There’s been a common misconception that the Green Bay Packers trading up for Utah State QB Jordan Love led to the falling out between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. While it certainly did not help their relationship, this is not the only issue Rodgers has with the Packers. Rodgers relationship with the Packers has been deteriorating for some time now, and drafting Love appears to have been the final straw for Rodgers. Tracing things back a few years however shows just how Rodgers has become unhappy with the organization’s approach and philosophy.
Rewinding all the way back to 2014, allowing wide receiver James Jones to leave in free agency appears to have been an overlooked decision that caused the start of the mistrust between Rodgers and Green Bay’s front office. The Packers did this, despite reassuring Rodgers that they were going to keep their core in place when Rodgers’ deal was up in 2013. Then to compound this issue, the Packers only drafted one wide receiver in the Top-100 picks of the NFL Draft from 2015 to 2021, with the lone selection being Ty Montgomery in 2015. For what it’s worth, Montgomery was converted to running back and ultimately traded away shortly thereafter. As you can imagine, the cupboard of offensive weapons Rodgers has had to work with his been quite bare over the past few seasons.
In 2018, then-Packers head coach Mike McCarthy did not retain QB coach Alex Van Pelt, whom Rodgers was close with, and made the decision without consulting or talking to Rodgers. Now, the Packers aren’t required to go to Rodgers with a decision of this type. However, for a generational QB like Rodgers, not letting him in on this conversation or listening to his input certainly didn’t help their relationship. The Packers would follow this up by cutting Rodgers go-to-weapon in WR Jordy Nelson, who even said he would play for free to stay in Green Bay. The release of Nelson was yet another decision made without informing Rodgers before doing so.
Upon firing head coach Mike McCarthy, the Packers quickly hired Matt LaFleur, again doing so without consulting or including Rodgers by any means in the head coach selection. From there, Packers’ President Mark Murphy (equivalent to the owner for the Packers due to them being publicly owned) said he was “tired of the diva stuff” from Rodgers. The hiring of LaFleur, whose offense doesn’t allow for many audibles at the line, which Rodgers is known for being very successful at, raises more distrust and unhappiness for Rodgers. This issue would arise in the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers when Rodgers overruled one of LaFleur’s play calls and was successful.
Then that offseason, the infamous trade-up happens. So many thought that the Packers were trading up for a wide receiver, as even Rodgers himself thought that the pick would be LSU WR Justin Jefferson. However, the draft pick would end up being Utah State QB Jordan Love. They made this move without letting Rodgers in on drafting Love before doing it. Yet another complete lack of communication between Rodgers and the Packers.
One of the final nails in the coffin was when the Packers released WR Jake Kumerow, just a day after Rodgers praised the wideout. Later in the season, near the trade deadline, the Packers were rumored to be in the wide receiver market, and when Rodgers was asked about it, he took a shot at the front office saying that the last time he advocated for a wide receiver, he ended up in Buffalo, which is where Kumerow ended up. Throughout the season, Rodgers was very philosophical when it came to his interview answers. Rodgers would say how things are out of his control and that many futures are uncertain, including himself.
The Packers claim to want to solve the situation with Rodgers and have him remain a Packer, yet their President is going out and calling him a “complicated fella”. How is that helping them solve the issue and problems that Rodgers has with the organization? They continue to say that they want Rodgers around as their QB, yet they haven’t done anything to improve the relationship with Rodgers. They made this situation, now it’s time for them to face their reality and realize they cannot repair this and trade Rodgers.
The Packers made their bed with the lack of communication, poor decisions, and organizational approach, and now it’s time that they face the consequences of them, whether they like it or not. If I was Rodgers, I would feel the same way he does now, as he has done so much for the franchise and it’s not until he wants out that they are willing to listen to his inputs on decisions. This situation has some similarities to the Tom Brady situation at the end of his time with the New England Patriots, but much worse. With Brady, when he got out he still won and was listened to, so why wouldn’t Rodgers want out as well? With their relationship seemingly beyond repair, the Green Bay Packers must accept the consequences of their actions, and move on from Aaron Rodgers.