The Green Bay Packers are in a deja vu nightmare with Aaron Rodgers reportedly done with the franchise. It’s a similar situation to what they went through with Brett Favre all those years ago and it’s repeating itself again here in 2021.
The issue apparently began when general manager Brian Gutekunst traded up in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to select quarterback Jordan Love without telling Rodgers. Gutekunst reportedly didn’t even tell head coach Matt LaFleur he was going to make the move. Rodgers has been upset with Gutekunst ever since and the two haven’t been able to work through their issues.
Green Bay has been working diligently since the season ended to repair the relationship, including flying LaFleur, Gutekunst and president/CEO Mark Murphy to Rodgers on several occasions. It may be a case of too little too late.
Rodgers is threatening retirement unless Gutekunst is fired since he is under contract for the Packers for the next three years. He’s reportedly using the lure of hosting Jeopardy as a negotiation point and has been vocal about how much he enjoys that. If he does retire, he’ll have to pay back a total of $23 million in signing bonuses–a hefty sum no matter who you are.
So far, the Packers are calling his bluff. They reportedly didn’t take any trade calls about Rodgers during the draft and didn’t engage in any conversations surrounding their MVP quarterback. That’s huge news considering the San Francisco 49ers allegedly wanted to offer their third overall pick packaged with other picks and players while Denver was reportedly willing to send a deal centered around their ninth-overall selection and other picks.
Keep up with what the important players are saying about the Green Bay Packers’ ongoing situation with MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Speaking of Denver, that is reportedly one of Rodgers’ preferred destinations if he were to leave Green Bay. The Las Vegas Raiders has been another spot that intrigues Rodgers, as he allegedly would like to stay on the West Coast. However, there’s not a no-trade clause which means he’d truly be at the mercy of Green Bay if they ever do decide to deal him.
Despite all this playing out in the public, it’s unclear exactly what Rodgers and the Packers want. Gutekunst may still be in denial about the whole situation, as he had this to say about Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay, “Aaron hasn’t said anything like that to me and certainly hasn’t said anything publicly. I think that’s a little unfair to put that on him. Certainly don’t like to hear those things, but no, nothing’s been communicated directly to me.”
However, Murphy admitted to there being a problem between the two sides via a letter on Packers.com, “The day started with the report that Aaron Rodgers is upset with the Packers and doesn’t want to return to the team. When a report like that involves the reigning MVP, it is obviously a huge story, and it dominated the sports news for most of the day. This is an issue that we have been working on for several months. Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur and I have flown out on a number of occasions to meet with Aaron. We are very much aware of Aaron’s concerns and have been working with him (and his agent Dave Dunn) to resolve them. We remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond.”
That’s never great when the president of your company isn’t trying to shut down rumors about your best player being disgruntled and instead admits to working through them for “several months.”
And poor Matt LaFleur. He’s enjoyed tremendous success in his first two seasons as head coach, leading the Packers to a 26-6 record and two consecutive NFC Championship games. Now he’s caught in the middle between his boss and his star player. He had this to say when asked about the situation, “This guy is our quarterback. He’s the leader of our team. I want nothing more than to have him back. I can’t even take my brain to that spot right now (if Rodgers doesn’t want to come back). I just want to do everything in my power to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
Although Rodgers hasn’t said anything publicly (yet), he did make a public appearance at the Kentucky Derby over the weekend and spoke to Mike Tirico on the side. Tirico reported Rodgers was “disappointed the news has come out of this rift with the Packers” and talked about how much “he loves Green Bay, loves the fans, loves the franchise.”
It’s hard to imagine the Packers leaking that Rodgers wants out so it’s a bit difficult to believe Rodgers’ statement about being disappointed at this point. One thing is for sure, this is only starting and the two sides are having a staring contest right now. Who will be the first one to blink?