If you’re like me and you view the NFL Draft as a secondary Christmas, then Packers fans may have been disappointed this year. Instead of focusing on the newfound optimism of incoming prospects, Draft Day was centered around whether Aaron Rodgers wanted to remain in Green Bay. Until the rumors are put to rest, we are going to hear daily updates and rumors. While some will be accurate, others will fuel ongoing theories.
Prior to my personal thoughts on the topic, lets look at the events that led us here:
It all blew up on Thursday afternoon, several hours prior to round one of the NFL Draft. Paul Allen from KFAN in Minneapolis floated the rumor that the San Francisco 49ers were offering up the third overall pick along with other compensation in exchange for Rodgers. We have since learned that this was just a rumor, and while the 49ers did reach out, they never reached the offering stage of trade talks. Instead, they were told by Green Bay’s front office that Rodgers was not on the market.
The report by Adam Schefter followed just a few hours later, dropping a bomb on the NFL and Packers fans alike. We have since learned that Schefter did not have a source to his report, but that it was based on a culmination of information across several months. While Schefter may have jumped the gun, others have piggybacked on the report and have their own alterations of the truth.
After sifting through numerous trade rumors, we began hearing from those close to Rodgers about what is really going on behind the scenes:
Based on many of these comments from former teammates, the narrative seems to have shifted. Fans seem to believe those who are closer to Rodgers and have clung to the idea that Schefter’s report has little viability. Of course, the one individual who could clear everything up is Aaron Rodgers.
The silence by Rodgers, who rarely misses an opportunity to speak to the media, has only added to the speculation that he and the front office are at odds. Staff members such as Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur, and Mark Murphy have spoken to the media and doubled-down on the fact that Rodgers is remaining with Green Bay.
Aaron Rodgers’ Viewpoint
The ongoing differences between Rodgers and Green Bay goes back further than Gutekunst or the Jordan Love pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Rodgers and former head coach Mike McCarthy had a falling out, leaving Mark Murphy as the catalyst behind Rodgers’ discrepancies.
The roster priority has been an ongoing issue in Green Bay as well, as Rodgers’ prime has not been utilized properly. Despite being one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, Rodgers has witnessed the Packers draft strategy over the years not align with his idea of what the team needs.
Reports indicated that Rodgers was not happy when his favorite wide receiver target in Jordy Nelson was not brought back in 2018. The Packers instead signed tight end Jimmy Graham, who lasted two seasons with the team. Rodgers has been excluded from the decision-making process, including the hiring of Matt LaFleur. Despite the fact that it seems as though Rodgers and LaFleur have developed a positive relationship, we can assume Rodgers wanted a say in who he was going to be working with going forward.
The first-round selection of Jordan Love only added to the issues in Green Bay, as it was a move that spoke volumes. The team had other immediate needs to address, but felt the need to trade up in the first round to select the quarterback of their choice. This directly conflicts with Rodgers wishes and desires to leave Green Bay on his terms. Rodgers spoke openly about the dissapointment he felt with the future no longer being in his hands.
Rodgers has valid concerns about how the Packers have handled him over the course of his career. It seems he has dealt with more turmoil than most All-Pro quarterbacks have to. Rodgers has clearly stated his desire to continue playing in the NFL, but the Packers have refused to commit when it counts.
Green Bay’s Viewpoint
The job of the General Manager and Team President in the NFL is to win Super Bowls and create a positive long-term future for the team. The selection of Jordan Love was a move signaled to try and thread the needle and do both. Selecting running back AJ Dillon was protection to the fact that they could have lost both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams due to contractual concerns. Green Bay gambled that their players were talented enough to make the strides necessary to run through the NFC. However, for the second consecutive season, they fell just short.
Rodgers was under contract through the 2021 season, and after that, the front office could make a logical decision on the future of the quarterback position. With Rodgers securing an MVP season, however, there was seemingly no interest on his end for playing out one last year with no future commitments. This is truly about controlling the future and obviously both sides have thier own interests here and neither really wants to move on their position.
It also seems that Love is not ready to lead the franchise, causing the organization to be in a weaker bargaining position when it comes to Rodgers. Most recently, the Packers added journeyman Blake Bortles to the roster, resulting in speculation that Green Bay could be getting closer to moving Rodgers. In reality, the addition of Bortles has no correlation to Rodgers’ future with the team.
Based on the evidence, it doesn’t appear Rodgers will be traded in the immediate future. The Packers would need to be offered a trade too tempting to pass on, and while other teams will benefit from adding Rodgers in a trade, he is still 38-years old. Instead, we can admit there needs to be improvement when it comes to communication from both sides regarding the decision-making process moving forward.
Where Do We Stand?
Any news or speculation prior to June 1st will be difficult to ignore, but that is the date in which select players can seek out trades without violating any tampering rules. Without Rodgers speaking on the issue personally, it’s essential that we accept what the media claims with a grain of salt.
Without a trade in place, Rodgers will be under center for the Packers in Week 1 of the 2021 season. Otherwise, the idea of retirement seems to be the only other choice. Rodgers has continuously shown a willingness to compete, but that same competitive spirit seems to have rubbed members of the front office the wrong way.