Aaron Rodgers is Going to the Steelers Next Season, Isn’t He?

We all saw this exchange on Sunday:

They’re practically flirting with each other. “Stop ittttttt!” “No YOU stop it, silly head!”

Sheeesh. Meanwhile Matt LaFleur’s like “Wow, cool. Thanks a lot, Aaron.

Yesterday Rodgers went on Pat McAfee for his weekly Tuesday appearance and of course AJ Hawk asked him about it. Starts at the 1:27 mark:

Aaron: “I am a big Mike Tomlin fan, I have been for a long time. I like the way that he speaks about his team, the way he goes about his business, I like his confidence. I’ve heard nothing but good things from guys that have played there. I like Mike Tomlin. He called that timeout, tried to catch them with 12 on the field, he was kinda smirking about it.”

He had nothing but praise for Mike Tomlin.

Now I’m sure Rodgers wouldn’t have been so giddy if his team had lost on Sunday, but it really makes you think.

We know Rodgers said in the offseason he’s done with the Packers. He eventually was talked off the ledge, came back, got his contract restructured, and now he’s got the Packers rolling again.

But we all expect this to be his last season in Green Bay. It’s the Last Dance.

He’s going to the Steelers next year, right? I know we all thought he was going to the Broncos, and that’s still a possibility, but after hearing what he said about Mike Tomlin, it sure sounds like he wants to play for the Steelers next season.

We all know Big Ben is toast. He might not even make it to the end of the season at this rate. The timing here is perfect. Send Big Ben off into retirement, replace him with Aaron Rodgers.

For Rodgers, Pittsburgh could be an attractive option. They’ve got a good defense, they have a great young running back, and while they don’t have any receiver as good as Davante, the trio of Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Juju represent a deeper wide receiver corps than Green Bay has.

Obviously it would suck to not play with Davante Adams. He’s one of the best receivers in the league. But in recent years it has basically been Davante and then a bunch of mediocre guys behind him on the wide receiver depth chart. Back in the day, the Packers used to have Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Then when Driver retired and Jennings went to Minnesota, it was Jordy and Randall Cobb, plus James Jones. After that it was Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante, which was awesome for Rodgers. But since Jordy retired a few years back, it’s really just been Davante. I know they brought Randall Cobb back this year, but he’s not in his prime anymore. It would be nice to have three capable receivers.

However, the one thing Pittsburgh lacks is an offensive line. Their’s is God-awful. It’s just horrible. It might be the worst in the league. And that’s a big deal for a quarterback. Rodgers in Green Bay has David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, two Pro Bowl linemen. Pittsburgh’s horrific offensive line might be a deal-breaker.

If I were Aaron, I would have no interest in playing behind Pittsburgh’s horrible offensive line. That would be a no-go for me.

Plus, the Steelers organization, while they are one of the best-run franchises in the league, they don’t seem like the most “player-friendly.” You look at what happened with Le’Veon Bell: they wouldn’t pay him, he sat out the year, it was ugly.

Now of course the Steelers were absolutely right not to pay him, as we can see now. But from a player’s perspective, that might be a turn-off. I just know that when Tom Brady left the dictatorship that is New England, he went to Tampa, where they basically let him do anything he wants, sign any player he wants, run things a little more laid back and let him loosen his collar.

Maybe Rodgers wants a more laid back, player-friendly culture for his next team, maybe he doesn’t. Who knows. But if he does, Pittsburgh is not that team. Pittsburgh is run a lot more like Green Bay than Tampa Bay.

Now obviously the main difference is you have the Rooney Family that owns the Steelers vs. the “publicly owned” Packers and that’s a big deal. The Rooneys are one of the most respected families in football. This really matters. Having a good owner is probably a huge factor for a guy like Rodgers who’s been around for a long time and understands how this league works.

But we know that Rodgers’ main gripe with the Packers is the upper management. It’s the general manager and the team President, who is basically the de facto owner for the team. It’s not that Green Bay is a poorly-run organization–obviously they’re not. It’s that Rodgers just doesn’t like the way they do things up there. He does not believe they treat players well, and it feels like they’re in a situation where Aaron Rodgers has his set of values and morals, and the Packers’ front office has a completely different set of values and morals.

Would Pittsburgh be a fit for him in that regard? Who knows. But it’s pretty safe to say Rodgers and Mike Tomlin would get along well.

Every Steelers fan under the sun would love to have Aaron Rodgers, obviously. It makes sense from a timing perspective given that it looks like there’s only a few grains of sand left in Big Ben’s NFL hourglass–if any.

But if I’m Rodgers, I would not to play behind that offensive line. Unless and until that gets fixed, I don’t see the Steelers as a realistic option for him. I’m sure the Steelers will try to move heaven and earth to get that line shored up if that’s what it takes to get him, but it’s not easy to rebuild an offensive line this quickly.

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