Aaron Rodgers versus Packers management creates a fascinating offseason storyline
The Green Bay Packers took quarterback Jordan Love out of Utah State in the first round of the NFL draft on April 23 of last year. Social media lit on fire. Wasn’t Aaron Rodgers still under contract for big money the next few seasons? Yep. Wouldn’t a team that was a game away from the Super Bowl the season before be better off taking a player that could step in and play right away? Probably. How was Aaron Rodgers, notorious grudge holder, going to react? Now, 371 days after Love was selected, the answer to that question became clear. Rodgers is upset, and he wants out. Now.
When reports were released the morning of the draft that teams, such as the San Francisco 49ers, had inquired about trying to trade for Rodgers, the timing seemed fishy. The Niners were all set to take their quarterback of the future later that evening. If they were going to make a run at Rodgers, why had they not done so sooner?
Then a few hours later the reports started to surface. Rodgers had reportedly told people close to him that he did not plan to return to Green Bay for the 2021 season. Since then, everyone seems to have the inside scope on Rodgers.
Some reported that Green Bay promised Rodgers they would attempt to move him this offseason, while now reports are there is a “zero percent chance” the reigning MVP is traded.
Then others have noted that Rodgers will seriously consider retirement if he is not dealt, while Rodgers’ former teammate A.J. Hawk says this is baloney.
Contradictory information is flying around all over the plays, so it is anyone’s guess who or what is to believe anymore. However, one thing for certain is clear. Aaron Rodgers is pissed off.
Remember when I mentioned Rodgers is notorious at holding grudges? Let’s take a look at why we know this to be true.
Rodgers spent 13 years with Mike McCarthy as his head coach. Rodgers won MVPs with McCarthy, countless division titles and even a Super Bowl back in 2010. Sounds like a relationship between coach and quarterback that results in a lifelong friendship. Well, apparently this is not the case.
The thing is McCarthy was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers back in 2005. And with the first pick of the 2005 draft, the Niners took Utah’s Alex Smith, not the hometown California kid in Rodgers, and McCarthy reportedly played a big part in the decision.
According to Rodgers former teammate Ryan Grant, this always bugged Rodgers.
“Aaron was upset that Mike passed on him… that Mike actually verbally said that Alex Smith was a better quarterback.”
Then there was the instance back in October of 2017 when Rodgers fractured his collarbone after being tackled, cleanly, by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. It took him two years, but Rodgers got his… revenge?
“It feels great to win it in this stadium where a couple of years ago I was jeered leaving the field after breaking my collarbone,” Rodgers said after beating the Vikings on Monday night in 2019.
The bottom line is Aaron Rodgers does not forget. So, when you draft his would-be replacement following a season where the team went 13-3 and every right to think they will be in the Super Bowl mix again the next year, you enter his crosshairs.
If you are the Packers, and you are the business in winning Super Bowls, Aaron Rodgers absolutely gives you the best chance to do just that. Trading him, and putting the keys of a roster that went 26-6 over the last two seasons in the hands of a player who has yet to take an NFL snap feels like a colossal mistake.
At the same time, Rodgers might not give them a choice.