As rumors swirling around an Aaron Rodgers trade, the Green Bay Packers are determined to let things play out and are hoping to avoid another ugly divorce with a legendary quarterback.
A year after the Packers drafted Jordan Love, a pick that received a ton of criticism, Green Bay finds itself in a familiar position. The franchise is facing a decision between a Hall of Fame quarterback and a young talent who the organization scouted and is developing as the heir to the throne.
But the Packers’ plans have been thrown for a loop by Rodgers. They drafted Love at a time when Rodgers seemed to be in decline, but he rebounded in 2020 and won his third NFL MVP award. When the franchise initially refused to offer him a long-term extension, a move that would essentially negate the Love pick, the 37-year-old quarterback asked for a trade.
While Rodgers is adamant about playing elsewhere in 2021, threatening to retire to become the full-time Jeopardy! host, it seems general manager Brian Gutekunst and CEO Mark Murphy are just as determined to keep him.
NBC Sports’ Peter King wrote that there will likely be no significant movement by either side in the coming weeks, with the Packers just as dug in as their franchise player. Not only is Green Bay still refusing to entertain trade calls, but it is also trying to find a proverbial olive branch to extend that might resolve the tension.
Influence of offseason schedule on rift between Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers
There’s never been a time in NFL history when the reigning MVP was traded that offseason. The Packers are trying to avoid the worst outcome in a difficult situation, but their leader and star player can certainly make things challenging in the weeks to come.
Rodgers doesn’t have to retire immediately, he can hold out from summer practices to try and create leverage. But thanks to the new NFL CBA, signed last year, it will come at a staggering cost.
- Mandatory minicamp (June 15-17): Green Bay Packer scan fine Rodgers $95,877 for missing the three-day session.
- Green Bay Packers training camp (July): There is a $50,000 mandatory fine for each day missed and it can’t be rescinded.
- Sitting out 2021 NFL preseason: Rodgers will be fined the equivalent of a game check ($816,000) for each game skipped
If he sits out the entire summer and Green Bay still won’t budge off its stance, then the ultimate decision comes. Rodgers can step away from the Packers, effectively retiring, but the franchise can demand he pay back more than $24 million of his signing bonus.
In the meantime, every practice or preseason game Rodgers misses means more opportunities for Love. The 2020 first-round pick didn’t see the field in his rookie season, with the NFL eliminating preseason games and Love serving as the No. 3 quarterback all year.
Ultimately, Rodgers might be better off playing out the 2021 season for the Green Bay Packers and making one last run at the Lombardi Trophy. Once the 2022 offseason arrives, he’ll be the top player on the trade market and Green Bay will be ready to move on.