No matter how hard Aaron Rodgers tries to downplay his comments at his post-NFC Championship Game press conference, it’s clear the speculation isn’t going away anytime soon. Rodgers, of course, raised plenty of eyebrows by saying his future was “uncertain” after the Packers’ heartbreaking loss to the Buccaneers.
Green Bay has gone into damage control mode, with team CEO Mark Murphy declaring emphatically that Rodgers would be back in 2021, and that “we’re not idiots.” But despite all that, coaches and execs around the league remain “convinced a bitter divorce is pending” between the two sides, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. La Canfora reports that head coaches and GMs told him this, which would obviously be interesting to say the least.
La Canfora’s sources contend there is tension between Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur, with one NFL head coach saying “it’s never really been good between him and the coach. It’s been a long feeling-out process, and it looks like it’s over.” If true, it’s a pretty remarkable turn of events considering Rodgers is coming off a season that will see him named league MVP shortly.
One assistant coach said Rodgers’ unhappiness is “the worst kept secret in football” and that he was “sending a signal to the rest of the league” with his comments. One long-time NFL exec says “trust me. The quarterback wants out.” Rodgers’ contract runs through the 2023 season, but La Canfora speculates he could force a trade by threatening to retire if one isn’t granted.
The Packers, if you’ll recall, brought a lot of this drama upon themselves by drafting Jordan Love in the first-round last April. As the Eagles learned the hard way after drafting Jalen Hurts in the second-round, it’s nearly impossible to avoid controversy when drafting a quarterback high with one already on the roster.
The Love pick clearly stung Rodgers at the time, and he responded with by far his best season in years. It’s likely the Packers weren’t expecting that kind of late-career resurgence when drafting Love. It’s rare for there to be this much talk about blowing things up on a team that is coming off back to back NFC Championship Game appearances, but here we are.
Buckle up, because this surely isn’t the last we’ve heard on this situation as we enter a wild offseason where seemingly everything is up in the air.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.