The writing might have already been on the wall in Green Bay, but Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy went ahead and verbalized it.
While speaking during a telecast of the WIAA girls' basketball state tournament, Murphy confirmed the team recently granted Aaron Rodgers permission to speak to the Jets about a potential trade, and he also was asked if there's a scenario where the quarterback is still starting for Green Bay in 2023.
"Yeah. I mean, unless if things don't work out the way we would want, yeah," Murphy said. "He's obviously a great player. Four-time MVP. But I think it's trying to find what he wants and what we want, and hopefully, we can find a win-win situation."
Murphy's statement comes three days after Jets brass met with Rodgers in California. Although the 39-year-old quarterback has not publicly expressed whether he wants to return to Lambeau for a 19th season, retire or play elsewhere, the CEO's response suggests the Packers are leaning toward door No. 3.
"I can't get into all the details," Murphy told Action 2 Sports’ Adriana Torres at the tournament. "But it's a situation where I think we wanted to help Aaron achieve what he wanted, as well as the Packers, and hopefully create a situation where it's kind of a win for both sides."
However the situation unfolds, Murphy also communicated that it will ideally come to a resolution ahead of free agency's start date on Wednesday.
If the Packers do repeat history by trading Rodgers to New York as they did with Brett Favre 15 years ago, they'll bid farewell to a four-time All-Pro and Super Bowl champion who ranks first in franchise history in passing touchdowns (475) and second in passing yards (59,055).
They'd then replace him with Jordan Love, whose selection in the 2020 NFL Draft kicked off an annual offseason sideshow revolving around whether Rodgers would return to green and gold.
Love sat for three years, just as Rodgers did before him, and the team will already have a decision to make on Love's fifth-year option before he ever takes the field as a Week 1 starter.
For what it's worth, Murphy expressed full confidence in Love to take the reins following two back-to-back Hall of Famers behind center.
"We have a lot of confidence in him," Murphy said. "We drafted him and developed him. A lot of credit goes to our coaches and to Jordan. But we do think he's ready."
All of this remains speculation five days ahead of the official start to free agency. And as that speculation swirls, Murphy appears to be looking backward on Rodgers' impact as a Packer rather than forward.
"Aaron had a great career here and regardless of what happens, you know, Aaron will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame," Murphy said. "He'll be in our Hall of Fame. We'll bring him back and retire his number, but this is just one of the things that you go through as a team, and again, we want to try to achieve something that's good for both Aaron and us."