The public dance continues between the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
On Saturday, the Packers posted a Q&A with CEO Mark Murphy. The article begins with a preamble far more significant than any answer to any question Murphy ever has given.
“The first day of the NFL Draft is typically a very busy day for all NFL teams, with plenty of newsworthy events,” Murphy writes. “For the Packers, though, Thursday was definitely a day filled with more intrigue than usual. The day started with the report that Aaron Rodgers is upset with the Packers and doesn’t want to return to the team. When a report like that involves the reigning MVP, it is obviously a huge story, and it dominated the sports news for most of the day.”
Technically, the day started with a report that the Packers declined an opportunity to trade Rodgers to the 49ers. It went downhill from there. More significantly, Murphy’s comments do nothing to refute the notion that Rodgers isn’t happy. Instead, Murphy confirms that there is an “issue,” that there are “concerns.”
“This is an issue that we have been working on for several months,” Murphy says. “Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur and I have flown out on a number of occasions to meet with Aaron. We are very much aware of Aaron’s concerns and have been working with him (and his agent Dave Dunn) to resolve them. We remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond. He is not only a tremendously talented player, but has developed into a true leader for us. The relationship that Aaron has forged with Matt and the other offensive coaches has propelled us to the brink of the Super Bowl in two straight years. We look forward to competing for another Super Bowl championship with Aaron as our leader.”
Murphy can say that the team is committed to Rodgers beyond 2021, but his contract makes it clear that it’s a year-to-year commitment. With a manageable cap charge that would arise next year if the Packers trade Rodgers, they have the flexibility to decide after the coming season to flip to 2020 first-round selection Jordan Love.
That continues to be the crux of the current situation. Rodgers wants to be tied to the team for two or three years. The Packers don’t want to surrender their ability to change their minds after 2021. Rodgers trying to force them to truly commit beyond 2021 or move on.
The fact that the Packers have made multiple trips to see Rodgers shows that it’s definitely a big deal. The fact that those trips haven’t solved anything underscores that it’s a big deal. It will continue to be a big deal unless and until the Packers sign Rodgers to a new contract that creates two or three years of certainty — or until the Packers trade Rodgers.