When it comes to what’s going on between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, it’s been difficult to decipher what’s real and what isn’t. Although lately, things have quieted down after the initial shockwave that came on the day of the NFL Draft, most of what has been put out there has been doomsday scenarios in which Rodgers doesn’t play another snap donning the green and yellow.
However, one individual, in particular, has had a more optimistic outlook on how this situation could end, and that is former Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones—and perhaps someone that we should all be listening to more often since he is friends with the reigning MVP and speaks with him frequently.
As we all know, Rodgers did not participate in OTAs, missing out on a $500,000 workout bonus, and now he is not at mandatory mini-camp and is subject to fines totaling $93,085 unless the team chooses to give him an excused absence. So now the big question is, will he be at training camp at the end of July, or will the holdout continue well into the summer?
Jones, who appeared on The Herd on Wednesday, doesn’t seem to think that it will get to that point, and when it’s time for training camp, he believes that Rodgers will be there:
“He’s willing to go in there and make sure that they can get this thing right and go out there and put the best football team on the field and compete for a championship. That’s why I truly believe that he will be there for training camp, this will get fixed, and I think the relationship will get much better between him and the GM,” Jones told Colin Cowherd.
While Rodgers’ absence from OTAs and mini-camp is noteworthy, if he misses training camp, that’s newsworthy. For starters, as it’s written in the CBA, the team can fine Rodgers $50,000 for every day missed and can go after his base salary and any bonuses as well. Things certainly get a lot more expensive and do so very quickly, compared to mini-camp.
Additionally, if you’re holding out hope that the two parties are able to resolve their differences, seeing this saga dragging into August could very well signify that the relationship is irreconcilable—something that has been assumed by many, but also something that we don’t know to be certain at this time.
Over the last six weeks or so, there has been rampant speculation as to what Rodgers’ issues with team management are; although Jones wouldn’t dive into specifics, he did acknowledge that this isn’t about having a greater say who in the Packers draft or sign, but rather who they let go:
“He doesn’t care who you bring in there,” Jones told Cowherd. “He wants to keep some of the guys that have been in that building and helped the team win, whether you think they may be done. He’s seen a lot of guys walk out of that building and go play very good football. It’s not just about this past season. It goes back. There’s a lot built into it.”
Jones would go on to mention players like Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, and Clay Matthews as examples. At that point in their respective careers, when Green Bay moved on from each of them, they were all past their primes, but the experience, chemistry, and what they added to the locker room was certainly still valuable to the team.
This also aligns with what Rodgers said when he appeared on SportsCenter with Kenny Mayne and kept reiterating that in an organization, it’s about “the people.”
Where we go from here, well, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? As we’ve done so far, we will continue playing the waiting game, but with all the outside noise surrounding Rodgers and the Packers, I would certainly put more stock in what Jones says, given his relationship with QB1 than other media members.
Transcribed quotes via Bill Huber at Sports Illustrated