The NFL world was buzzing Thursday afternoon when news broke that Aaron Rodgers was “disgruntled” with the Packers. So much so that he told the team he didn’t plan on returning. Now just 24 hours later, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport, Aaron Rodgers is strongly considering retirement.
In just one day, the Packers organization has been turned completely upside-down. Reports say they’ve sent team president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst, and head coach Matt LaFleur on separate trips to meet with Rodgers to play peacemaker. Obviously, whatever they’re telling Rodgers isn’t working. Given all the leaked information, here’s what we know. Rodgers isn’t happy with the Packers, he has preferred trade destinations, and if the Packers don’t bend to his wishes, he’s not opposed to retiring.
With that being said, it’s utterly absurd that the Packers let the relationship get this bad. For the last few years, Aaron Rodgers has made it clear he wants to be treated differently. And for the last few years, the Packers have told him to stick to being a quarterback. In a world where teams embrace and build around their established star players, the Packers have done the opposite. I am not from Wisconsin, nor am I a Packers fan, but nonetheless, I have a message for the Packers.
Dear Green Bay Packers…
Aaron Rodgers is the most talented quarterback you’ve had in your 102 years as a franchise. He’s a 3x MVP, a Super Bowl MVP, and has the third-highest NFL passer rating in league history. If he retired today, he’d be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, yet you’ve only been to one Super Bowl since drafting him. Why is that you may be wondering? Because you as an organization have failed to properly build a team around Aaron Rodgers.
Since 2010, you’ve had five defenses ranked in the bottom 18, but only two in the top ten. The last time you drafted a first-round offensive player was in 2005. Fun fact, that player was Aaron Rodgers. For years a part of your culture was refusing to participate in free agency. In other words, you willingly let talented players go elsewhere in exchange for your own ‘home-grown talent.’
You kept Mike McCarthy far longer than you should have. Jordy Nelson, Rodgers’s best friend, was unceremoniously cut without warning. You randomly fired Aaron Rodgers QB coach without so much as a call. And to put the icing on the cake, you traded up to draft Jordan Love, aka, Rodgers replacement. Is it really a shock that he’s reached his boiling point?
The situation you’ve put yourself in should’ve never even reached this stage. No one should’ve needed to instruct your franchise to embrace and pamper the greatest quarterback in your team’s history. But since you’ve managed to mess it up, here’s how you (attempt to) fix it.
Repairing Your Relationship
Let Aaron Rodgers be involved in personnel decisions like the Buccaneers involve Tom Brady, or like the Chiefs involve Patrick Mahomes. Make an effort to participate in free agency, or, at least, use a high draft pick on an impactful offensive skill player. Stop relying on Rodgers to make everything work instead of just upgrading at the position. Change your old school thought process and mold it to today’s sports culture. And lastly, embrace the final years you have with Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers, now 37 years old, is not just one of your players; he’s the face of the Green Bay Packers franchise. With all due respect to Bart Starr and Brett Favre, they can’t touch Aaron Rodgers. Stop alienating your best player, and listen to what he’s been telling you for the last few years. It truly isn’t that hard.
Alternatively, you could always trade him away and show us all why you drafted Jordan Love. But something tells me that’s the last thing you want to do. As of right now, the ball is in your court Packers, Aaron Rodgers holds all the power here.