At least there is now some semblance on clarity on exactly what Aaron Rodgers wants from the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately for him, he is not likely to get it.
A report from Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson early on Saturday morning contains explosive information out of Rodgers’ camp. In short, Rodgers wants nothing less than the removal of Brian Gutekunst as general manager and a contract extension to convince him to return to the team.
Robinson’s source says that “the ball is in Mark’s court,” referring to Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy.
The personal grudge that appears to have developed for Rodgers centers, predictably, around the Packers’ decision to trade up for Jordan Love in the first round of last year’s NFL Draft. That decision was made in the heat of the moment and just this week Gutekunst acknowledged that the team should have communicated the plan of the selection better to Rodgers, his most public admission yet that the team mishandled the execution of that pick.
The source also indicates that Rodgers “presented the Packers with an opportunity” to give him a contract extension this offseason after his MVP campaign, but that the team rebuffed him, preferring instead to restructure his deal. This report conflicts somewhat with reports from Adam Schefter of ESPN, which indicated that the team did offer a true extension to the quarterback in the months since the season drew to a close.
So far, the Packers have shown no indication that they are willing to move on from Gutekunst to capitulate to Rodgers’ demands. Gutekunst remains at the helm of the franchise throughout this weekend’s NFL Draft, and he said Friday night that the personnel department had not spoken to Rodgers that day with their focus on night two of the event. Certainly, nothing will change with either side over the next few days, as day three of the draft kicks off at 12 Noon Eastern, to be followed by the undrafted free agent signing period and rookie minicamp in the coming days.
From a financial perspective, the team could not move Rodgers before June 1st even if they wanted to, though that deadline and the salary cap implications that come along with it free up flexibility to do so afterwards. During that intervening time, Rodgers could refuse to report for offseason workouts and OTAs, sacrificing his workout bonus to make his point, which could be followed by fines if he chooses to skip mandatory minicamp in June.
For now, the Packers appear set to soldier on with Rodgers on the roster, letting him make the next move.