When Gantt interpreted the tea leaves last week to suggest that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers believes the team has thrown a little fermunda cheese in his coffee, some thought we were gratuitously exaggerating the situation. It’s becoming clear that we weren’t.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports that Rodgers has grown “frustrated” and “emotional” with the organization in connection with some critical moves that have been made this offseason, including the decision to replace quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt and the release of receiver Jordy Nelson.
“Both of those decisions were made without him,” an unnamed source close to Rodgers told Robinson. “In both situations, he had no influence with [the front office] before anything went down.”
The source has tried to connect Rodgers’ frustrations to his lingering contract extension.
“I know he’s thinking about that stuff when it comes to the next contract because he should have earned a voice by now,” the source said. “In other places with [elite] quarterbacks, consideration is given to those guys. I think Aaron wants to be engaged in some decisions. But that’s just not the way it works [in Green Bay]. I think that’s obviously frustrating and it’s going to keep coming out.”
All due respect to Rodgers, that’s not the way it works anywhere. Tom Brady doesn’t have a voice in personnel matters in New England. Peyton Manning didn’t have a say in personnel matters in Denver or in Indianapolis. Did Drew Brees get a vote when the Saints traded Jimmy Graham and Brandin Cooks? Most likely, no.
Of course, there’s a difference between giving a quarterback a vote and giving him a head’s up. Rodgers should be getting his information about decisions that affect him not from Twitter or a phone alert but from coach Mike McCarthy, G.M. Brian Gutekunst, or CEO Mark Murphy. If he’s not, that’s a problem.
But even if Rodgers, whose reputation for being sensitive includes being sensitive about being sensitive, has a stick stuck in a spot where sticks don’t normally go over not being given advance notice about Van Pelt and Nelson, what does that have to do with Rodgers’ contract? Will it make him want a McNabb-style financial apology?
His contract, signed by Rodgers in 2013, runs through 2019. After that, the Packers could easily tag him twice. After that, he’d be 38.
Does Rodgers deserve to be north of $30 million per year right now? Given contracts given to less quarterbacks, absolutely. Is there anything Rodgers can do to force the issue short of retiring prematurely? Nope.
As it stands, he’ll get $20.3 million this year (assuming sufficient participation in the offseason program), $20.5 million next year (again, assuming sufficient participation in the offseason program), at least $25.32 million in 2020 under the tag, and at least $30.38 million in 2021 under the tag. That’s a four-year, year-to-year proposition for the Packers, at a total cost of $96.5 million. It equates to an average of $24.125 million. So why would the Packers voluntarily jack that number up to an average of $30 million or more per year, with all four years (or at least three) fully guaranteed?
Throw in the fact that Rodgers suddenly misunderstands his role, and the Packers could become even less likely to commit gigantic money to a guy who won’t be feeling any less entitled to have a say in the team’s moves once he’s due to receive $90 million or more fully guaranteed.
If Rodgers doesn’t like any of this, he has an option. He can retire.
And then maybe he can suddenly unretire after the team has a replacement ready to go, forcing a trade to the Jets before getting cut there after a season and signing with the Vikings. Hypothetically, of course.