Aaron Rodgers built a resume that could arguably surpass Brett Favre with the legacy he built with the Green Bay Packers. Favre was the quarterback who brought the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay, taking the Packers to heights the franchise hasn't seen since Lombardi himself roamed the sidelines.
There was no way Rodgers could live up to Favre right? Rodgers also led the Packers to a Super Bowl title, establishing a Hall of Fame career of his own and entering the conversation as one of the top-10 quarterbacks to ever play the game.
Just like Favre, Rodgers will spend the next chapter of his Hall of Fame career with the New York Jets -- hoping for a fresh start and another opportunity to bring an organization that's starving for a franchise quarterback a championship of its own. The Jets haven't had a quarterback like Rodgers since Favre was under center for the franchise in 2008, hoping the experiment on a Hall of Fame quarterback in his late 30s goes significantly better this time.
The paths Rodgers and Favre took from Green Bay to New York are eerily similar, even if they came under different circumstances.
Career stats with Packers
|Brett Favre||Aaron Rodgers|
Super Bowl titles
Favre earned three first-team All-Pro honors with the Packers and nine Pro Bowl selections, winning a Super Bowl with the franchise in his fifth season with the team. He's the only quarterback to win three consecutive NFL Most Valuable Player awards and the first quarterback to defeat all of the league's 32 franchises. He's the Packers' franchise leader in passing yards.
Rodgers earned four first-team All-Pro selections with the Packers and 10 Pro Bowl selections. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XLVI, winning a title in Green Bay in his sixth season with the team. Rodgers is the Packers' all-time leader in passing touchdowns and is the league's fastest to 300 passing touchdowns (144 games) and 400 touchdowns (193).
Favre has the most wins as a starting quarterback in Packers' history (160), while Rodgers is second (147).
Favre's path to New York
Favre flirted with retirement every season since 2002, so the Packers were trying to find a contingency plan for their franchise icon. They found one in 2005 with the selection of Rodgers after he fell from being the potential No. 1 overall pick all the way to No. 24. While Favre wasn't pleased with the situation, he made sure to delay the inevitable in Green Bay.
After a 2007 season when Favre was the runner-up for league MVP and took the Packers to the NFC Championship Game, he decided to retire after the Packers forced him to make a decision by March. Favre felt like he could still play, but there was some backlash by the organization, as it wanted to move forward with Rodgers.
Favre wanted to return to the NFL in July, asking the Packers for his release so he could pick his next team. Then-general manager Ted Thompson wouldn't grant Favre the release and stated Rodgers was the starting quarterback. Favre applied for reinstatement, which the league granted in August, revealing to the public he would not return to the Packers as a backup weeks prior.
Favre had a weird clause in his contract that gave him the leverage to void any potential trade options by not reporting to the camp of the team he might be traded to -- basically giving him the right to pick his next team. The Packers traded Favre to the Jets three days after his reinstatement, after Favre negotiated with the Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on his next destination.
The Packers received a conditional fourth-round pick, which turned into a third-round pick since Favre played 50% of the snaps that season. If Favre played 70% of the snaps, the pick would have elevated into the second round. The Packers could have received a first-round pick if the Jets made the Super Bowl and Favre played 80% of the snaps.
The Favre-era was over in Green Bay, but Favre said he would always remain a Packer.
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Rodgers's path to New York
The Packers traded up to draft Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft at No. 26 overall, much to the surprise of Rodgers and the NFL. Rodgers admitted he wasn't thrilled by the pick, but respected the Packers thinking about the future. He also acknowledged he may not finish his career in Green Bay.
Rodgers has been carving out an exit strategy from the Packers for several years, yet hasn't followed through on the plan. The first time Rodgers considered leaving Green Bay was after the Packers fell in the NFC Championship Game in 2021, admitting "there were a lot of unknowns" regarding his offseason plans.
Rodgers never put out a formal trade request, but the Packers did tell their long time quarterback in August of 2021 they would trade him after the season if he was still unhappy with the organization. This was after Rodgers skipped minicamp because of his issues with the culture in Green Bay. Both sides mended fences with internal improvements and conversations, and Rodgers agreed to remain with the Packers with a three-year extension in 2022.
His extension came with a price, though, as the Packers traded Davante Adams (Rodgers' favorite target) to the Las Vegas Raiders soon after the extension. Green Bay drafted young wideouts in Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to essentially replace Adams, as Rodgers maintained a good relationship with the Packers because of his renewed confidence in the front office.
An 8-9 season -- along with a down year from Rodgers -- forced Green Bay's hand. The Packers wanted Rodgers to make a decision on his future by March -- and gave Rodgers permission to speak with the New York Jets.
The Packers' decision
Just like Favre 15 years ago, the Packers have moved on to the first-round pick they selected at quarterback. Favre kept the starting job in Green Bay for three years before the Packers were ready to move on. The same happened regarding Rodgers, as the franchise wanted its future Hall of Fame quarterback to make a decision on his future after keeping the starting job for three more years.
Favre retired, then decided he wanted to return later that summer. The Packers and Favre didn't have a clean exit (they planned to retire Favre's number in September of 2008 and even tried to pay Favre to stay retired), but they ended up mending fences over time.
Rodgers and the Packers appear to be on the same page regarding his exit, feeling that it was the best option for both sides.
In the end, Favre and Rodgers both ended up on the Jets after 15-plus years starting for the Packers. Hopefully, Rodgers's career with the Jets ends better -- and lasts longer -- than Favre's.