In July 2021, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers came close to retiring. He ultimately decided to keep playing, but he also aired grievances in a lengthy press conference that included frank complaints about the failure of the front office to listen to him.
The front office promptly listened to Rodgers by bringing back receiver Randall Cobb. Since they, the front office hasn’t done much to help the franchise’s franchise quarterback. They have, however, managed to make him think they’re trying — even if they aren’t really trying.
From potentially signing Odell Beckham Jr. to potentially extending Davante Adams before he decided to try to get traded to the Raiders to potentially trading for Chase Claypool or whoever, the Packers have gone through the motions but they’ve failed to seal the deal. On Wednesday, Rodgers was asked about the failure of the team to accomplish a trade before the 2022 deadline.
“My hopes are always up in life,” Rodgers said. “I’m an optimist. And obviously the compensation for whatever players we were going after just didn’t make sense. So I trust [G.M.] Brian [Gutekunst.] We had some good conversations. I know that we were in on some things, and it obviously just didn’t pan out.”
Rodgers seems fine with the effort, and with the notion that Gutekunst made a real attempt to make a deal happen. Neutral observers may disagree. They (I) may think that the Packers had no real desire to make a deal, but that they managed to make Rodgers think they did.
Rodgers was also asked about the ability of teams like the 7-0 Packers and 6-1 Vikings to make trades, when the 3-5 Packers didn’t.
“Well, with all due respect to those teams, we’re chasing some other teams right now,” Rodgers said. “We’ve got to get back in the hunt. Those teams are out front right now. So I’m worried about our guys that we’ve got in the locker room. . . . Like I said, I know we were in on some guys, and liked a few. But it just didn’t work out.”
Although the reporters tried to get Rodgers to complain about the inability of the front office to make something happen, Rodgers didn’t take the bait when the topic came up again.
“That’s not my area of focus,” Rodgers said. “So Brian didn’t think that whatever was out there was worth whatever was required giving up. So that just sends a message to us that we’ve got to play with the guys we’ve got, and win with the guys we’ve got.”
Rodgers, showing his self-described optimism, pointed out that, even though the Packers weren’t buyers at the deadline, they also weren’t sellers.
“We didn’t subtract, either,” he said. “I think that’s a really important point to make. So obviously the organization . . . believes that we have the right guys in place to win. There’s no tanking, there’s no rebuild. This is the team that is expected to get the job done.”
No one expected the Packers to tank or rebuild. They were expected to make moves to make the team better.
As explained earlier today, they never do. From Ron Wolf to Ted Thompson to Gutekunst, the approach has been draft and develop, draft and develop, draft and develop. Without an owner to provide the front office a periodic kick in the ass, everyone seems to be playing it safe. Too safe. And far safer than Rodgers would like.
But he’s not complaining. They’ve done enough to convince him that they’re trying to make these deals. Even if they aren’t.