The Green Bay Packers held their first training camp practice for the 2021 season today and quarterback Aaron Rodgers was available for a press conference right after.
This press conference has been highly anticipated since it was announced yesterday he’d be meeting with reporters after the Packers’ first practice. We would finally get to hear what Rodgers wanted all offseason after hearing “reports” and speculation about the situation from the media since the NFL Draft.
Rodgers’ press conference was extremely candid and gave everyone a clear idea of why this whole thing happened and also gave us a bit of a timeline as well. So let’s dive into some of the big takeaways from Rodgers’ time with the media.
1. It’s about the people
The first question Rodgers got was going to be an obvious one.
What was this whole thing about?
Rodgers gave a very long and thoughtful answer. It wasn’t about the Packers drafting Jordan Love. It was about some of the decisions the team has made over the years regarding some veteran players. He went on to list players like Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, and Julius Peppers.
He understands this is a business, but some of the players, like Woodson, Jordy, and Peppers all wanted to take a pay cut to come back to the Packers but the front office decided to low-ball their offers or not even offer a contract to the player at all.
Yes, this is a business, but to a point, I can see where Rodgers can get peeved by this. It isn’t all about play. Some of them were high-character guys and great leaders in the locker room. Even if they aren’t producing quite like they used to, they can still be useful to the team and the organization, and I think that’s what Rodgers was trying to get to.
He also talked about wanting to be in the conversation when making personnel decisions. He didn’t say they needed to do what he wanted, but to be included in the conversation. Rodgers talked about being able to be used as an asset to the organization because of who he is. He is the MVP of the league and players would probably like to come to Green Bay to have a chance to play for a championship with him, even though Green Bay isn’t a “vacation destination”.
Is this something players are usually given? No. But then again, Rodgers isn’t your normal player. He’s one of the best to ever play the game. Some fans may think he has the right to have a voice in the roster decisions. Some, on the other hand, may not.
As of right now, it doesn’t sound like Rodgers and the Packers front office have made a whole lot of progress towards this goal.
2. Rodgers’ future with the Packers beyond 2021 is still a mystery
Rodgers is committed to the 2021 season. He made that very clear. When asked about what’s going to happen beyond this season is a different story. He doesn’t know what will happen. He did leave the door open though. That may give some fans hope that Rodgers will be back in 2022, but that’s a long way away.
To Rodgers, the Packers haven’t been clear about his future with the organization. I’m sure that doesn’t sit well with him. He doesn’t want to be a “lame-duck quarterback”.
Unless the Packers front office drastically changes their views of the future, I wouldn’t hold my breath on a Rodgers return in 2022.
3. This feels like the Last Dance with Rodgers
Rodgers has always been a guy who has fed off of being wronged. He loves having that chip on his shoulder and proving people wrong. Right now, the front office clearly hasn’t budged on their thoughts on the future by not giving into Rodgers and committing to him long term. I think he is going to go off again this year and then want out.
Then again, maybe that’s what the Packers are banking on. He lights the world on fire again and they trade him for a boatload and get to start the Jordan Love era.
They bring in Randall Cobb for Rodgers to take one last run at a ring. Depending on what happens with Cobb’s contract, the Packers will almost have to cut him after this season for cap reasons.
After Rodgers’ press conference, Davante Adams followed and talked extensively about his contract situation and made it clear he was not going to take a hometown discount. One reporter asked that if Rodgers was around for 2022 if that would convince him to take less and he quickly said no. He expects to be the top-paid receiver in the league. If it’s not with the Packers next year, it will be with someone else.
It feels like the Packers will need to move on from Rodgers if they want to accommodate Adams’ future deal. Could they make it work? Probably, but with this current situation, it might be best for both sides to part ways. The Packers can get the Love era going with Davante Adams and Rodgers gets a fresh start elsewhere with a chance to do what Tom Brady did with the Bucs in 2020.
Enjoy the 2021 season while you can. This could very well be the last year with Aaron Rodgers in a Packers uniform.