- The Washington Times
Monday, May 10, 2021


People are talking about Aaron Rodgers playing for the Washington Football Team.

Let me repeat that: People are talking about Aaron Rodgers playing for the Washington Football Team!

“The Washington Football Team, you need a name, get a name, but outside of that, I am going to tell you, this might be the perfect landing spot,” ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith says. 

He’s not the only one talking.

“I don’t think it’s remotely out of the question to suggest that Washington would be among the favorites to make it to the Super Bowl if it pulled off a Rodgers trade. Washington’s defense ranked third in the league in defensive DVOA last season and arguably got better in free agency by replacing Ronald Darby with William Jackson,” ESPN writer Bill Barnwell says.

Rodgers would be a transformative quarterback for a Washington team that has cycled through starter after starter over the past 25 years. He wouldn’t be a long-term solution, but for an organization that has been downright adversarial to its fans during the Daniel Snyder era and wasn’t exactly packing the stadium before the pandemic, he would represent a new era. The offensive line is questionable, but he could again look toward a promising one-two punch at receiver in Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel.”

This is winning off the field, the very idea that one of the greatest quarterbacks of his time — the NFL’s 2020 Most Valuable Player, his third such honor — is being touted somehow as a good fit for the Washington Football Team.

And get this: No one is laughing. 

Washington has transformed from a toxic wasteland to the land of milk and honey. Well, skim milk and Splenda, perhaps.

It’s a testament to Washington coach Ron Rivera’s makeover of the franchise’s image — from abhorrent to attractive.

That image is a fragile one under despot Dan Snyder. Not long ago, Jay Gruden was the head coach of a football team that had just traded for highly-respected Alex Smith, coming off a career year in Kansas City at the age of 34. Now both of them are out of football.

Stuff happens. Washington Football Team stuff happens.

So if this is real life — if Rodgers really does want out of Green Bay at any cost — then Rivera and his Washington Football brain trust have to do everything they can to make this deal happen.

Anything less would be a failure.

If Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Allen or Taylor Heinicke is the starting quarterback for the Washington Football Team for the start of the 2021 season, and the 35-year-old Rodgers is starting for any team other than Green Bay, it would be front office malpractice.

This “plan” for the Washington quarterback position for 2021 is no plan at all. It’s still a clean-up on aisle four in the aftermath of Snyder’s disastrous pick of Dwayne Haskins at No. 15 in the first round of the 2019 draft.

A “plan?” Despite the love by some NFL media for the bearded wonder, the facts are this — Heinicke has played one playoff game more than Fitzpatrick over his 16 seasons and 165 NFL games.

I don’t know if even Vinny Cerrato would call this a “plan.”

Barnwell is right. Aaron Rodgers on this Washington Football team makes them a Super Bowl contender. It’s that simple.

I can’t fathom that Rivera and his newly-minted front office — former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney, former Detroit GM Martin Mayhew, former Indianapolis GM Chris Polian and others — don’t recognize the sense of urgency here and the moment at hand.

A quick rise to Washington Football Team glory by Rivera would solidify his power base within the building when he has to do battle with Snyder. It’s the Joe Torre blueprint from New York that empowered the manager to hold the meddlesome George Steinbrenner at bay during their run of World Series wins.

Of course, Rodgers’ presence would then make him the most powerful person in the building. It would be up to Rivera to make sure his new prized quarterback is his ally and not Snyder’s newest imaginary friend. That would be no small battle.

Rodgers would be the biggest jock Snyder would have acquired for his collection, and it would be difficult to keep the owner on his yacht and off the sidelines. Who knows how Rodgers would react? He’s only played for the socialist NFL team in his 16 seasons. He’s never had an owner who would want to be best buddies.

There were three quarterbacks picked in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft. Washington drafted one that year with the 25th pick, Jason Campbell. They traded for the No. 1 pick in that draft, Alex Smith, in 2018.

Aaron Rodgers is the only one remaining. Time to complete the trifecta.

You can hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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