To really no one’s surprise, Aaron Rodgers is not expected to be in attendance for the beginning of the Green Bay Packers’ mandatory training camps, which start June 8th. While this decision certainly holds short-term financial repercussions for the 2020 NFL Most Valuable Player, there are much more important impacts (Jordan Love’s future) that can cause long-term issues for both parties.
For Rodgers, he has seemingly been in the public eye ever since Adam Schefter’s infamous tweet on draft day about the behind-the-scenes turmoil between the star quarterback and his organization. Fueling rumors of a trade out west to an AFC West team, this offseason certainly has included many more headlines than anyone inside Green Bay has wanted.
The league’s lone publicly-owned franchise has been going through the ringer this offseason, and things certainly do not look to be improving anytime soon – see what his lack of attendance means for the Packers, now and in the future.
Wide Receiver crew gets to experience life post-Rodgers
The top five members of Green Bay’s wide receiver core – Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Devin Funchess, and Equanimeous St. Brown – were all missing from the optional offseason camps, potentially showing how that positional group truly feels about the ongoing situation. While no for-sure confirmation on why they all missed has been provided, reports have begun to circle in on their attendance for the start of the mandatory session.
Ian Rappoport reported that all missing wideouts will be in attendance, including Adams, who is heading into the final season of his current contract and will be looking for a new deal that will likely reset the WR market.
Having all WRs attend camp certainly will help take away one big issue that could have plagued the team, especially since they need to eliminate as many off-field obstacles as possible.
Getting the top options on the field and in drills with backups Jordan Love and Blake Bortles will help create some synergy between both parties, especially with Bortles having just signed this offseason and Love not having taken any regular-season snaps last year.
Finally get to see how well Brian Gutekunst is liked in Green Bay
Reports of potential rifts involving members of the front office, including general manager Brian Gutekunst, made their ways through the air and TV waves this offseason. Even with the quelling of those headlines by Rodgers, there certainly is a bit of uncertainty surrounding the future of the group that has helped assemble the current roster.
In his monthly column that he answers questions of fans in, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy praised the moves of Gutekunst, while not focusing his attention on how Gutekunst has been tasked with managing the ongoing situation with Rodgers. In the next question and somewhat unsolicited, Murphy directly says that the ongoing situation with Rodgers has ‘divided our fan base.’
Gutekunst was a bit of a surprising choice to take over for the late Ted Thompson in the GM chair in 2018, but was an in-house option who had spent his time filling the roles of scout and executive assistant since 1998. All that he has done is helped (so far) keep this team together while making two consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances, and his handling of most roster decisions up to this point have helped them stay at or near the top of the NFC North division.
Sides may need to be taken for this situation to be resolved, but Murphy looks to have his heels dug in with his public support of Gutekunst – while he also has supported Rodgers and has said he wants the MVP to remain in Green Bay, it will be interesting to see who wins out.
Prove It or Lose It time for Jordan Love
The player thought to originally have been at the forefront of this ongoing situation, Love has taken the role of being an unfortunate victim through everything. While moving up in the first round last year to take the Utah State product should be seen as proactive planning for the future, the reports of Rodgers not being queued into that decision surely should not put the disappointment on Love.
What has been telling up to this point is how A) Love was not even active for one regular-season game last year and B) how the support in comments made to the media by Gutekunst, LaFleur, and Murphy have seemingly shifted as the offseason has progressed.
Going from admitting that Love needs a bunch more grooming before he is ready to the front office being confident in what Love’s development is an interesting approach. Thoughts by a team’s front office to waver that much within the span of a few months is likely nothing more than just some simple pandering to help keep Love on his toes while showing that the front office is not content with anything, but it also helps demonstrate how important Rodgers is to this team.
Bringing Bortles into camp should be seen as nothing more than a stop-gap solution if Rodgers does end up suiting up for a different team this season. Love is this team’s future, and he may have no choice in also being this team’s present, so he must be acclimated to the in’s and out’s of being a starting QB as soon as possible.
He is not at the level or caliber of being a starting QB yet, but with the kind of coaching staff and team he is surrounded with, plus his intangibles and what got him drafted where he was last year, he can eventually ascend into that role.
What has happened between Rodgers and the Packers this offseason will eventually come to a head – whether that results in him remaining in Green Bay or going elsewhere is the question that likely will not be solved anytime soon.