When Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers reportedly secured a verbal promise from the team last July that he’d be traded in 2022 if that’s what he wanted, we pointed out that the commitment isn’t worth the paper it isn’t printed on.
And here we are. With Rodgers believed (as PFT and others have reported) that the Packers will trade him if he asks to be dealt, G.M. Brian Gutekunst told reporters on Wednesday that no such promise has been made. At least not by him.
“That was not something I told him,” Gutekunst said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “Again, I think the whole conversation with Aaron last season before he came back was that, regardless, at the end of this past season, that we would sit down as a group and we would work it out one way or another.”
And that’s why verbal promises are worthless. One side can emerge from the conversations thinking one thing, and the other side can emerge from the discussions thinking something else.
Rodgers shouldn’t be surprised, if the Packers end up not honoring what he believed their word to be. Last year, he thought they’d promised to trade him — and they ultimately refused to do so.
Gutekunst possibly is engaged in semantics, contending that the promise never was made directly by him when it possibly was made by someone else. Given the feelings Rodgers had for Gutekunst at the time, perhaps the promise was made by someone else, such as team CEO Mark Murphy.
Regardless, it’s a dangerous game for the Packers to play. With signs emerging that Rodgers may be warming to the idea of sticking around for one more year, a perception/reality that the team is reneging on its promise could blow everything up.
A cynic would suggest that perhaps Gutekunst wants to blow everything up, alienating Rodgers at a time when he seems to be willing to work things out. Ripping off the Band-Aid now instead of a year from now. Going a long way toward getting out of salary-cap hell by dumping millions through a Rodgers trade — or by pushing him into retirement, avoiding any worries that he’d win a Super Bowl with a new team.
Regardless, the Gutekunst comments are jarring. Rodgers may describe them with stronger language than that.