The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are currently the favorites in the NFC North, according to Las Vegas. But both franchises are also currently in the middle of high-profile dilemmas involving a disgruntled superstar. Danielle Hunter is seeking a new contract, and there are rumors of bad influences in his ear. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers is doing his best Forgetting Sarah Marshall impression in Hawaii, while his teammates are going through OTAs and minicamp.
So if those same linemakers were to give you odds on which of these situations had a better chance to be resolved positively, who would be the favorite? Which team is in the better situation?
The Aaron Rodgers Situation
- Potential backup plan in place
- Former teammates saying that the relationship is “fixable”
- His sitting out allows Jordan Love to work with the starters
- Have a strong offensive line and run game to rely on
- The risk of losing last year’s MVP either to a holdout or trade
- Is willing to take on a fine to miss minicamp
- Bad look for the front office
- Rodgers has the leverage to hold out
- Many fans and teammates have Rodgers’ back
- Love hasn’t had a hot start
- Second-straight unsettled Hall of Fame QB
This whole Rodgers situation started the moment Love was drafted. Everybody involved with football seems to understand that. Alex Smith said that the front office has mistreated the Green Bay star and that Rodgers should have been in the loop. But to complicate things, a slew of former Packers have said the situation is fixable. James Jones has been one of the most recent players to echo that position.
“His No. 1 beef is a private conversation on the phone that I can’t share with you,” Jones said to Colin Cowherd.
PFT recently reported that Gutekunst isn’t the pressing issue for Rodgers. So, how will the Packers fix things? Certainly, Rodgers hasn’t been the one to try and solve things.
From an outsider’s perspective, it hasn’t gotten any better as time has gone on. The only thing that has changed is that the core issue is increasingly difficult to understand.
And how does all this conjecture from former teammates help? It doesn’t. No matter how many of Rodgers’ buddies say that the issue is this, not that, all it does is look bad for the front office. Sure, Rodgers is culpable in this fiasco, especially considering the rumors about his family dealings and his lack of interest in playing for Green Bay. But if Rodgers is willing to cut his family out for any reason, why wouldn’t he do the same to the Packers?
Obviously, only time will tell how this plays out. On the other hand, we should see a conclusion to the Hunter saga very soon.
The Danielle Hunter Situation
- Not a national story
- Vikings have the cap space to extend the contract, and he’s coming off an injury
- Has only missed optional OTAs
- Could be an agent issue, not a player issue
- Former teammates’ influences
- The Vikings lack DE depth and have no backup plan
- Last year showed how important he is to the team
- Joey Bosa is being paid almost double what Hunter is
- The risk of losing a star player who is entering his prime
The biggest difference between the two situations has to be the tension between the organization and the player. Rodgers has made it clear that he’s frustrated, while Hunter hasn’t been as outspoken.
It remains to be seen if Hunter will show up for mandatory minicamp, but one thing is for sure: His current contract is a bargain. Bosa’s average yearly salary ($27 million) is nearly double Hunter’s average ($15 million). Hunter’s contract, which looked like a slight overpay when he signed it, is now incredibly team-friendly and has led to a rift between the player and front office.
Bosa got paid this past offseason, two years into Hunter’s contract, and they have similar skill levels. Hunter is only a year older, and Hunter signed his contract before the value of edge rushers went to the moon.
That’s the only surface issue with Hunter. He wants more money. What gives this situation disaster potential is the injury. If the Vikings were to commit to Hunter on the level of a Joey Bosa, and he’s not able to return to his level of play, it could be an absolute salary-cap disaster. When compared to the slew of highly-coveted draft picks the Packers would get if they had to trade Aaron Rodgers, the Hunter situation would look far worse.
So would you rather bet on health and the team doctors? Or on your young QB-in-waiting, and the regret factor of letting an all-time great go?
I think it’s clear, though, which is easier to deal with from a team’s perspective.
For me personally, I’m going with the contract and injury situation. Rodgers is 37 and showed signs of decline before his MVP season last year. In addition, he has shown he is willing to break away from the team he was loyal to for 13 seasons. It’s a complicated mess that appears to be more than a contract dispute. Conversely, an extension could alleviate all of Hunter’s woes as long as, cross your fingers, he stays healthy.