By this point, most Green Bay Packers fans have already made up their minds on Aaron Rodgers‘ holdout — both what they think will happen and what they want to happen. One group believes he will absolutely cave in and show up for training camp. Another faction believes he will keep on grudgin’. Then there’s a whole contingent of people sick of the “diva act” who want him gone, regardless.
Then another bombshell dropped on Tuesday.
How does this change perceptions of what comes next?
What’s fascinating here is that Rodgers has now exhausted almost every angle imaginable regarding the source of his discontent with the Packers’ front office. On Kenny Mayne’s final SportsCenter in May, Rodgers said this:
“With my situation, look it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers told Mayne. “I love Jordan; he’s a great kid. [We’ve had] a lot of fun to work together. Love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fanbase in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years. It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go. It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.”
Whether people want to take Rodgers’ statement at face value or not, he said point-blank it wasn’t about Jordan Love being drafted. The next obvious assumption was that it was more about some combination of money and long-term security that he would be in Green Bay for the duration of his career. This reported extension would’ve offered all that and then some. At age 37, Rodgers could’ve been the highest-paid player in the entire NFL and been in Green Bay through his age-42 season. But he declined it.
One of the only possibilities that remain, since it apparently isn’t about the money or the security, and it isn’t the Love pick, is simply that Rodgers does not see eye-to-eye with Brian Gutekunst. Of course, this has been well documented throughout the offseason. The key difference now is that most people assumed it was a combination of things that included not being on the same page with Gutekunst. This latest report suggests the possibility that it’s an unfixable personality conflict.
Had Rodgers accepted the extension, there isn’t a doubt in the world that Green Bay would’ve found a trade partner for Jordan Love. A first-round pick at quarterback — or any position for that matter — isn’t going to sit around as a backup for six years before getting their first look. It’s just not realistic. Instead, Green Bay could be looking down the barrel of starting Love a year earlier than they wanted.
This isn’t meant to incite more fear or angst about the Rodgers situation, but there is definitely more reason now to wonder if he will show up on July 28 for minicamp.
Tuesday’s report was old news in a sense. It was just further confirmation of reports from earlier this offseason that Rodgers spurned extension talks. What’s new is the specific details that it would’ve kept him in Green Bay for five more years and paid him more than any player in the league.
It had almost gotten to a point where no Rodgers news was good news. If there were no new reports, nothing to speculate on, perfect. Packers fans had come to accept that July 28 would be the big day to see if the reigning MVP would show up. The hope had been to just get there without any hiccups since it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Rodgers wasn’t going to say anything before that.
While this remains the case, Tuesday’s report can’t make those who want Rodgers back feel great.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to picture Rodgers showing up all smiles on July 28 and playing out the season with Green Bay. If he does, why turn down the extension? While this would be fairly unprecedented, is it possible the Packers and Rodgers could work out a handshake agreement that he comes back for this year and then gets traded after the season?
It could be super awkward and fractious in the locker room, but it’s becoming more clear that No. 12 doesn’t want to spend the remainder of his career at Lambeau Field. Even if it’s not about the money, he had the assurance of retiring in green and gold on the table. Now that he’s declined it, how on earth can anyone talk themselves into picturing him staying put in 2021 and beyond?
July 28 is a day to mark on the calendar, no doubt about it. But even if Rodgers does show up, it won’t answer every question. Not even close.