It has certainly been an unprecedented NFL offseason with more drama surrounding top quarterbacks than ever before.
From Deshaun Watson’s legal issues and Russell Wilson’s apparent unhappiness to multiple trades and retirements, it’s been one for the books.
And now, a new report suggests that Aaron Rodgers is prepared to do whatever it takes to never play for the Packers again.
The fact that Aaron Rodgers hasn’t exactly been thrilled with the Green Bay Packers’ front office over the past year hasn’t been a secret.
The team’s relationship with their Super Bowl winning quarterback undoubtedly began to fall apart last year, when the Packers front office chose to use their first round draft pick to select Nevada quarterback Jordan Love.
It’s certainly understandable from Rodgers’ point-of-view, as he has led the Packers to more than 10 wins in seven of the eight seasons he’s been fully healthy since winning the 2010 Super Bowl – including back-to-back 13-win seasons and a remarkable 15-1 record in 2011 – only to have Green Bay’s front office seemingly refuse to truly improve the roster.
Now, he’s apparently reached his boiling point, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to never play for the Packers again.
Late last week, reports surfaced that indicated Rodgers had told the team he didn’t want to play for Green Bay again, and gave them a list of three teams – the 49ers, Broncos, and Raiders – to trade him to.
Additional reports around that time also revealed that the Packers front office originally told Rodgers that they would trade him, only to then quickly change their mind and dig their heels in.
Rodgers understandably became even more frustrated after that series of events, and is now reportedly “adamant” that he will not play for Green Bay so long as Brian Gutekunst remains the team’s general manager.
Aaron Rodgers is "adamant" that he won't return to the Packers if Brian Gutekunst remains as the GM, per @CharlesRobinson
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 1, 2021
And he’s apparently so serious about retiring if the Packers won’t trade him or make serious changes to the organization, that he’s prepared to pay the team back $23 million from his signing bonus.
If Aaron Rodgers retires (to host Jeopardy or just retire), he would have to repay the team $11.5M this year and $11.5M if he remains retired next year — all from his signing bonus. Unless the situation is repaired to his liking, this is a serious consideration, I’m told. https://t.co/kEQwpexqX0
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 30, 2021
It is interesting to note that several teams have apparently already tried to trade for Rodgers too.
Multiple reports from last week indicated that Rodgers wanted the team to accept an offer from the 49ers that would have sent Green Bay the third overall pick in this year’s draft and more for the reigning league MVP.
From unimpeachable source: As of last night, Aaron Rodgers’ wish list was 49ers, Broncos, Raiders (not necessarily in that order). He wanted Packers to take the 49ers’ offer. Next move by Rodgers is TBD.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 29, 2021
San Francisco general manager John Lynch indicated that the team did in fact try to acquire Rodgers prior to the NFL Draft, but were quickly shot down by the Packers.
49ers GM John Lynch said they did call Green Bay today about Aaron Rodgers. "Yeah, we inquired and it was a quick end to the conversation. It wasn’t happening."
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) April 30, 2021
Obviously, at this point, this situation could go a number of ways.
After years of frustration, especially over the past year, he’s finally putting his foot down.
And it’s hard to ignore the idea that his recent success as the host of Jeopardy! might just be playing into his decision, as well.
Aaron Rodgers knows he holds a lot of power and has options on and off the football field, whether the Packers want to admit it or not.
It’s highly unlikely that the team does in fact fire their general manager simply because he told them to, but there are plenty of changes they can make to make him happy enough to play out the final year of his contract.
No matter what happens in the near future, it seems more likely than not at this point that we won’t be seeing Aaron Rodgers as part of the Green Bay Packers for too much longer.
Whether it’s this offseason or next, the end of this marriage seems inevitable.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.