When Brett Favre made his questionable departure from the Green Bay Packers over a decade ago, the Cheesehead faithful were hoping this was simply a once-in-a-lifetime event, and that Aaron Rodgers was going to be the prototypical star quarterback to lead their team to much success.
Apparently, history loves to repeat itself, much to the chagrin of Packers fans.
This offseason has finally shed light on the Rodgers-Packers situation. Both sides have commented on what has caused the fallout. With Rodgers, who could potentially be on his way out this offseason, it is worth connecting the dots to see how things developed.
With Green Bay trying to make amends and welcome back its sure-fire Hall of Fame signal-caller, here are the events that caused this ongoing situation.
Packers look into potential Aaron Rodgers replacement
April 18, 2019
The 2019 NFL draft was the beginning of this situation. The Packers showed interest in then-Missouri QB Drew Lock, hosting him for a pre-draft visit. Lock was seen as a first/second-round QB prospect, and while his time with the Denver Broncos has been subpar, the fact that the Packers were interested at all is what rubbed Rodgers the wrong way.
The timing of the team’s interest was peculiar, especially since Rodgers was the same age (35) that Favre was when they selected Rodgers in the first round. Rifts between Rodgers and then-head coach Mike McCarthy could have potentially led to this visit being carried out, showing the beginning of the power struggle that Rodgers won (McCarthy was fired after the team’s 12th game of the 2018 season).
Rodgers and LaFleur split on split training camp practices
August 6, 2019
While viewed as a small blip on the radar at the time, Rodgers and Green Bay leadership butted heads about hosting a joint training camp session with the Houston Texans.
“I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t do it for another 14 years,” Rodgers said on record after one of the sessions, a statement that was made after head coach Matt LaFleur said that he “absolutely, 100% [wants] to do this again.”
Gutekunst stands firm on building for the future
February 21, 2020
Having been interested in adding a QB in 2019, it came as no surprise that GM Brian Gutekunst went on record feeling the same way less than a year later, but his feelings on making Rodgers aware of that decision shows exactly why the star QB feels how he does.
“[Rodgers] knows we’re trying to make the best decision for the football team going forward,” Gutekunst said. “So I don’t worry about that, but I’m not — with all players — you can’t control that. Players get happy and sad about all kinds of things. So I’m not too concerned about that.”
Making sure a star player is happy can certainly make or break the team’s chemistry, and the strings certainly were unloosening after these comments by the team’s GM.
Failure to grab a WR ushers in Jordan Love
April 23, 2020
Having been interested in both Brandon Aiyuk and Justin Jefferson, first-round WRs who were selected before Green Bay was on the clock, the Packers decided to bring in a QB: Utah State’s Jordan Love.
While selecting a QB at the end of the first is something Rodgers understands, it is another thing to move up to grab him, exactly what they did to grab Love (moving from 30th to 26th).
Uncertainty surrounding Love and his transition into the NFL has not helped matters, showing that this team may have wasted a first-rounder on an offensive skill player, a rarity since 2000.
Less than a month later, an extended press conference with Rodgers helped show his unhappiness with the selection, even though he only labeled it as “not being thrilled.” This press conference was the same instance in which Rodgers said that remaining with one team for his entire career “may not be a reality at this point.”
Personnel decisions strain relationship even further
September 3, 2020 – January 24, 2021
Failing to add proven WR talent, whether through the draft, trades, or free agents, has been a favorite topic for the media to beat into the ground for Green Bay. Even with Rodgers’ blessing of the existing WR core, it was not enough to keep a cult hero around.
Jake Kumerow, a Division III WR, latched onto the Packers via a camp tryout. He caught the eye of Rodgers early on, and he talked highly about him ever since he joined the team in 2017. Rodgers included Kumerow in his description of the team’s WR core heading into the 2020 season, but the wideout was cut the following day and latched onto the Bills’ practice squad four days after.
It seems to be death by a thousand paper cuts for this relationship. It does not make Rodgers petty, but it does not necessarily paint him in the best light.
Another aspect of personnel moves not involving Rodgers included the team’s rumored interest in WR Will Fuller V before last season’s trade deadline, something Rodgers recognized while also noting that the last time he commented on wanting a certain player, “he ended up going to Buffalo.”
Tied with personnel decisions is Rodgers’ description of his future, something he eloquently named “a beautiful mystery.” While publicly stating that his future was unknown — as it was for many other teammates — plays into the cryptic nature of things, it also shows that no one truly knows how things are going to play out, something that still holds true today.
Rodgers commented about his mystery of a remaining career before the team lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC title game. He talked about his future and that of his teammates after the loss, so the message remained the same, even if their season had just ended.
Bombshell report sets the relationship on fire
February 2021 – present day
Offseason interviews involving Rodgers, members of the front office, and former members of the Packers have all focused on what will happen between these two parties, especially after the bombshell report Adam Schefter dropped on draft day.
While Schefter did confirm afterward that this piece was a combination of information from the offseason and nothing breaking, the timing of the release was questionable at best. The media storm that led up to that release pales in comparison to what transpired because of it, especially in light of how many people ‘familiar with the situation’ have come out of the woodwork to discuss it.
John Kuhn, James Jones, Pat McAfee, Brett Favre, Ron Wolf, Mike Sherman, and many others have all provided accounts of what is going on, coming from stages of truth and speculation, and have added various levels of insight and gas to the ever-spreading fire.
Sprinkle in a four-week stint as the Jeopardy host, which Rodgers has said he would love to do full-time, and you have the makings of a full bingo card of things that could happen in this situation.
This drama is far from finished, and even with comments about how this relationship is more than salvageable, we may have seen Rodgers play his last snap wearing the Green and Gold. Even if he does come back, can this team even regain the form which has carried the Packers to consecutive NFC Championship Games?