Will Aaron Rodgers be the next NFL superstar to be dealt following Sunday’s Julio Jones trade? While the Green Bay Packers tell us publicly that the reigning MVP is not going anywhere, Rodgers has not been quiet about his issues with the organization.
Rodgers’ request to be traded became public in late April. At that point, the future first ballot Hall of Famer thought he was headed home to the San Francisco 49ers.
Fast forward several weeks, and it’s rather clear Rodgers and his Packers are at an impasse. San Francisco selected Trey Lance with the third pick of the draft. Meanwhile, Green Bay’s brass has continued to push back against the idea of trading him to the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders or any other team that has shown interest.
Now comes this piece of information from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (h/t Bleacher Report) noting that some around the NFL have issues with the way Rodgers is handling the situation.
“It’s definitely legit, and there’s an uneasiness felt by not only fans in Green Bay and around the country but people around the league,” Fowler noted. “They’re sort of drawn to pick one side. Some think that Aaron Rodgers is being a little dramatic; others think that the spotlight should be placed on the way Green Bay does business and maybe they’re putting the brand name above the player.”
It’s an interesting dynamic to examine, especially after the following comments from Packers president Mark Murphy.
“The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base Murphy said in a statement, via the Packers’ official website. “The emails and letters that I’ve received reflect this fact.”
Imagine that. A rift between one of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era and an embattled organization dividing the fan base. That’s never happened before.
Some people close to the situation believe Rodgers will be back with the Packers in 2021 after the two sides mend fences. However, what we’re hearing from the quarterback publicly seems to run contrary to this optimism.
“The people. That’s the most important thing: The people make an organization,” Rodgers said back in May. “People make the business. And sometimes that gets forgotten. Culture, the foundation of it, brick by brick, is built by the people. Not by the organization. Not by the building. Not by the corporation. It’s built by the people.”
When a player talks about culture, it’s rather clear that there are widespread issues. For Rodgers, this is as much about the Packers' unwillingness to keep their championship window open while sacrificing potential long-term success. The decision to trade up for Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft added another layer to that.
Whether taking his grievances to the public is a good idea remains to be seen. Old-school football guys will not support this as evidenced by recent comments from longtime former Packers general manager Ron Wolf pretty much calling Rodgers and other quarterbacks who have requested trades “divas.”
For now, Rodgers remains away from Green Bay’s offseason program. There’s very little reason to believe that he will return for mandatory minicamp later this week. From there, it’s anyone’s best guess what might happen. These are certainly interesting times with the Packers right now.