Clay Matthews calls out Brian Gutekunst over Aaron Jones' Packers departure

Green Bay Packers, Clay Matthews
Green Bay Packers, Clay Matthews / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst doesn't care about winning popularity contests. He is willing to make tough decisions if he believes it's in the Packers' best interest.

Look no further than Aaron Jones' departure this offseason. Gutekunst was honest about why he decided to move on from the Packers' star running back.

"We asked him to take a pay cut," Gutekunst said. "As we went through that process, we realized it probably wasn't going to come to fruition and we had to do what was in the best interest of our football team. That's what we did."

It was Gutekunst's decision and didn't involve head coach Matt LaFleur.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, LaFleur said releasing Jones "caught me off guard," adding that he's "not involved in those types of conversations."

LaFleur's comments have caught fire in recent days, and it even got the attention of Packers legend and six-time Pro Bowler Clay Matthews.

Clay Matthews slams Brian Gutekunst for lack of communication in Aaron Jones' release

Matthews spent a decade in Green Bay, helping the team win the Super Bowl in the 2010 season. He will be inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame this summer. But he wasn't a fan of how Gutekunst handled Jones's departure by not including LaFleur.

He reacted to LaFleur's comments on X (formerly Twitter).

Matthews wrote: "With a rookie* QB, young receiving corp and Watson injured, Jones WAS GBs offense. He even took a pay cut to stay with the team in 2023! But I digress. I find the lack of communication between HC and GM to be wild. LaFleur has been one of the most successful coaches and doesn't have a say!?"

Matthews' point is understandable. However, LaFleur's comments have been blown out of proportion. It's not LaFleur's job to make decisions on contracts and the salary cap. That falls on Gutekunst and Russ Ball. They wanted to lower Jones's cap hit, and as he was unwilling to reduce his salary, they made a decision.

An argument can be made that Gutekunst handled it perfectly. He took the emotion out of it, made a tough decision, and ensured he signed an All-Pro to make up for losing Jones.

But Matthews is right that there should be better communication. It's not the first time we've heard that about the Packers' front office—*cough* Aaron Rodgers. That said, there has been a massive overreaction to LaFleur's comments at the NFL's owners meetings last week. He also said he was "super excited" to work with Josh Jacobs.

Gutekunst isn't afraid of the reaction to big decisions, and that's why he is perfect for the job. He is willing to make unpopular moves if it puts the Packers first.

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