Aaron Rodgers has changed his diet to maximize his longevity, and Packers coach Mike McCarthy believes his quarterback can play into his 40s. But how long can the 33-year-old maintain the level he was at last season, when he contended for another MVP award? ESPN’s NFC North reporters weigh in.
Jeff Dickerson, ESPN’s Chicago Bears reporter: Six or seven years at least. Rodgers turns 34 next season, but remember, he spent his first three years behind Brett Favre. Rodgers is technically entering his 13th NFL season, but he has fewer miles on his body. Last year, Rodgers passed for 4,428 yards, 40 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in the regular season. In the playoffs, Rodgers threw nine touchdown passes. Translation: There has been zero drop-off in his performance. As long as Green Bay’s pass-protection holds up, Rodgers can play at an elite level well into his 40s — if he wants to stick around that long.
Ben Goessling, ESPN’s Minnesota Vikings reporter: Rodgers has talked about Tom Brady as a role model for how to take care of himself in his mid-to-late 30s, and he has emulated some of Brady’s dietary habits now that he’s closer to 35 than to 30. If he’s able to avoid major injuries, there’s no reason to think he can’t play at the same level at age 38 or 39 that Brady has. Rodgers’ mobility is such a big part of his game that it will be interesting to see how he adapts if and when he’s not able to extend plays and outrun defenders the way he does now. But his arm strength and intellect might be the best of any quarterback in the game, and those qualities will serve Rodgers well into his late 30s. If he chooses to follow Brady’s path, he can. Now, the question is, while Brady has five rings, can Rodgers get more than one?
Michael Rothstein, ESPN’s Detroit Lions reporter: There’s no reason to think Rodgers can’t keep this up for the next five to six years as long as he stays healthy. Rodgers takes fantastic care of himself, and using Brady and Drew Brees as examples, Rodgers should be able to equal their successes into their late 30s. Brady was second in the league in QBR last season, Brees was fifth. Rodgers, meanwhile, was fourth. He has consistently been a 65 percent passer throughout his career, and he has been a consummate leader. He should be able to play this way well into the next decade. The thing to watch will be his feet and his movement, though. As long as he’s able to still deftly avoid pressure, he’ll be fine.