You’d think that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks of all-time who’s also coming off back-to-back MVPs, would have the upper hand when it comes to the future of their career.

Well, allow me to introduce you to the NFL, where players typically have little-to-no control over their careers.

And as it turns out, Rodgers is part of the rule and not the exception.

After last year’s holdout, it appeared as if Rodgers was going to have a say in regards to his future post-2021. Reports claimed the Green Bay Packers told Rodgers it would trade him after the 2021 season, if Rodgers desired a trade. Unfortunately for him, general manager Brian Gutekunst did everything but set the verbal contract on fire Wednesday when he told reporters he never said that to Rodgers.

Ok, then.

Who knows where things go from here, but it’s clear the Packers have the upper hand.

This is based off a multitude of different circumstances. But primarily, it’s based off the fact that Rodgers’ contract is a contract without a no-trade clause.

This is significant for the future Hall of Famer. Gutekunst can ship Rodgers off to wherever he likes if he thinks the trade’s ROI is worth his while.

There are a couple of destinations that make sense (Denver, Pittsburgh) and we know that Rodgers is fine with playing in Denver. Especially now that Nathaniel Hackett is head coach.

But what if Gutekunst receives a better offer from Washington, or the New York Jets, or another team that not only has question marks at quarterback, but has a lot of money and a lot of draft capital?

Based off Green Bay’s current cap situation and Jordan Love’s presence, it would be hard to blame Gutekunst if he did in fact do a deal with a “lesser” team. Trading Rodgers would not only free up more than $19 million in cap room; it would also allow Green Bay to get a great look at Love in 2022. The Packers are going to have to decide on whether or not they want to approve Love’s fifth-year option in 2023. Seeing what Love can do on the big stage for a full 17-game season would go a long way toward helping that evaluation.

And the Packers need draft picks. A lot of them. The best way to manage the salary cap is by acquiring cheap, young, effective talent. And there’s no better place to find that than the NFL Draft.

Aaron Rodgers has said he doesn’t want to play if he’s going to be part of a rebuild and that makes sense. However, there’s a chance he’s giving the Packers the ultimatum strictly because of the past couple of years. Scorned partners usually end up looking out for themselves, and you can’t blame them when they do.

But at the same time, it’s not naive to think the ultimatum also covers the entire NFL. He doesn’t seem like he wants to wait around for anything, anymore. And why should he?

But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where Rodgers wants to go because his contract is a contract without a no-trade clause. If Green Bay wants to ship him off to the moon, it can.

Unless Rodgers retires.

That’s Aaron Rodgers’ poison pill. His way out of all this. The one way he gets exactly what he wants. But, we’ll likely never know if retirement is what he truly wants if it comes down to that.

If Rodgers’ contract contained an NTC, we’d be having a whole different topic of conversation. Rodgers’ outlook would be mostly sunny, because as long as the Packers receive a deal they like from a team Rodgers prefers (cough cough, Denver), everything is gonna be alright, as the late, great Bob Marley once said.

But he doesn’t have an NTC. And the Packers have a lot to figure out, which means they’re going to take their time in order to figure out what’s best for the team. And if that “best” entails the Jets swapping out two top-10 draft picks in 2022 and a future second -or more picks- for Rodgers, then so be it. That’s what the Packers are going to do.

And if Rodgers doesn’t like it, there’s only one thing he can do: retire.

That’s what you call having the upper-hand, folks.

Featured image via-Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK