This is the worst-case scenario for the Green Bay Packers. Your Hall of Fame, Super Bowl-winning quarterback went into last year’s draft wanting weapons and the missing piece to win another Super Bowl. Instead, they traded up to take a backup quarterback and backup running back.
Aaron Rodgers was coming off an above-average but not amazing 2019 season. But no one saw Green Bay trading up in the first round for a quarterback. Fans were excited to see the trade up, but the reveal was baffling. It’s not just that they traded up to pick a quarterback; it’s also that they didn’t let him know.
And now, even after another trip to the NFC Championship game, the Packers have a PR nightmare on Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Aaron Rodgers is now saying he doesn’t want to return to the team.
Dropped on Draft Day
There has never been a player who has been traded after winning an MVP Award. This year might be the first time that happens, and it seems unreal that it’s even possible. You could tell he was upset from time to time, but nothing could have prepared people for Rodgers stating he doesn’t want to be a Packer anymore. He just guest-hosted Jeopardy! and was riding the high on some amazing attention. He recently got engaged and was moving on to the next steps of his life. He seemed happy, healthy, and on top of his game. Packers fans couldn’t be happier.
Having news like this come out on draft day was unthinkable a few weeks ago. Just this morning Packers fans were only focused on who their first-round draft pick would be. Now everyone will have to sit through the draft as an afterthought. The entire focus until Week 1 of the 2021 season is going to be: “Who will be the Packers quarterback?” And if it’s Aaron Rodgers, and he truly feels this way, will fans ever be truly comfortable with him again? Is the relationship changed forever? We will have to wait for more information and for him to speak. It could honestly just be about money, and if that is the case, what are the Packers waiting for?
The Packers Can Only Blame Themselves
Sure, the Packers didn’t have to tell Rodgers they were picking a quarterback. Your players don’t determine who you draft and develop. But Aaron is your franchise quarterback and has earned that respect. After going through everything with Brett Favre and that nightmare, how could you possibly let history repeat itself?
Rodgers wanted a weapon. You then trade up for a quarterback. How did they think this was going to end? And how does this end now? Rodgers gets traded? Jordan Love gets traded? Management changes? The latter isn’t likely, since Green Bay doesn’t have any true owner. And trading Rodgers might not even be an option.
Rodgers has said subtle things, but you never really saw any true anger. He was just expressing his frustration. And then he went out and played like an MVP and scored 50 touchdowns. Then, once again, his defense let him down in an NFC Championship game, and his running back coughed up two fumbles. Who wouldn’t be frustrated? Everything that happened from that moment on this offseason didn’t seem to be in Rodgers’ best interest.
It’s been reported that Mark Murphy, Brian Gutekunst, and Matt LaFleur all visited Rodgers during the offseason. So this might be new to many people, but it’s not new to the Packers organization. They apparently also offered him an extension, but no officials details have been released yet.
You don’t trade up and draft a quarterback when you have an Aaron Rodgers without eventual consequences. It just appears those consequences are coming due sooner than later. Now it’s up to them to fix it — but will they be able to?