It’s difficult to believe the Packers are going to have to endure another drama involving their star quarterback, but perhaps that’s the price a team has to pay for greatness at the game’s most important position. Very few of these relationships end well, and while it may be annoying, it sure beats the heck out of the alternative. Just ask fans of the Bears. Anyway, here are three more Aaron Rodgers-related thoughts that went through my mind recently:
1) NFL Network insider Ian Rapaport reported that GM Brian Gutekunst’s decision to release Jake Kumerow one day after Rodgers went out of his way to publicly praise the journeyman wide receiver was the straw that broke the camel’s back in the already tenuous relationship between the star quarterback and the team. And while it’s easy – and fair – to criticize Rodgers for getting so upset over a receiver who’s caught a total of 21 passes in six seasons with five different teams, this incident also shows just how little feel Gutekunst has for the face of his franchise. He knew how much he angered Rodgers by drafting Jordan Love only a few months earlier, and yet instead of extending him a small olive branch in the way of retaining Kumerow, he chose to literally cut it off. By the way, here are some of the players Gutekunst wound up keeping on the 53-man roster: tackle Yosh Nijman, wide receivers Equanimeous St. Brown and Malik Taylor, and outside linebackers Jonathan Garvin and Randy Ramsey.
2) The Packers have apparently known about Rodgers’ unhappiness for several months, so why didn’t Gutekunst keep Tim Boyle instead of letting him sign a one-year deal worth $2.55 million with the Lions? Placing a second-round tender on the restricted free agent would’ve guaranteed his return to Green Bay for a fourth season. The cost would’ve been $2.13 million, which is about how much Gutekunst paid Will Redmond and Tyler Lancaster. Considering the circumstances, wouldn’t a quarterback who knows the system inside and out be more beneficial than having a couple of journeyman defensive players? If Rodgers doesn’t change his mind, Gutekunst will now need to find a veteran to either back up Love or start until he’s deemed ready. There’s not much out there in the way of talent, and unlike Boyle, any new quarterback will have to learn a complex offense in a very short amount of time.
3) If the Packers ultimately decide to trade Rodgers, the preferable time to do it would be after the season. That’s because whichever team acquires Rodgers would almost certainly make the playoffs, so any picks acquired in the next few months would likely wind up being very late in each round. Waiting until 2022 would allow Gutekunst to trade Rodgers to a franchise with more desirable picks, or at the very least, insist on additional compensation. Of course, waiting is a lot easier said than done. Once camp starts in late July, every day Rodgers isn’t around will be a distraction (i.e. the summer of Favre in 2008). And if he does reluctantly report at some point, the distraction will be even greater. There’s really no scenario in this whole ugly situation in which the Packers come out ahead. That it’s gotten to this point is simply inexcusable and makes you wonder whether the right men are leading the organization.