Aaron Rodgers Situation: What is undoubtedly the biggest story of this NFL offseason continues to roll on, as the standoff between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers management looks to shake up the league and potentially shape the futures of a number of teams.
Here is where the saga stands right now: reports came out on the first day of the 2021 NFL Draft that Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, with further rumors circulating that a trade offer for Rodgers from the 49ers was declined. The relationship between Rodgers and management has been tense, to say the least. It’s believed that Rodgers was upset at the Packers for drafting QB Jordan Love last year, without informing the future hall of famer of such plans.
Of course, the drafting of Rodgers potential successor seems a bit premature in hindsight, considering the season success Rodgers had which culminated in winning the MVP award. Further moves by the organization seemed to irritate Rodgers even more, including oddly enough the cutting of WR Jake Kumerow last season, despite the franchise QB’s praises of the oft-benched player.
Rodgers had gone so far as to inform potential free agents that he likely would not be in Green Bay, and had been reported to refer to Packers GM Brian Gutekunst as Jerry Krause, the former Chicago Bulls GM who built a team that would go on win 6 NBA Championships, at the expense of destroying his relationship with the players and ultimately result in the end of the dynasty. So it’s apparent that Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, and as soon as possible.
He wouldn’t be the first QB to try and force his way out of their team, and what we’ve seen in the past with other big name QBs doing the same can provide some valuable insight into the Rodgers-Packers situation.,
The biggest QB name to force their way out of town in recent history was former first overall pick Carson Palmer. The Bengals 2003 pick who was expected to turn the fortunes of the team around wasn’t able to exactly live up to such hype during his tenure in Cincinnati.
In his seven seasons with the Bengals, he only made the playoffs twice, both of them Wildcard round exits. A disappointing 2010 season, with the Bengals going 4-12 and once again missing the playoffs, resulted in a trade request from Palmer, which was declined by GM Mike Brown.
A standoff ensued, with Palmer threatening to retire if he was not traded out of Cincy. When training camps rolled around, Palmer had committed to his threats and did not show up. Despite his failure to appear, the Bengals kept him on the roster, while in the meantime drafting Palmer’s eventual replacement, Andy Dalton.
Palmer would not be shipped out of Cincinnati until midway through the 2011 campaign, when he was dealt to the Raiders due to then Oakland QB Jason Campbell going down with a season-ending injury. He’d play in Oakland for two seasons, missing the playoffs in both, before being dealt again to the Arizona Cardinals in 2013, where he would play for his last three seasons and experience a resurgence of sorts.
This situation with Rodgers is not the first time that a Packers QB has had significant issues with management. Go back 13 years ago, and the Hall of Famer he replaced was having his own struggle with the Packers management.
Brett Favre, then at that point 38 years old and who had been considering retirement for the past two seasons, officially announced his retirement following the 2007 season. With Rodgers as a successor, the Packers looked to have achieved a stable transition from mentor to mentee, an uncommon sight in the NFL.
However, the story did not stop with Favre retiring. That July, Favre was in contact with Packers management about a potential return as starter for the 2008 season. When the Packers refused, committing themselves to Rodgers Favre ultimately brought their fight into the public.
Interviews with various media outlets saw Favre claiming he was forced by management to make a decision regarding his retirement earlier than he would have liked, and that he felt he still had the ability to play at a starting level. He reported to training camp, where both he and the Packers management came to the conclusion that Favre should depart from the team.
He was traded to the Jets in August of 2008, where he played one season before signing with Vikings. His career officially ended after two seasons with Minnesota, including one which ended in the NFC Championship game.
The Rodgers situation resembles the situation with Palmer and the Bengals more than Favre with the Packers. Rodgers has just won NFL MVP, and though he is the same age Favre was when he retired the first time, he still has much to give to an NFL team, much like Palmer did when he was traded to Oakland.
Furthermore, this issue stems from what Rodgers perceives as slights by management, including not informing him of significant decisions as it relates to his time there, including the drafting of Love.
Rodgers wants to play for a team that allows him a certain level of control within decisions that could affect his play on the field, which for a player of his caliber, doesn’t seem like a hard thing to do. We could be headed into a repeat of the Palmer situation, where Rodgers is not traded by training camp, and remains on the roster through the start of the season.
If he is traded, it’s not necessarily to a team like the Broncos, one where Rodgers has reportedly expressed interest in going to, but to one that’ll give up a lot in order to get the three time NFL MVP. This isn’t to say that this situation can’t be fixed, because it appears that if the Packers were willing to allow Rodgers some say in personnel decisions, then some tensions could be alleviated.
However, considering the lack of input they have asked of him in key decisions over his career, it’s unlikely they would be able to give in on something like the hiring of a new GM. While there hasn’t been much in the way of significant news on this saga recently, one can only imagine the kind of bombshell that could drop at any time when it involves Aaron Rodgers.