Despite Aaron Rodgers telling the Green Bay Packers he no longer wants to play in Green Bay, the Packers are at least saying that they believe Rodgers will be barking out signals at Lambeau Field in 2021.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst delivered that message to reporters following day one of the NFL Draft on Thursday night.
Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Rodgers had become so disgruntled with the team that he wanted out.
The 37-year-old quarterback, coming off his third NFL MVP honor, is under contract through the 2023 season. But he has no more guaranteed money left on his deal.
ESPN reported that Gutekunst, Packers coach Matt LaFleur and team president Mark Murphy each met with Rodgers on separate occasions during the offseason and according to the NFL Network, Rodgers had his agent (David Dunn) recently fly to Green Bay for several days of meetings about the situation.
PackersNews also reported that the team did come around and offer Rodgers more money and a longer contract to stay in Green Bay. But apparently the rift between Rodgers and the front office had grown to big and the quarterback drew his line in the sand.
Not only did Rodgers draw his line in the sand, but he drew it on the day when the entire NFL fan base is watching, day one of the NFL Draft. Rodgers, in effect, punished the Packers for drafting his eventual replacement last season.
Gutekunst said they wouldn’t trade Rodgers, but that is now. If Rodgers maintains his stance of not wanting to play in Green Bay come June, the Packers may have to reconsider. There’s also the fact that Rodgers, should he return, could lose respect of some of his teammates. Not to mention, he would have challenged the organization and won.
Do the Packers really want to open that can of worms? Setting that precedence could be a bad thing for an organization.
On the flip side, if Rodgers doesn’t return, they would be left with one quarterback, Jordan Love, who isn’t ready to take over the starting job. So any deal may have to include a veteran quarterback in return, to allow the Packers to let Love learn for another season and actually play during the preseason.
I’ll also throw this one out. How about sending Rodgers to Seattle for Russell Wilson? Two disgruntled quarterbacks that are still at the top of their game. Just a thought.
The Packers could have given Rodgers another weapon to work with last night, instead, they used their first round pick on a defensive player for the ninth time in the last ten drafts.
I’m sure Thursday was a special day for Packers first round draft pick Eric Stokes. But the selection of the young, speedy defensive back with the 29th overall pick from Georgia certainly took a backseat to the Aaron Rodgers saga.
Day two of the draft is Friday night. The Packers have individual selections in both the second and third rounds. But the buzz will still be about Aaron Rodgers and you get the feeling that’s just the way he wanted it.