(670 The Score) As a Bears fan, you might be tempted to think that Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ return to Green Bay is bad news. You may start feeling like his new contract extension not only destroyed the Bears’ title aspirations for the next half-decade but was also a direct slight against you personally. On the way to Denver, he heard you talking about the chemistry between Justin Fields and Chris Olave and simply had to put an end to everything before anything even got started. And now here you sit, stunned and trying to tweet through it. Once again, it’s the Bears against the world (good T-shirt idea?), and by the world, you mean one very specific immunized player on one very specific team.
There’s good news though: You're not totally right! Just mostly. There are still a few reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the Bears’ next four years, so let’s list them just for fun and not for any other reason -- and definitely not out of panic or anything like that. Just for fun.
A 6-win Packer team wasn’t going to get the Bears anywhere
The Packers only beat the Bears twice a year. There are 15 other games in which it would still behoove the Bears to play well. A team with Fields and an offensive line that keeps him off the ground – or at least helps him up off it – will probably still be a noticeable improvement over the last three decades, and it’ll definitely be enough to beat the Lions. Also, considering some of Rodgers’ recent postseason performances, all the Bears really need to do is aim for a wild-card berth anyway. (Pause for applause)
Rodgers might get bad
I don’t actually believe this, but don’t let that stop you from optimism here. He’s getting old! Historically speaking, old people are bad at football.
He's still objectively annoying
It seems impossible to remember now, but for most of Rodgers’ ownership of the Bears, he was generally a likable figure. That's now, uh, no longer the case. Pair that with a team in Chicago that, if you squint hard enough, almost looks like it could eventually be Very Cool and suddenly the Packers-Bears watching dynamic flips. Remember the NFC Championship game? Rodgers jokes unify The Web like few things can. Throw Rogan is the new Trubisky/Mahomes. Bears fans are in on the joke now, and if you don’t believe me, go ask whichever real estate agent lost 10% of their asking price on Matt Nagy’s home last week.
This bought the Bears time?
I’m not quite sure how facetious I’m being. If Rodgers leaves with four years left on Fields’ rookie contract, the clock immediately starts on the Bears' window. In reality, big-time quarterback extensions haven’t quite turned out to be the cap impediment that their reputation suggests, but as every MLB owner will tell you, there are plenty of advantages to having your best players on a cheap salary. From an internal standpoint, it’s not like new Bears general manager Ryan Poles is cutting his to-do list in half, but external expectations change with Rodgers staying in the NFC North. Develop Fields, extend Fields and use the next couple seasons to really see the vision through. Windows in the NFL are neither long nor dependable, and the Bears certainly can’t wait until Rodgers officially retires to hit the gas. But Poles surely sold the McCaskeys on a multi-year plan, and there are at least a few differences between win-now team-building and win-soon team-building. So maybe this helps the Bears? You know it’s the worst point you have when you land on "Aaron Rodgers staying in Green Bay actually helps the Bears."
Cam Ellis is a writer for 670 The Score and Audacy Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KingsleyEllis.