the Green Bay Packers and star Aaron Rodgers find themselves at the center of NFL drama for the second consecutive offseason. A year after the Packers drafted Jordan Love, the franchise and its future Hall of Famer are once again at odds over Rodgers’ future.
It started after the NFC Championship game, when Rodgers openly discussed his uncertain future. This immediately sparked business rumors and led the teams to reach out, but Head Coach Matt LaFleur and CEO Mark Murphy close quickly any speculation.
The Packers moved on and started preparing for the offseason. But with limited space for caps, the team could only re-signing Aaron Jones and cornerback Kevin King. As his opponents strengthened themselves through aggressive moves via trade and free agent signatures, Green Bay largely resisted.
Financial flexibility could have been created. A contract extension, ensuring Rodgers was more than a lame quarterback, would create ceiling space to add talent and that would also be a sign of commitment to Rodgers. When the Packers refused to explore an expansion and Rodgers admitted he does not expect to end his career in Green Bay, this sparked more speculation about its future.
Now thanks to in-depth reporting by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, many people involved in the NFL are not holding their thoughts on the situation. Specifically, a players’ agent gave his take on Green Bay’s efforts to sign a player and why the organization is not making any moves at this time.
“I don’t know who the umpire really is over there, if it’s (chief contract negotiator) Russ (Ball), Gutey, Murphy, whoever it is. But it’s screwing up the Packers in a lot of ways right now because there’s just no space for the plugs. They called me about one of my players and said, ‘Hey, this is where we are now, and until we did something big – hint, hint – we don’t have space. It’s kind of like a lose-lose situation right now. That’s what [is] surprising to me is that you would think there would be a middle ground to do something.
As the agent says, the current situation is not good for anyone. Rodgers questions his future with the only franchise he’s ever known and misses the team that puts more guns around him. Meanwhile, the Packers are apparently on the verge of parting ways with another legendary quarterback and many believe they are making a misguided bet on a shaky quarterback prospect.
Right now, it’s a PR battle Rodgers is winning. He serves as a guest Danger! host, delivering little jokes to the organization at the right time and many think Green Bay is making the mistake. Meanwhile, following the Packers’ latest misstep, the front office looks worse than before.
NFL executive calls Packers CEO for recent comments
After saying in January that the franchise would be silly to leave Rodgers, Murphy expressed a different sentiment in March. Asked directly by journalists, he refused to commit to the future Hall of Fame quarterback as the franchise’s long-term starter.
Unsurprisingly, this has led to more criticism from those who work within the league. As one executive told Demovsky, Murphy handled it extremely poorly and that only made the Packers’ appearance worse.
“The first thing I do is not add any outside stressors to this deal. I do not know why [Murphy] didn’t answer questions the other day when you brought it up. This thing without comment didn’t do anyone any good. It didn’t help Aaron, and it didn’t help the Packers.
This organization is no stranger to the criticisms of last year. After trading for Jordan Love, a move they probably didn’t need to make, general managers and scouts lambasted the Packers for selection. The choice doesn’t look better a year later, with Love do not leave a strong impression in his rookie year.
It seems increasingly likely that Rodgers will enter his final season with the Packers. While the return of a successful business can help equip this team with young talent, the organization will be further criticized if Love does not materialize.