GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – The date was August 30, 2018 – the day after Aaron Rodgers signed a record $ 134 million contract renewal with the Green Bay Packers, who were running the 2023 season. That day was largely solemn for the quarterback and the team, save for one ominous remark:
“I don’t think this guarantees anything other than maybe the first three years of the deal,” Rodgers said.
Three years later, Rodgers and the packers have reached this point.
And neither side is in a good place.
Rodgers is so upset with the team as ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported and has been confirmed by multiple media outlets. He has told some members of the organization that he will no longer play for the Packers. Part of it is that General Manager Brian Gutekunst not only designed quarterback Jordan Love in 2020 as a possible replacement for Rodgers – and acted for it in the first round – but also failed to communicate his plans with Rodgers beforehand.
Now, after one MVP season – the third of his career – the balance of power has seemingly shifted back to Rodgers, who said, “I want to go out there and prove I can, the day his renewal was announced.” am. ” I’m still an elite player in this league and when I do that I feel good. I have the option to end my career at Green Bay, but I’m definitely not arrogant in the mind that it would never happen to me. It happened [Brett Favre]it can happen to each of us. “
Here’s a look at the events from that point until now that have brought Rodgers and the Packers to the brink of separation:
April 18, 2019: The Packers welcomed Missouri quarterback Drew Lock, one of the top 2019 draft contestants, for a pre-draft visit. The news is surprising, even though Rodgers is 35 years old and aged Favre when the Packers designed Rodgers in 2005. Still, Rodgers had never done the waffle with favre / retirement and repeatedly expressed a desire to gamble well into his 40s.
Rodgers, however, has had a 2018 season in which he essentially announced that he was ready for a new coach (see his annihilation of Mike McCarthy’s misdemeanor after a Week 4 win against the Buffalo Bills last season and his disappointment via Alex Van Pelt was ousted as quarterbacks coach earlier this year).
August 6, 2019: The Packers finish training with the Houston Texans. It has been 14 years since they hosted another training camp practice team. Rodgers hates them and after the second session says, “I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t do it for 14 years.” Shortly before, coach Matt LaFleur had said in the first year: “I definitely want to do this 100% again.” Rodger’s contradiction bothers Gutekunst and others in the football department.
February 21, 2020: If the Lock visit was a ruse, then what Gutekunst said that day is pure honesty. The GM says he’s open to drafting a quarterback in the first round. In the same session with reporters, Gutekunst is asked if he was concerned about the impact such a choice would have on Rodgers.
“Aaron wants to win, and I think that’s the most important thing for him,” says Gutekunst. “He knows we’re trying to make the best decision for the football team. So I’m not worried about that, but I’m not – with all players – you can’t control it. The players get happy and sad about all sorts of things So I’m not too worried about that. “
April 23, 2020: Shortly after the Minnesota Vikings used the 22nd election to attract Justin Jefferson, a Receiver the packer desires and Rodgers liked, another recipient comes off the board at 26 when the San Francisco 49ers take Brandon Aiyuk. Then Gutekunst makes his move. He swaps his selection for the fourth round (No. 136 overall) for the Dolphins to move up from No. 30 and take over love at 26.
May 15, 2020: Rodgers held a nearly 40-minute conference call with reporters saying he was not “particularly excited about the election,” but added, “I see.” He also says that realizing his desire to start and finish his career with the same team “may not be a reality at this point”. He reiterates his hopes of playing his contract and maybe beyond, but admits, “I’m just not sure how it all works together at this point.”
September 3, 2020: Rodgers while an interview on SiriusXM NFL radiosays he feels good with his top 4 recipients: Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Jake Kumerow, whom Rodgers has raved about since the Packers signed him in 2017.
September 4, 2021: Gutekunst cuts Kumerow.
September 8, 2021: Kumerow signs the invoices with the training team.
November 1, 2021: Shortly before the close of trading, Rodgers is asked if they need help on the offensive (Gutekunst is said to have made the Texans an offer for the recipient Will Fuller V). “We’ve had a lot of conversations about these kinds of things over the years,” Rodgers said. “I really understand my role. I’m not going to do it [stump] for everyone, last time me [stumped] he ended up going to Buffalo for a player, so … “
January 20, 2021: Rodgers continues his c’est la vie approach throughout the season during NFC Championship Game Week when he calls his future a “beautiful secret”. It comes in response to whether, at the age of 37, Rodgers sees the game as the best last chance to hit a Super Bowl.
January 24, 2021: In the moments after losing to the Buccaneers in the NFC title game between 31 and 26, Rodgers questions his future at the Packers and says: “[The Packers have] The future of many boys is uncertain – myself included. “Rodgers never got the ball back and had a chance to win the game in the final minutes after LaFleur opted for a field goal to bring the deficit down to five at 2:09 instead of on the fourth and the goal of the 8 yard line to try.
Mike Tannenbaum says the Packers front office should be concerned about losing Davante Adams alongside Aaron Rodgers.
January 25, 2021: Packers President Mark Murphy said on WTAQ-WNFL radio in Green Bay when asked about Rodgers’ comments the day before, “I’m saying this, there’s no way Aaron won’t be with the Packers. I mean him will be the league’s MVP. He could have had his best year ever. He’s our undisputed leader and we’re not idiots. “
January 26, 2021: In an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers says, “I don’t think there’s a reason I wouldn’t be back,” emphasizing the word “think.” “But look, there aren’t many absolutes in this business. To make an absolute statement about something that isn’t absolute, I didn’t do it. And I think that’s why it kind of went crazy.”
February 1, 2021: Gutekunst is asked at a press conference at the end of the season if he feels he has to give Rodgers assurances about his future. “I don’t think I have to reassure him much because I think his game obviously speaks for itself,” says Gutekunst. “I’m going to say this: We are very excited not only for next year, but also for years to come. He’s playing at as high a level as he always has and I think this year has been a special team. It didn’t end like that. ” We wanted to finish but I think everyone is purely motivated to come back and I think like I said I don’t think we have to do anything. He’s our quarterback and he’s our leader. “
March 2, 2021: Gutekunst is vague when asked if restructuring Rodgers’ contract is an option. At this point, the Packers are still well above the salary cap and are restructuring several veteran deals at the end of the day.
March 20, 2021: The Packers are not converting Rodgers’ $ 6.8 million roster bonus into a signing bonus that would have given them immediate relief from the salary cap of more than $ 4.5 million. Instead, a source said the bonus was “vested as planned”. Rodgers has an automatic conversion clause in his contract, but it would still have required Rodgers’ signature to become official (which is why it is worth questioning why it is called an automatic conversion in the first place).
March 30, 2021: On the first public hint of serious brewing problems, Murphy has a chance to spread things, but doesn’t. Instead, he refuses to say why a contract restructuring never took place.
April 5, 2021: In what remains his last interview on the subject to this day, Rodgers reiterates on “The Pat McAfee Show” that nothing has changed in the year the Packers selected Love. “That’s why I used the phrase ‘nice secret’ because it’s pretty uncertain which way things will go,” says Rodgers. In the interview, Rodgers also mentions that he will be hosting the full-time hosting position on Jeopardy! after two weeks as an innkeeper.
April 19, 2021: The Packers’ offseason program begins with four weeks of virtual meetings and workouts, but Rodgers does not report for the volunteer session.
April 29, 2021: Just hours before NFL drafting begins, Schefter’s story is teased on NFL Live and posted on ESPN.com. Later that night, after picking cornerback Eric Stokes in the first round, Gutekunst said the Packers had no plans to deal with Rodgers and believe things can be sorted out. Gutekunst admits that he should have communicated better with Rodgers before settling on Love.
May 1, 2021: Murphy confirms the media coverage in his monthly column on the team website, writing, “This is an issue we’ve been working on for several months.” He says the packers are committed to Rodgers for “2021 and beyond.” Later that day, LaFleur also says he wants Rodgers back, but when asked what if Rodgers doesn’t want to return to the Packers, the trainer says, “Yeah, I know, and I can’t even use my brain to do it bring. ” this place now. “
May 3, 2021: 49ers trainer Kyle Shanahan, one of LaFleur’s mentors, continues “The Rich Iron Show” He called LaFleur the day after Schefter’s report to inquire about a deal. “The real truth is, the next day, Friday, I didn’t want to wake up and see how Aaron Rodgers, one of the top quarterbacks in the league, was doing without a careful scrutiny. So I just called Matt and asked asked if there was anything to it, and Matt told me I’d be wasting my time if we had it [GM John] Lynch calls. “
May 5, 2021: Favre said during an interview on ESPN Wisconsin Radio he didn’t see Rodgers “coming back and just saying,” Okay, let’s just bury the hatchet, “adding his gut tells him Rodgers would rather sit outside than play for them Packer if not traded. Later that day, former Packers full-back John Kuhn paints a more upbeat picture on CBS Radio when he says that “Aaron Rodgers is about 70, 75% of the starting quarterback for the Packers this year” .
May 10, 2021: All-Pro Receiver Adams said in an interview with Fox Sports Radio that his future with the Packers would “potentially” depend on how the Rodgers’ situation is resolved. Adams enters the final year of his contract.