As Packers wait on Aaron Rodgers, their GM says all options are on the table
INDIANAPOLIS — The Packers are nonetheless ready on Aaron Rodgers.
No, he’s not holding them hostage; final offseason, Rodgers’ determination to return grew to become public on March 8. In a sit-down interview with native media at the 2023 NFL Mix on Tuesday morning, Packers basic supervisor Brian Gutekunst mentioned he desires a decision to this 12 months’s Rodgers uncertainty earlier than the begin of free company on March 15. There are nonetheless two weeks till that smooth deadline.
Till then, Gutekunst waits. He hasn’t spoken to Rodgers at size since the finish of the season, solely briefly texting with him over the final two months.
Gutekunst emphasised that the Packers are dedicated to working with Rodgers on no matter decision they arrive to, whether or not it’s buying and selling Rodgers or maintaining him in Inexperienced Bay, however they merely haven’t had the probability to take action but as a result of Rodgers has not but knowledgeable the group of what he desires to do.
“Till we now have these conversations, I believe all options are on the table proper now,” Gutekunst mentioned. “However we actually must have these conversations. We wish what’s finest for the Inexperienced Bay Packers, what’s finest for Aaron, so we’ll get to that when these conversations occur.”
Gutekunst wouldn’t definitively say on Tuesday that he desires Rodgers again as quarterback. Fairly frankly, there’s no purpose to publicly say that, even when it’s true in non-public. That dangers rubbing 24-year-old backup Jordan Love the incorrect approach with out having to. If Gutekunst states his need for Rodgers to start out and Love thinks he’s prepared to start out, then Rodgers retires or requests a commerce, it unnecessarily locations Love in considerably of an ungainly state of affairs as he prepares to start out whereas understanding he wasn’t his GM’s high possibility.
There’s additionally no level in Gutekunst divulging sufficient hints that sign he desires Rodgers gone, which he didn’t, as a result of there’s no must probably irritate the man who might very effectively determine he nonetheless desires to play for the Packers. And if he does, there’s an opportunity Gutekunst and Inexperienced Bay’s decision-makers nonetheless assume Rodgers provides them the finest probability to win and thus need him again. If Rodgers feels slighted by his personal group based mostly on what his GM says, that would push him to request a commerce.
Gutekunst added Tuesday that he has but to particularly talk about potential trades involving Rodgers with different groups.
“Definitely, individuals can be fascinated about Aaron Rodgers, proper?” Gutekunst mentioned. “In the event that they thought he was obtainable.”
Lower than every week after the Packers’ season ended, Gutekunst implied that Rodgers nonetheless provides the group its finest probability to win.
“You’re speaking a few four-time MVP, proper?” Gutekunst mentioned. “We are very enthusiastic about Jordan and the place he’s at. There’s little doubt about that. However Jordan’s by no means performed a 16-, 17-game season and gone via all that stuff. So it’s no completely different than after we moved from Brett (Favre) to Aaron. … The place Aaron’s at, the stage he’s at, there’s not many groups he wouldn’t give the finest probability to win.”
Rodgers has nearly $60 million in assured cash ready for him if he decides to play. For the Packers, it makes the most sense financially to commerce the future Corridor of Famer proper now. Former NFL agent Joel Corry defined why, and each angle of Rodgers’ contract on a current episode of “Head of the Pack,” an episode you may take heed to beneath. Gutekunst mentioned that if Rodgers returns to Inexperienced Bay, the Packers will restructure his contract to alleviate a few of the cap burden.
🎙New Head of the Pack🎙
• @corryjoel explains cap ramifications for each Aaron Rodgers state of affairs
• @BillHuberNFL and I make our official predictions for what occurs with Rodgers
• Ought to Jordan Love request a commerce if Rodgers returns?
And extra: https://t.co/xseR28NKcn
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 23, 2023
Gutekunst has mentioned that the Packers prolonged Rodgers final offseason with the intention to maintain him in Inexperienced Bay for extra than simply the 2022 season. His tone modified ever so barely on Tuesday.
“After ‘21, he was coming off two MVP seasons, and there have been sure issues we needed to do to retain him and I believe that was necessary for us,” Gutekunst mentioned. “Definitely, after we went into that, it wasn’t only for ’22, however I believe (govt vp/director of soccer operations) Russ (Ball) did a very good job of sort of creating some options and adaptability in there that it doesn’t matter what occurred, we’d be OK.
“We realized for him, it’s been a year-to-year sort of proposition. I believe we’ve sort of recognized that transferring ahead, that final 12 months after we did the contract, it was going to be 12 months to 12 months. That’s the place we’re at. I don’t assume it actually adjusted or modified an excessive amount of. I believe we’ve at all times recognized it was going to be 12 months to 12 months with him. I’ll say our season final 12 months actually adjusted some issues and our considering slightly bit.”
Whereas Gutekunst remained uncommitted to wanting Rodgers again, he mentioned he would “completely” be comfy if Love begins for the Packers in Week 1 regardless of Love, via his first three NFL seasons, not but taking part in constant significant snaps.
“I believe he’s able to play and I believe he’s able to be an NFL beginning quarterback,” Gutekunst mentioned. “Not each quarterback comes into this league able to go on the market and play. I believe he wanted slightly time, however over the final 12 months and a half or so, we’ve seen that’s the subsequent step in his development. He must exit and play.
“Very not often are guys shot out of a cannon winning-wise. There’s some nice play. There’s situations. You see flashes, however I believe it takes most of those quarterbacks slightly time to learn to win. It’s one factor to play effectively and make throws and make performs, however then it’s one other factor to guide your group to wins. I believe that takes time. However you don’t get a number of that on this league. Definitely, with any new quarterback that’s taking part in for the first time, you’re going to want a few of that.”
Gutekunst, in a way, put his popularity as a basic supervisor on the line when he traded up 4 spots in the first spherical of the 2020 draft to pick out Love with 4 years remaining on Rodgers’ contract. One would possibly assume Gutekunst is married to the concept that he should see the Love mission via, irrespective of how lengthy it takes for him to play in Inexperienced Bay. That’s not fairly how Gutekunst views his responsibility, not less than publicly.
“I don’t strive to have a look at, simply because we did one thing in the previous, that ensures we now have to do one thing in the future,” Gutekunst mentioned. “I believe for me, it’s about doing what’s finest for the Inexperienced Bay Packers in the second after which simply transferring ahead. Clearly, my job is to look out and have slightly little bit of imaginative and prescient into the future, not simply at present. However at the similar time, I believe you may’t management a few of the circumstances and the variables.
“You simply must make the finest determination which you can with the info you might have at the time, so I’m excited to see Jordan develop and play, and I actually count on that to be right here. However once more, the variables and issues that’ll come round, I can’t predict that.”
Whereas this ready sport is disagreeable for followers and sure the Packers, too, they perceive a participant of Rodgers’ stature going through a choice of this magnitude has earned time to ponder what his future holds even when they’d moderately have a decision to allow them to transfer on with their offseason.
Till then, the quarterback who lately emerged from the darkish will hold the solely group he has performed for in it.
(Picture of Aaron Rodgers: Sam Navarro / USA At present)