got there when I was 21, I'm 36 now. You know, a lot changes during that time. But look, I get it. I see it completely clearly, and I'm not bitter about it. It just kind of is what it is."
Rodgers, who turns 37 in December, knows that if he wants to continue his career into his 40s, it's probably in another state. Many all-time greats have donned different colors. Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Joe Namath, Brett Favre -- the man Rodgers took over from -- and most recently Tom Brady this year, to name a few.
The one jersey Rodgers finds hard to consider wearing if he leaves Green Bay: the Chicago Bears.
"Oh man, that's a tough thought right there, man," Rodgers said, chortling at the thought.