Aaron Rodgers’ current split from the Green Bay Packers didn’t receive much clarity on Monday night when the reigning quarterback and MVP appeared in an interview with Kenny Mayne on SportsCenter.
However, it depends on how you perceive his comments.
On the one hand, Rodgers opened for the first time in the offseason with the chance to end any guesswork that has been voiced over the past month. On the other hand, his comments, if any, have added more fuel to the idea that his relationship with the management team is beyond the point of repair.
While some hoped for more clarity, others simply hoped Rodgers would refute the idea that he had requested a trade when invited. He did nothing like that.
And there’s more than enough reason to believe that the Packers’ organizational structure and “philosophy” – as Rodgers put it – is the catalyst for the disconnect. Rodgers made sure he was in love with his teammates, coaches and even Jordan Love, the team’s 26th overall pick last spring, who many have named the cause of the Rodgers turmoil.
“It was never about a draft pick – picking Jordan,” said Rodgers. “I love Jordan. He’s a great kid. It’s a lot of fun to work together. I love the coaching staff, I love my teammates, I love the fan base here in Green Bay; amazing 16 years old. It’s just kind of a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it’s the people who make it work. It’s a question of character, it’s a question of culture, it’s doing things the right way. “
Reiterating his earlier feelings, Rodgers feels like the Packers were ready for a clean separation from him and a transition from power to Love. However, in a season when Rodgers turned 37, he won the league MVP award and guided the Packers to a second straight NFC Championship game, throwing “the key” into the front office plans.
Clearly, the philosophy that Rodgers thinks the team’s front office has lost touch with is the fundamental understanding of those at the bottom of the hierarchy. A mindset that sees players like Rodgers as throwaway entities – and it’s easy for him to think that way with what the team likely believe to be his current-roster successor.
If this really is the root of Rodgers’ annoyance, a resolution is unlikely to be reached financially. Rodgers continued the Packers’ long-term safety until his 40-year season and they presented him with a new deal amid ongoing conversations, however, it is unclear what the terms of the offers were.
“People make the organization. People do business, ”Rodgers said. “Sometimes this is forgotten. Culture is being built brick by brick, the basis of it by the people. Neither by the organization, nor by the building, nor by the company. It is built by people.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a number of amazing and amazing people and I’ve worked with a number of amazing people as well. And it is these people who build the foundations of these entities.
Rodgers, a regular participant in voluntary OTAs throughout his career, skipped it early Monday. Once the mandatory minicamp begins next month, June 8, Rodgers will begin to be fined if he is not present and those fines will increase daily over a three-day period.
In the meantime, the Packers will likely get their first look at Love, who hasn’t had the luxury of the traditional offseason or preseason reps to show why they moved for them last April. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Love has been inactive for all 16 regular season games as well as both of the Packers’ playoff contests. Without Rodgers, he could very well requisition the offense as a starter.
That’s unless the Packers like what they see from Blake Bortles – signed earlier this month – or Kurt Benkert, signed last week after a promising try at the rookie minicamp.
If anything was clarified on Monday night when eyes across the country tapped into ESPN just to anxiously await Rodgers’ comments, it’s that those who work closely with him – teammates, coaches – are on the line. shelter from his indignation.
Team CEO Mark Murphy and GM Brian Gutekunst, on the other hand, don’t seem to have the same luxury.