When Aaron Rodgers' season ended after a Divisional Round loss to the 49ers, he didn't hop on a jet and fly to Los Angeles. Frustrated, and with his future hanging in the balance, the Packers quarterback stuck around in Green Bay.
Sources say Rodgers stayed in the building for a few extra days to plot out the team's future, huddling with coach Matt LaFleur and others and mapping out what's next. It left those in the organization with confidence moving forward that Rodgers will return for the 2022 season.
Cautious optimism was the phrase, per sources, though no one wants to interfere with Rodgers' process. And Packers decision makers all respect the steps he'll take to arrive at his eventual decision.
Rodgers has said publicly that all options are on the table moving forward, from returning to retiring to working with the team on a possible trade that's suitable for all parties. He also has said he doesn't want to be in a rebuilding situation.
The Packers have some salary-cap issues, and their top offensive weapon -- Davante Adams -- needs a new contract or a franchise tag. The Packers are expected to place a franchise tag on Adams and then work toward a potential new deal, per sources. The team intends to reload as much as possible to keep on this track of being capable of winning a Super Bowl.
More than anything, they want Rodgers back, and in the worst way, as they've explained. Rodgers recently said on The Pat McAfee Show that there are a variety of realities he'll consider.
"I think some of the factors are the direction of the team and the organization, and how I feel like I fit in in the future," Rodgers told the show. "Mentally, do I still have the passion, the competitiveness, the desire to keep playing? I think it's a feeling, and you just kind of know when the offseason has started. When you're a hyper-competitive individual, you also dream or think about what the fairy tale ending is. It doesn't mean Super Bowl necessarily, but that's a pretty damn good fairy tale."