Aaron Rodgers may still be the Green Bay Packers quarterback, but the relationship has reached a breaking point.
Rumors have been swirling around the NFL that Rodgers’ days in a Packers uniform were numbered ever since head coach Matt LaFluer took the ball out of his star quarterback’s hands in the waning minutes of the 2020 NFC Championship game, opting to kick a field goal instead of going for it on fourth and goal. And while rumors can sometimes be dismissed, this one seems all too real.
After months of hearsay, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Thursday that Rodgers had told multiple individuals within the Packers organization that he had no desire to return to the team.
Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday.
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— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2021
The news broke at an interesting time, just a few hours before the 2021 NFL Draft commenced. The Packers reportedly turned down an offer from the San Francisco 49ers, who wound up selecting quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick. The Denver Broncos were also reportedly involved in conversations with Green Bay, but talks between the two teams died down as the night wore on.
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Green Bay seems set on repairing the relationship with Rodgers, but it’s hard to imagine the famously hard-headed quarterback is going to change his mind now.
“We’ve been working through this for a little while now, and I just think it may take some time,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “But he’s a guy that kind of makes this thing go. He gives us the best chance to win, and we’re going to work towards that end.”
The Packers have bungled the Rodgers situation for years, and as a result have failed to reach the Super Bowl since their 2010 victory, despite being led by arguably the most talented quarterback on the planet. It’s easy to see why Rodgers would be frustrated. The team has largely failed to surround him with offensive weapons and drafted quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft without giving their franchise player any advanced warning.
Rodgers time in Green Bay is over, it’s just a matter of when the Packers front office decides it’s best for them to make the move. We’ve been here before with star players, and it never works out well for the organization.
Green Bay may be waiting until after June 1st to move their franchise quarterback. As reported by Mike Florio of NBC Sports, trading Rodgers before June 2nd would result in a $31.55 million cap hit for Green Bay. The dead money left for the Packers to pay would be $38.35 million with the $6.8 million roster bonus already paid to Rodgers.
A trade after June 1st would reduce the 2021 cap charge to $14.352 million, pushing off the rest of the money to the 2022 season.
If Green Bay is in fact hoping to repair the relationship, they sure didn’t show it on Thursday night with their first round selection of Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes with the 29th overall pick. While Stokes certainly addresses an area of need for the Packers — they needed an upgrade at cornerback opposite of Jaire Alexander — he does nothing to help Rodgers on the offensive side of the football.
The Packers can still select a wide receiver later on in the draft — Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore is still on the board heading into round two — but it’s hard to believe that his selection will move the needle for Rodgers.
If this is indeed the end of the Rodgers era in Green Bay, the “what-if’s” will be many. What if Green Bay would have been more active in free-agency? What if the Packers organization was able to keep the disconnect between the two sides in-house?
However it plays out, Rodgers will not finish his career in a Packers uniform, and you can blame the organization for that.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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