NFL trade rumors have centered around Aaron Rodgers this offseason, even as the Green Bay Packers refuse to move him. Now, one of the team’s top insiders is making an ominous forecast for the outcome of this feud between a legendary quarterback and an iconic franchise.
Rodgers’ distrust with general manager Brian Gutekunst became an even bigger problem in 2020. The Packers drafted Jordan Love, putting a clock on Rodgers’ tenure in Green Bay and allowing the franchise to move on from him in 2022. While the All-Pro quarterback is used to betting on himself and playing with a chip on his shoulder, Gutekunst’s failure to communicate the draft plans increased the divide.
The nine-time Pro Bowl selection responded with one of the best seasons in his career. He set personal-bests in completion rate (70.7 percent), passing touchdowns (48) and led the NFL in passer rating (121.5). Seeking to finish his career in Green Bay, Rodgers approached the team about a contract extension. When they refused, he asked for a trade.
Both Gutekunst and team president Mark Murphy have declared their desire to keep the face of the franchise. The Packers have also made it known around the league that a blockbuster trade won’t even be discussed. But Rodgers is skipping minicamp, has plans for July and might stay away from Green Bay into the regular season.
Will Aaron Rodgers play for the Packers this season?
Whether or not Rodgers suits up for the Packers in 2021 is hotly debated. Some of his close friends hinted that a return is possible and recent speculation from league insiders expresses a similar sentiment. But some who cover the team aren’t as optimistic.
During an appearance on ESPN Chicago, Rob Demovsky said he doesn’t expect Aaron Rodgers to suit up for the Packers again, largely because of the rift between the reigning NFL MVP and the organization.
“Here’s what I don’t see, in terms of a resolution. I just don’t see him walking back into Lambeau Field and saying ‘Just kidding, guys. Let’s go win a championship.’ He’s too dug in, too stubborn, I just don’t see how you walk this back. The only way he walks it back is if he realizes or believes that public sentiment is against him and he cares about what fans think of him.”ESPN’s Rob Demovsky on whether or not Aaron Rodgers returns to the Green Bay Packers
There’s sound logic behind Demovsky’s assessment. Rodgers wanted a contract extension, seeking a deal that would ensure he is the starter through 2022 and can finish a storied career on his terms. After weeks of reluctance, the Packers have caved and offered a lucrative extension.
But this is about more than just a secured future and a salary that one of the best players of his generation is worth. Rodgers also wants a commitment from the front office to become more aggressive, following the win-now mentality that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have with Tom Brady. But even if Green Bay is willing to meet every demand, Gutekunst’s decision not to communicate with Rodgers about key roster moves could be what ends this relationship.
With that said, there’s also reason to believe things can be worked out. Green Bay doesn’t have to trade Rodgers and sitting out the 2021 season would cost him nearly $30 million, with some of that money paid back to the franchise. Not only that, the damage to his reputation would never be forgotten.
Rodgers wants to win a Super Bowl and outside of the Denver Broncos, no other team who can afford him offers a better shot at the Lombardi Trophy than the Packers. There will likely be more posturing from both sides this summer, but it would still be a bit surprising if Rodgers isn’t playing in Week 1.