The saga of Aaron Rodgers’ discontent with the Green Bay Packers took another turn on Monday afternoon. The reigning NFL MVP remains unhappy with his employers, according to new reports, but the two sides are at least on speaking terms even if they are not close to getting Rodgers back into the fold just yet.
On Monday afternoon, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on that network that the two sides have been talking over the past few weeks. Rapoport says that the Packers have offered Rodgers a “significant, long-term contract extension,” which would seemingly address one of Rodgers’ primary concerns — his future as the team’s starting quarterback.
General manager Brian Gutekunst and team president Mark Murphy both have stated publicly that their goal is for Rodgers to be the Packers’ starting quarterback moving forward, using phrases like “for the foreseeable future” and “in 2021 and beyond.” Knowing the length and structure of a proposed extension would provide much more clarity to what those comments actually mean and what time frame the Packers’ brass actually sees for Rodgers.
Rapoport further noted that “the two sides have been negotiating — it’s not like they’ve been talking to themselves.” That’s a positive sign that at least Rodgers and his camp have not fully shut the door on a return to the Packers, which was the implication of the report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that broke on the first day of the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead, Rapoport says that “there certainly has been some engagement from Rodgers’ side.”
Indeed, the fact that Rodgers’ camp is engaged seems like a step forward — a small one, at least. Last week, Rapoport’s colleague Mike Garafolo reported that after the season Rodgers told some free agent players that “I’m probably not going to be here (in Green Bay).” Rapoport reiterated and reframed that report Monday, saying that “Rodgers has talked to several different players about joining him somewhere else,” though he noted that the Packers still publicly state that they will not trade him. In terms of a timeline, those conversations with free agents would have taken place prior to the start of the league year in mid-March, and the fact that Rodgers and the Packers are still talking is a positive sign.
One other notable nugget from Rapoport is that the Packers “have done a lot of different things to try to make Aaron Rodgers happy.” Although Rapoport provided no details beyond that of the contract offer, one possibility is giving Rodgers clearer lines of communication on personnel moves — after all, that appears to be one of his biggest sticking points with the organization, and Gutekunst even acknowledged he made mistakes in that area regarding the Jordan Love pick.
Meanwhile, Packers players continue to take questions about the situation from the media. In an interview with Colin Cowherd of FOX Sports Monday, wide receiver Davante Adams said that he has spoken to Rodgers, noting that “a lot is still being figured out on his end.” Evidently Adams understands the frustrations Rodgers has expressed about the team, noting that he is “100% behind” his quarterback and that “a few things need to get ironed out.” However, he expressed confidence that the two sides would be able to come to an amicable arrangement: “hopefully I’ll be back on the show and we’ll be celebrating.”
Any indication that the two sites are still talking is better than the situation that Adam Schefter of ESPN described before day one of the 2021 NFL Draft, when he suggested that Rodgers was dead-set against returning to the team. Schefter has since pulled back from that reporting somewhat, though his explanation that it was based on “an accumulation of information” conflicts with his original report, which explicitly said that league and team sources communicated the information that day.
Ultimately, the Packers and Rodgers still appear to have a long way to go before coming to a reconciliation. Talking about the situation is the first step, however, and it is a positive sign that the two sides are doing so.