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Aaron Rodgers ends darkness retreat early as decision on his future looms

Aaron Rodgers could return to the Packers, ask for a trade or retire. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Aaron Rodgers could return to the Packers, ask for a trade or retire. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Aaron Rodgers' darkness retreat is over, the owner of the Oregon facility told ESPN.

Rodgers left Sky Cave Retreats on Wednesday, two days after his scheduled entrance on Monday per NFL Network last week. Rodgers originally told "The Pat McAfee Show" he would spend four days in total darkness "to contemplate all things" and "make a decision that I feel like is best for me moving forward in the highest interest in my happiness."

It both ends and restarts the wild saga that is Rodgers' 2023 offseason. He and the Green Bay Packers have an important choice to make when it comes to the future of both the quarterback and the team: Rodgers and the Packers could either remain together or separate — either with a trade or through retirement. All options have been rumored and dissected already this offseason, and it's impossible to know which direction the wind will blow until Rodgers and the Packers make a decision.

Rodgers' three options

For what it's worth, ESPN's Jeff Darlington reported Wednesday (though it's unclear if this report was before or after Rodgers emerged from his retreat) that the Packers believe Rodgers would return to the team. The Packers would also be on the hook for $40.3 million in 2023 if the team dealt Rodgers before June 1 or $15.8 million in 2023 if he was traded after June 1, per Over The Cap. If Rodgers stays in Green Bay, it'll cost the team $59.465 million this season.

This would also complicate Jordan Love's situation, too. The former 2020 first-round pick reportedly sounded uninterested in sitting behind Rodgers for another season and could seek a trade himself.

As for Rodgers, the New York Jets are perhaps the most well-known suitor if the Packers decide to move on from the 39-year-old. They've been linked to multiple veteran quarterbacks like Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Tannehill because of their coaching connections, but none is bigger than the hiring of former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who coached Rodgers in Green Bay. The prospect of reuniting Rodgers with receiver Davante Adams with the Las Vegas Raiders is also a rumored option, but really any team looking for a veteran passer could look into Rodgers' availability and cost.

The third and final possibility is, of course, retirement. While it's the least likely scenario, it's still on the table. Rodgers reportedly contemplated stepping away from football before signing his mega-deal this past offseason and recently said he's "either all-in or all-out" — which could also just be a reference to his attachment to the Packers.

Rodgers' darkness retreat amenities

ESPN's Xuan Thai spoke with Scott Berman, the owner of Sky Cave Retreats where Rodgers spent the past few days, about the facility and experience.

Berman described the room as "a partially underground, Hobbit-like structure with 300 square feet of space, devoid of light, with a queen bed, a bathroom and a meditation-like mat on the floor." The room has lights and electricity, though, which can be turned on at any time from inside the room. Berman said he checks on guests once a day and there are no rules for remaining in complete darkness.