Perhaps due to a necessity born of salary caps and player egos, NFL teams tend to willingly ignore the possibility that their star players could miss games due to injury. The exception to this, generally and predictably, occurs when a team is forced to face this reality by those exact circumstances. That’s what makes the quarterback decisions made by the Green Bay Packers prior to the last preseason game so interesting.
It is no secret or surprise that the notion that the Packers failed to make the playoffs for the first time in the past ten seasons last year due to the Week 6 injury to Aaron Rodgers is a popular one in Green Bay. That at least partially explains, then, why the Packers agreed yesterday to pay the aging Rodgers $135 million ($100 million guaranteed) over the next four years. It does not explain, however, why the Packers traded the assumed 2nd string quarterback Brett Hundley that same day.
Throughout training camp, there was a publicly transparent competition between Hundley and 2nd-year trade acquisition Deshone Kizer to fill the spot immediately behind Rodgers on the depth chart. Despite objections and preferences like my own, Hundley seemed to have earned the slight advantage. This competition seemed particularly high-stakes since it was widely debated whether or not the Packers would even carry three quarterbacks on their active roster.
It became clear, however, that the Packers had made a number of unexpected decisions on Thursday, when they traded Brett Hundley to the Seattle Seahawks after signing Rodgers to a new contract. With the disastrous injury to Rodgers presumably still painfully clear in their memories, the Packers decided that they would instead rely on Kizer in the event of a Rodgers injury this year.
Kizer was drafted by and started for the Cleveland Browns last year, but struggled as a rookie quarterback on a winless, under-talented team. When the Packers traded for Kizer this off-season, there were murmurs, although very faint, that they may be considering him as the eventual…