Brian Gutekunst

Packers GM Shoots Down David Bakhtiari Trade Rumors

The rumors haven’t been rampant, but the source of the rumor is enough to catch the media’s eye. Regardless, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst decided to definitively clarify that the team has no intentions of trading away veteran offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic.

As far as we can trace, any hint of this rumor originates from Bakhtiari’s former teammate Aaron Rodgers. The polarizing quarterback is with the Jets now and has brought along several of his former Green Bay teammates. As Armando Salguero of OutKick explored some potential solutions to the Jets’ deteriorating depth at tackle, he looked to the New York passer’s suggestion.

When Rodgers finally found himself in a Jets uniform, he reportedly gave up $35MM in salary to accommodate additions to the roster around him. This leeway reportedly helped the Jets to bring in a player like running back Dalvin Cook after already having acquired the likes of Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, and Randall Cobb. Salguero reports that Rodgers has “privately mentioned Bakhtiari” as the team’s potential solution at tackle. The report claims that Rodgers has floated the idea to Bakhtiari himself, even.

Despite the rumor being fairly baseless, Gutekunst still apparently felt the need to address it, shutting down the notion in the process. True, the team would save $2.25MM in cap space for this year, but the Packers would also eat $19.08MM in dead money and be required to find a replacement at left tackle for only the second time in the past ten years.

Unless New York comes ready to part with one of their top draft picks in the next year or so, it seems highly unlikely that there will be any traction on this rumor. Gutekunst’s stance is currently that Bakhtiari is not for sale. Rodgers has received quite a bit from his wish-list this offseason, but this is seeming like a step too far.

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured GMs

The latest NFL general manager hiring cycle only produced two changes, but each took over for an executive who appeared in good standing at this point last year.

Steve Keim had held his Cardinals GM post since January 2013, and the Cardinals gave both he and Kliff Kingsbury extensions — deals that ran through 2027 — in March of last year. Arizona has since rebooted, moving on from both Keim and Kingsbury. Keim took a leave of absence late last season, and the Cardinals replaced him with ex-Titans exec Monti Ossenfort.

[RELATED: The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches]

As the Cardinals poached one of the Titans’ top front office lieutenants, Tennessee went with an NFC West staffer to replace Jon Robinson. The move to add 49ers FO bastion Ran Carthon also came less than a year after the Titans reached extension agreements with both Robinson and HC Mike Vrabel. But controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk canned Robinson — in place as GM since January 2016 — before last season ended. Adams Strunk cited player unavailability and roster quality among the reasons she chose to move on despite having extended Robinson through the 2027 draft months earlier. The Titans are now pairing Vrabel and Carthon.

The Bills reached an extension agreement with GM Brandon Beane two weeks ago. Hired shortly after the team gave Sean McDermott the HC keys, Beane has helped the Bills to five playoff berths in six seasons. Beane’s deal keeps him signed through 2027. Chargers GM Tom Telesco has hit the 10-year mark leading that front office, while this year also marks the 10th offseason of Buccaneers honcho Jason Licht‘s tenure running the NFC South team. Although Jim Irsay fired Frank Reich and later admitted he reluctantly extended his former HC in 2021, the increasingly active Colts owner has expressed confidence in Chris Ballard.

Here is how the NFL’s GM landscape looks going into the 2023 season:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Bill Belichick (New England Patriots): January 27, 2000[3]
  4. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  5. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010; signed extension in 2021
  6. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010; signed extension in 2022
  7. Les Snead (Los Angeles Rams): February 10, 2012; signed extension in 2022
  8. Tom Telesco (Los Angeles Chargers): January 9, 2013; signed extension in 2018
  9. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014; signed extension in 2021
  10. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016[4]
  11. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017; signed extension in 2020
  12. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017; signed extension in 2021
  13. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017; signed extension in 2023
  14. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017; signed extension in 2020
  15. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018; agreed to extension in 2022
  16. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019
  17. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  18. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020
  19. Nick Caserio (Houston Texans): January 5, 2021
  20. George Paton (Denver Broncos): January 13, 2021
  21. Scott Fitterer (Carolina Panthers): January 14, 2021
  22. Brad Holmes (Detroit Lions): January 14, 2021
  23. Terry Fontenot (Atlanta Falcons): January 19, 2021
  24. Trent Baalke (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 21, 2021
  25. Martin Mayhew (Washington Commanders): January 22, 2021
  26. Joe Schoen (New York Giants): January 21, 2022
  27. Ryan Poles (Chicago Bears): January 25, 2022
  28. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Minnesota Vikings): January 26, 2022
  29. Dave Ziegler (Las Vegas Raiders): January 30, 2022
  30. Omar Khan (Pittsburgh Steelers): May 24, 2022
  31. Monti Ossenfort (Arizona Cardinals): January 16, 2023
  32. Ran Carthon (Tennessee Titans): January 17, 2023


  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. Belichick has been the Patriots’ de facto GM since shortly after being hired as the team’s head coach in January 2000.
  4. Although Grier was hired in 2016, he became the Dolphins’ top football exec on Dec. 31, 2018

Aaron Rodgers Addresses Packers Exit

Aaron Rodgers‘ Green Bay departure would have been far messier had it occurred in 2021, when he requested to be moved. But the divorce, coming after a prolonged trade negotiation, has still produced a stream of headlines. The new Jets quarterback attempted to set the record straight regarding a few key 2020s Packers plotlines.

Shortly after the Packers traded up for Jordan Love in 2020, Rodgers said he no longer knew finishing his career in Green Bay was realistic. Before the 2021 trade request, Rodgers earned his third MVP honor despite the Packers using their first-round pick on a backup quarterback. While the Love choice did not directly impede Green Bay in 2020, the team suffered another narrow NFC championship defeat — at home against Tampa Bay — as its first-round pick did not contribute. That loss began an annual run of Rodgers-driven offseason uncertainty in Green Bay.

Did I wanna, years down the line, go, ‘Well, what if we had just taken somebody who could impact our team because we had just gone to the NFC championship?’ Yeah, of course,” Rodgers said (via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman; subscription required) of the Packers’ decision to draft Love. “I don’t think any other competitor would say anything different.

… We didn’t win the Super Bowl. [The Packers] had their guy in waiting. I knew that [the team going with Love] was always a possibility, that they would wanna go, ‘You know what? We tried hard. We tried to win a championship. We had a good team, but now it might be time to go with Jordan, move some contract stuff around and do that.'”

The organization made that decision two years after Rodgers requested a trade. The Packers could have obtained more for Rodgers in 2021, given his age and MVP form, but they rebuffed trade overtures during that offseason. Rodgers’ agent is believed to have made a blunt request to Packers president Mark Murphy at that time: trade Rodgers or fire GM Brian Gutekunst. The Rodgers-Gutekunst feud simmered throughout the ’21 offseason, and this ultimatum surfaced that summer. Wednesday’s report lends more support to the Rodgers-or-Gutekunst rumors. The 18-year veteran told Schneidman communication between he and Green Bay management improved once he returned to the team, but it still pales in comparison to the talks he has held with Jets management in the weeks since he arrived.

Although Rodgers re-signed with the Packers — on a three-year, $150.8MM deal the Jets are now in the process of restructuring — in March 2022, team brass has revealed dissatisfaction with the future Hall of Famer’s commitment level last year. The Packers viewed Rodgers skipping OTAs last year as detrimental to Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs‘ rookie-year development, Albert Breer of notes, and Schneidman adds the team was dissatisfied with Rodgers’ day-to-day commitment throughout last season. The four-time MVP, who has been at Jets OTAs this offseason, disputed the notion his 2022 absence hindered the Packers.

When I’m in, I’m all in, and you wanna ride with offseason workouts?” Rodgers said. “I won MVP without doing offseason workouts. Like, was my commitment any less then? I’d say not at all. The way that I come back to work, not just physically in good shape but mentally refreshed, is the best thing for me to have the season I wanted to have during those in Green Bay. I think that’s just a cop-out written to try and find something to disparage me about that, honestly, when you know what offseason workouts are really about, it’s completely ridiculous.”

The key difference between Rodgers’ 2021 OTAs absence and his 2022 no-show: receiving talent. Green Bay dealt Davante Adams to Las Vegas and let Marquez Valdes-Scantling leave for Kansas City in free agency last March. Adams has said the Packers’ final offer surpassed the Raiders’ deal (five years, $140MM) and that he wanted to leave Green Bay. But the sides also went through failed negotiations during the 2021 offseason. Adams sought to be the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver during the summer ’21 talks; Rodgers said the Packers’ initial offer was nowhere close, indicating it checked in below $20MM per year.

Adams broke off talks with the Packers ahead of last season and played out the $14.5MM-per-year extension he had signed in 2017. Although the Packers upped their offer before franchise-tagging him in 2022, Rodgers wonders if the team’s early hesitancy affected the All-Pro wideout’s desire to stay.

They offered him less money than Christian Kirk and [Adams] is going, ‘Are you serious right now? I’m the best receiver in the league, and you’re gonna offer me less than Christian Kirk?’” Rodgers said of the Pack’s offer compared to Kirk’s $18MM-AAV Jaguars deal. “With all due respect, he’s not on Davante’s level.

I’m sure that the team will say that’s just the business of negotiation — it’s like, yeah, but you’re also sending a message to that guy, and a lot of times it can stick with guys and make them a little sour on things. … That goes back to the first offer that they made, and I don’t think [the Packers] had the foresight — obviously didn’t have the foresight.

Rodgers’ numbers suffered without Adams and Valdes-Scantling, with Doubs and Watson — the latter’s late-season surge notwithstanding — not measuring up to the veterans’ contributions. Gutekunst deferred to Rodgers’ MVP awards when asked in January if the veteran starter or Love gave the Packers a better chance to win. Three-plus months later, Rodgers became a Jet. Gutekunst did not believe he could sit Love for a fourth season, per’s Rob Demovsky and Rich Cimini; the sixth-year GM had said many times this offseason the fourth-year backup was ready to play.

Gutekunst and Rodgers did not meet this offseason; scheduling conflicts have been cited. The Packers have also accused Rodgers of rebuffing efforts to meet, per Rodgers said he reached out to Packers management regarding a meeting with the front office and Matt LaFleur before he trekked to the darkness retreat, but after he referenced the Pack’s lack of communication, a desire to play for the Jets — rather than retire — emerged post-darkness. As Brett Favre did 15 years ago, Rodgers will now attempt to prove the Packers wrong.

Did Brian text me more than I texted him? Yeah, but did I ghost him? No,” Rodgers said, via Schneidman. “I texted him back. There was back-and-forths that we had and so this is the story you wanna go with? You’re gonna stand on this hill of austerity and say that arguably in the conversation of the best player in your franchise history, you’re gonna say I couldn’t get a hold of him and that’s why we had to move on?

Like, come on, man. Just tell the truth; you wanted to move on. You didn’t like the fact that we didn’t communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like.”

Packers Sought Russell Wilson-Type Haul For Aaron Rodgers; Jets Debated Stronger Derek Carr Push

Aaron Rodgers has begun attending Jets offseason workouts, but it took an extensive process for the Packers to move him off their roster. The teams had different goals when they begun negotiations.

The Packers initially sought a trade package comparable to the haul the Seahawks received for Russell Wilson or the Lions picked up for Matthew Stafford, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports. But with Rodgers moving out of the picture in Green Bay, the Jets were never expected to pay what it would have likely cost the Broncos (or another suitor) to pry Rodgers from the Packers in 2021 or ’22. Still, the lag time between the first Rodgers-related discussion between Packers GM Brian Gutekunst and Jets counterpart Joe Douglas — in January, when the latter represented the only interested party among those Gutekunst contacted — led to some uncertainty.

Just before Derek Carr committed to the Saints, Jets brass debated if they should make a stronger push for the longtime Raiders quarterback, Costello adds. The Jets hosted Carr in February and met with him again at the Combine. Though, Gang Green viewed the 10th-year veteran as its Rodgers backup plan throughout the process. With the Jets not knowing until March 12 Rodgers was even planning to play in 2023, they saw their top backup plan vanish when Carr signed with the Saints on March 6.

Shortly after the Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett as OC — a move widely rumored to be a Rodgers-related decision — Robert Saleh instructed his staff to study Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Tannehill,’s Albert Breer notes. The former 49ers starter surfaced as a Jets option, while the longtime Titans first-stringer has been involved in trade rumors this year. But the Jets waited out Rodgers and received confirmation, via the four-time MVP’s agent contacting Douglas, his client was onboard with the Jets.

The Packers could have obtained more in a trade for Rodgers had they unloaded him in 2021 or ’22, but Jordan Love had not progressed to the point the team was ready to roll with the former No. 26 overall pick. Gutekunst sought to tell Rodgers the Packers planned to field a younger roster this season and make moves to help their salary cap, per Breer, with this meaning Rodgers favorites Randall Cobb, Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis would not be back. (Cobb is now a Jet, with Lewis potentially on the team’s radar.) Of course, Gutekunst and Rodgers never got around to a meeting regarding his future. The parties had multiple January meetings in California scheduled, Breer adds; neither came to fruition. Gutekunst dealt with Rodgers’ agent during the trade talks.

As for the trade price, one of the Jets’ counterproposals — during the sides’ off-and-on talks — involved a 2025 Packers second-round pick coming back in the event Rodgers did not return in 2024. The March Rodgers-Jets summit did not involve discussion about how much longer Rodgers would play, though that later became an understandable component of the Jets’ trade push. Instead of the Jets receiving a 2025 second from the Packers — in the event Rodgers retires after this season — the teams agreed on the deal that included the 2024 first-rounder being a conditional pick and not a locked-in 1, Breer adds. That said, Rodgers has only failed to play 65% of his team’s offensive snaps twice in his 15-year starter run. It represents a fairly safe bet the Jets will send the Packers their 2024 first-rounder in this swap.

Rather than the 65% figure, the Jets wanted to tie the 2024 draft choice to team placement, per Breer. But the Packers did this in the Brett Favre trade 15 years ago; the Green Bay icon’s biceps injury ended up leading the Jets out of the playoff race and reducing the Pack’s compensation to a 2009 third-rounder. With Packers president Mark Murphy involved in both negotiations, the Packers did not relent on a refusal to tie the pick to the Jets’ 2023 record.

Douglas was a bit leery about a potential post-draft suitor emerging as an alternative for Rodgers, Breer adds. The Jets had lost Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in a two-team race last year. The All-Pro wideout was nearly a Jet, but when the Dolphins entered the fray, Miami became Hill’s preferred destination. This helped provide the impetus for the Jets to complete the deal by the draft, even as no other teams were closely connected to Rodgers this offseason.

The 2023 pick-swap component also did not enter the negotiations until late. That turned out to matter, with many believing the Jets were prepared to draft tackle Broderick Jones in Round 1. The Steelers moved up three spots, from No. 17 to No. 14, to prevent that from happening. New York selected edge rusher Will McDonald with its Green Bay-obtained No. 15 pick. The Packers chose Iowa pass rusher Lukas Van Ness at 13.

Packers Undecided On QB Jordan Love’s Fifth-Year Option

Three of the four quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2020 draft have, to no surprise, had their fifth-year options picked up. The Packers are the only team yet to make their decision on that front, despite the fast-approaching deadline to do so.

Jordan Love is officially in place as Green Bay’s QB1, with the Aaron Rodgers trade having been finalized last week. His fifth-year option would cost $20.27MM next season if the team were to exercise it, a move which would represent at least a short-term commitment. Since the team has already made one by trading Rodgers, it would come as little surprise if they picked up Love’s option. A firm decision has yet to be made, however.

“Yeah, I’ve got to figure that out by Tuesday, I guess,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said on the subject of Love’s option. “We’re kind of still working through that. We’ve been so focused on the draft. We’ve had some preliminary conversations, but we’ll get to that before Tuesday. It’s a lot of money for a guy who hasn’t played. But at the same time, obviously, we’re moving forward with him. So, we’ll figure that out by Tuesday” (h/t Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk).

Indeed, plenty of questions remain with respect to Love’s preparedness for an NFL starting job despite being three years removed from his rookie campaign. The 24-year-old has made 10 appearances, and only one start, during his time in Green Bay. The team has been consistent in their praise for the Utah State product, though, and a strong 2023 campaign could establish his worth as a legitimate starter.

If that were to happen, a price tag slightly over $20MM would be a relative bargain, considering the heights the QB market has reached in recent years. On the other hand, declining the option to turn this coming season into a make-or-break year for Love would make it easier to move on from him if he were to fail to progress in the way the team expects him to.

The Packers added a fifth-round quarterback during the draft, but also two tight ends and three receivers to give Love a plethora of new pass catchers for his first season at the helm. Before he begins that new phase of his career, though, more clarity will have emerged with respect to his financial future.

Packers Open To Re-Signing K Mason Crosby, S Adrian Amos

The Packers selected a kicker, Auburn’s Anders Carlson, in the sixth round of this year’s draft. That has led to plenty of justified speculation that Mason Crosby‘s tenure in Green Bay has come to an end, though GM Brian Gutekunst indicated that is not necessarily the case.

Gutekunst told reporters, including Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that he has not ruled out a new contract for Crosby — who is presently a free agent — and that he just “really liked” Carlson (Twitter link). Still, it would seem that only injury to, or underperformance from, Carlson and reserve/futures signee Parker White would open the door to a Crosby return, as Rob Demovsky of suggests.

Carlson, the younger brother of Raiders K Daniel Carlson, is the first kicker Green Bay has drafted since Crosby himself was selected in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. Crosby has operated as the club’s kicker ever since, though he has never received Pro Bowl or All-Pro honors. In 2022, his 86.2% field goal conversion rate was the fourth-highest mark of his career, but it was a middle-of-the-pack showing overall. He also made just one of four attempts from 50+ yards.

Anders Carlson, meanwhile, does not have a particularly notable college resume. Over five seasons with the Tigers, he made just 71.8% of his attempts, which included a 68.4% success rate across his last two collegiate years. He also sustained a torn ACL in November 2021, so he is not necessarily a surefire bet to make the Packers’ roster.

Gutekunst also said that he remains open to a reunion with safety Adrian Amos and that he has stayed in contact with Amos’ camp (Twitter link via Matt Schneidman of The Athletic). We heard last week that Darnell Savage would get the opportunity to reclaim his starting safety job, and even if he is successful in that regard, there is room for another backend defender to compete with the likes of Tarvarius Moore and Anthony Johnson Jr., who was added in the seventh round of the draft yesterday.

Amos garnered interest from the Ravens this offseason, but his free agency stay has otherwise been a quiet one. While he set a career-high with 102 tackles in 2022, he earned a poor 53.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, which has generally been high on his work throughout the course of his career.

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst Addresses Aaron Rodgers Situation

The Packers have been entrenched in their drama with Aaron Rodgers for years now. With the end seemingly drawing nearer and nearer, general manager Brian Gutekunst gave some comments to the media today.

Primarily, Gutekunst confirmed what we all presumed, that he expects Jordan Love to take over as starting quarterback for the Packers in 2023. While he admitted that there were unknowns to be dealt with, mainly the pending trade deal shipping Rodgers to New York, everything is trending toward an offense centered around Love, according to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Additionally, Gutekunst added that he is not necessitating a first-round pick in exchange for Rodgers. He stated that he wants a fair value for Rodgers, whom he called a “premier” player, but claimed that he isn’t drawing a line at the first round.

Gutekunst was also asked some hard-hitting questions from The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman about the team’s inability to communicate with Rodgers and Rodgers’ displeasure concerning the perception that the Packers were shopping him out, and Gutekunst didn’t shy away from the answers. Gutekunst basically asserted that they attempted to reach out after the season and, after they failed to reach him or get a response, Gutekunst “had to do (his) job.”

“Certainly, whenever a player may have issues, you prefer that they talk to you directly and not do it in the media,” Gutekunst said Monday, via Schneidman“But that’s not necessarily the way he goes about it and that’s okay.”

Gutekunst’s efforts to reach Rodgers were an attempt to discuss the future of the franchise and Rodgers’s part in it. After the season, though, he was only able to reach Rodgers’s representatives. After Gutekunst talked with the veteran’s representation, Rodgers asked for the trade, leading to the limbo that Green Bay is currently in. Most parties involved are going about their business as if Rodgers is a member of the Jets already. It’s only a matter of compensation at this point.

Packers Open To Aaron Rodgers Return?

A rather explosive account regarding the Packers’ interest in Aaron Rodgers remaining their starter in 2023 surfaced over the weekend, and the future Hall of Fame quarterback has not yet informed his team about his intentions to play next season. But a path to stay in Green Bay may well remain viable.

The Packers would like to have Rodgers back, Tom Pelissero of said during a Rich Eisen Show appearance (video link), as long as he is fully bought in. The caveat here could be scrutinized, based on the weekend report that indicated Rodgers was not fully bought in last year, but the star quarterback still having a route to being Green Bay’s starter is certainly interesting given his place atop the QB domino set this offseason.

GM Brian Gutekunst deferred to Rodgers’ four MVPs when asked if he believes the incumbent starter still gives the Packers the best chance to win. Gutekunst also said Jordan Love is ready to play. If Rodgers re-emerges from his darkness retreat and tells the Packers he wants out or informs the team he is retiring, Love will finally get the call to start. If Rodgers says he wants to stay, as he did last year, then it becomes complicated. The report from longtime Packers writer Bob McGinn indicated Gutekunst, team president Mark Murphy and HC Matt LaFleur are done with the increasingly outspoken passer.

Rodgers’ past of grudge-holding may well come into play regarding the Packers’ power structure potentially throwing out negative opinions about him, but he also mended fences with Murphy and Gutekunst after his 2021 trade request. Another Rodgers return would stand to further stall Love’s ascent. It should be expected, despite McGinn noting Rodgers returning would be as a Love backup, Rodgers would not be thrust into a quarterback competition if he opted to stay in Green Bay. But if the Packers are truly ready to turn the page, as they did when they transitioned from Brett Favre to Rodgers ahead of the latter’s fourth season back in 2008, it opens the door to Love starting and an odd trade sweepstakes commencing.

The Broncos were the team most closely tied to Rodgers since his trade request became public just before the 2021 draft, but Pelissero adds they would not have sent the Packers the haul they gave the Seahawks because of the uncertainty surrounding Rodgers’ future. While Russell Wilson underwhelmed to a concerning degree in 2022, the Broncos sent the Seahawks the two-first-rounder-fronted package because Wilson expressed no near-future retirement plans. Rodgers’ year-to-year setup will complicate interested teams’ trade proposals.

Interested teams will be less inclined to surrender significant assets if they are unsure Rodgers will play in 2024. Although he is signed through 2025, the 18-year veteran returning in 2023 would seem likely to precede him considering retirement next year as well.

The Jets continue to wait on Rodgers, who is their top choice, and the Raiders have been linked to Rodgers replacing Derek Carr. The ex-Raiders QB and the Jets have mutual interest, and unless the Rodgers trade derby officially takes off soon, the Jets may need to make a choice. Carr also has other suitors, the Saints among them, and Rodgers could have NFC teams pursuing him as well. The Packers would want to send Rodgers to the AFC, and his three-year, $150.8MM contract does not include a no-trade clause. But Rodgers can effectively tell the Packers he will retire unless they send him to his preferred team, putting the NFC — should the QB identify a team he wants to play for in that conference — back in play.

Rodgers’ contract calls for a $58.3MM 2023 guarantee. That can be paid at any point before the season, though the 39-year-old quarterback would need to agree to a reworked contract to facilitate a trade. Presently, the Packers would be tagged with $40MM-plus in dead money if they dealt Rodgers before June 1. This set of moving parts clouds the quarterback market, but a resolution is expected to come soon.

Latest On Packers’ Trade Deadline Approach

Once again, the Packers approached the NFL trade deadline with expectations that a move would be made to bolster the team’s pass-catching corps. As Tuesday came and went, 2022 marked another season in which the team stood pat.

The Packers have struggled with injuries and inconsistencies in the pass game this season, making them a logical suitor for a trade acquisition. They were in on former Steeler Chase Claypool, offering a second-round pick for the wideout, a price which ended up ultimately being enough for Pittsburgh to part ways with him. It was the division rival Bears, however, who landed him (with their second-rounder projected to be more valuable), adding a young pass-catcher and denying Green Bay a new asset in the process.

Part of the reason the Packers maintained the status quo at the position, as explained by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, was their reluctance to add a rental player at the deadline. Claypool has one year remaining on his rookie contract after 2022; likewise, veteran Brandin Cooks would not have been a short-term addition had the Packers (who were listed among the teams interested in acquiring him) been able to pull off a deal.

Demovsky confirms that Claypool was Green Bay’s top target, but adds that tight end was another position at which they considered making a move. Only one trade took place in that regard, with an intra-divisional swap sending T.J. Hockenson from the Lions to the Vikings for a swap of Day 2 picks. The Packers may not have been involved in talks for Hockenson specifically, Demovsky notes, but GM Brian Gutekunst “explored” possible additions to complement or upgrade on starter Robert Tonyan.

In the end, Green Bay will head into the second half of the season with a less-than-healthy skill position group as they look to improve on their 234 passing yards per game (20th in the league). Given their 3-5 record, the team sits in a much different position with respect to their status as NFC contenders compared to the consecutive 13-win campaigns which began the Matt LaFleur era. The same questions remain, though, about their offensive firepower.

Packers Extend Matt LaFleur, Brian Gutekunst, Russ Ball?

The Packers are happy with the core of leaders they’ve built over the years and they’re determined to keep key pieces in place for years to come. Head coach Matt LaFleur, general manager Brian Gutekunst, and executive vice president Russ Ball all received extensions this offseason, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.

Interestingly, the team’s president and CEO, Mark Murphy, refused to confirm the extensions, saying only, “I’ll just say I’m confident not only Matt and Brian but (Ball) will continue to be Packers’ employees for years to come.” 

LaFleur was hired as head coach in 2019 after two starkly different seasons as an offensive coordinator with the Rams and with the Titans. As offensive coordinator in Los Angeles, LaFleur didn’t call plays, but still gets credit for coordinating the league’s top scoring offense that year. The next year he took over play-calling duties in Tennessee and, after an onslaught of injuries, the team finished with the 27th ranked scoring offense. Still, the Packers saw enough coaching potential to hire him to replace Mike McCarthy.

Since LaFleur took over in 2019, the Packers have been a league best 39-10. Unfortunately, though, LaFleur has struggled to take the league’s best regular season team to the Super Bowl, losing two straight NFC Championship games in his first two seasons and exiting in the Divisional Round of last year’s playoffs. LaFleur’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season, so an extension was expected.

Gutekunst was promoted to his current role one year before the hire of LaFleur. After entering the league as a Chiefs scouting assistant in 1998, Gutekunst quickly made his way to Wisconsin where he rose through the ranks over the following 20 years from area scout to director of college scouting to director of player personnel to his eventual general manager position in 2018. Gutekunst was granted the promotion when former general manager Ted Thompson took a reduced role with the organization after being diagnosed with neurodegenerative disorder. In Gutekunst’s five years of heading the personnel departments, the team has drafted starters like cornerback Jaire Alexander and defensive lineman Rashan Gary while bringing in impact players like Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith, Christian Kirksey, Jaylon Smith, and Whitney Mercilus. Gutekunst’s contract was also set to expire at the end of the season, so his extension, while not guaranteed, was also expected.

Ball has been with the franchise since 2008, spending ten years as vice president of football administration/player finance and getting promoted to executive vice president/director of football operations in 2018. Ball has held the unenviable responsibility of managing the team’s salary cap, a task that hasn’t been made any easier with the demands of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. His masterful management during the pandemic was something that drew praise from Murphy, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. Ball was promoted the same year Gutekunst was, so his deal was likely also nearing an end.

This isn’t the first time Murphy and the Packers have kept silent about contract moves with the staff. The past scenario was a bit more tense as McCarthy was quietly given a one-year extension for what would eventually be his last season. Regarding the lack of an announcement or confirmation, Murphy said, “I’d prefer to keep (contract extensions) internal, but, obviously, you can see from my comments that I feel like they’re doing an outstanding job.”

With the extension of key pieces to the team’s core leadership, the Packers brass is putting forth a vote of confidence. They are likely also posing two daunting tests: 1) take the next step and win a Super Bowl and 2) keep the boat afloat when Rodgers is finally gone. The three men will apparently have another few years to complete those assignments.