Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants out. The Packers aren’t prepared to make that happen.
G.M. Brian Gutekunst told reporters after the first round of the draft that the Packers will not be trading Rodgers. Gutekunst also said that he believes Rodgers will play for the Packers again.
That’s no surprise. The Packers want to keep Rodgers, especially after his MVP season in 2020. The question is whether and to what extent Rodgers will begin to publicly jostle for a trade — or for the kind of contract that ties player and team together for multiple years.
Although the issues extend beyond the status of Rodgers’ contract, it’s a symptom of the deeper issue. The Packers enjoy year-to-year flexibility with Rodgers. They’d like to keep it that way. Rodgers, via the various reports that coincidentally (or not) emerged in the hours prior to the start of the draft, wants something else. He wants clarity and certainty. He wants to know that he’s not potentially in his final season with the team, that any noticeable slippage could get the Packers to decide to trade Rodgers after 2021 and to hand the keys to the offense to Jordan Love.
It’s no surprise that the Packers, who chronically have treated Rodgers like an employee, intend to continue to do so. They can, and possibly will, take a “play for us or play for no one” position with Rodgers, forcing him to decide whether to become more aggressive about the situation with (possibly) a threatened or actual holdout or retirement.
The Packers could be banking on Rodgers continuing to deal in words that reflect ambiguity and passive-aggression. He loves to send messages through carefully-chosen comments, and then he gets pissy when reporters realize what he’s actually saying, and when they say so. That approach isn’t going to get him what he wants, if as reported he wants out.
If he wants out, he needs to say something more than “my future is a beautiful mystery” or whatever else he has said in a vague way before acting like he didn’t drop a proverbial (or literal) turd in the punch bowl. Put simply, he needs to become as clear and direct about his objectives for his future football career as he’s been about his objectives for his potential career as the host of Jeopardy!
He hasn’t been afraid to say he wants that job. If he wants out of Green Bay, the time has come for him to say so.