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Cheese Curds, 5/4: Packers willing to extend Rodgers; draft picks’ connections abound

A few pairs of college teammates will reunite in Green Bay after this year’s draft.

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Georgia Tech v Boston College Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

It’s not the only frustration that Aaron Rodgers has with the Green Bay Packers, but it certainly sounds like the Packers are committed to bringing Rodgers back as their starting quarterback for the long term.

For the first time since the news broke about Rodgers’ displeasure on Thursday, general manager Brian Gutekunst has addressed head-on the contract situation and the team’s plans for Rodgers. He did so in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, making no bones about the fact that the Packers are willing to and want to give Rodgers a full-blown contract extension.

If they do that and give him true market value, that should allay any worries that Rodgers has about the team’s commitment to him as their quarterback for the next several years. A new deal of that sort would likely lock the Packers in with him under center for at least three more seasons, giving him the security that he seems to desperately want.

However, that is hardly the only issue with the relationship between the two sides, as Monday’s reporting indicates. The report about Jake Kumerow’s release being a last straw for Rodgers illustrates the frustration that has been building within Rodgers about his opinions not being heard — or perhaps more accurately not being considered — on issues involving team personnel. It does make some sense to listen to your Hall of Fame quarterback when a receiving corps is being evaluated; after all, few people will know those players better than the man throwing the football to them. But what’s done is done, and now it’s up to both sides to try to fix the relationship between now and August.

As for the draft itself, there are numerous connections to draw between the team and its 2021 draft picks. The potential continuity from one Ohio State center (Corey Linsley) to another in Josh Myers is among them, but there are far more tangible connections to draw and relationships to highlight. We’ll do that as well in today’s curds.

Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Aaron Rodgers and inside the biggest stories on NFL draft night - Sports Illustrated
The Bears' move for Fields is a headlining story here, but more important to Packers fans right now are Brian Gutekunst's comments about the Rodgers situation. Gutekunst said that the team is absolutely willing to give Rodgers a full extension at market value -- which would be a massive contract -- and he remains optimistic that the two sides can find common ground for Rodgers to return.

Packers connections provide foundations for Isaiah McDuffie, Kylin Hill | Packers.com
Both of the Packers' final two draft picks have college teammates on the roster. For McDuffie, it's running back AJ Dillon, who was a frequent combatant in practice. Meanwhile, Hill ran behind Elgton Jenkins for two seasons; he also played for QBs coach Luke Getsy for the latter's one year as offensive coordinator in Starkville.

'Really good fit': Tee Martin loves his son, Amari Rodgers, joining the Packers – The Athletic (subscription)
Rodgers' Packers connection is through a former player, Randall Cobb, who is both a family friend through Martin and a frequent comparison for the rookie.

Finding one big thing to love about each of the Packers’ 9 draft picks in 2021 | Packers Wire
From Eric Stokes' speed to Kylin Hill's tackle-breaking ability, there are things to like about every one of the newest Packers.

AI designed to distinguish between types of pastries identifies cancer cells with 99% accuracy - DUK News
Who knew that the skills to tell a croissant from a donut would also apply to cancer diagnoses?