Time To Move On From Rodgers

I thought the Packers should trade Aaron Rodgers in 2021. The reigning MVP’s value would never be higher, and the team was coming off a disappointing loss in the NFC championship game. General manager Brian Gutekunst chose to hold onto his 37-year-old QB, and while I disagreed, I understood the thinking. I also thought the Packers should trade Rodgers last spring. The reigning MVP’s value would never be higher, and the team was coming off a disappointing loss in the divisional round. Gutekunst chose to hold onto his 38-year-old QB, and while I disagreed, I kind of understood the thinking.

Gutekunst will soon be faced with the same decision, and if he again chooses to keep his 39-year-old QB, I absolutely won’t understand the thinking. Moving on from Rodgers following 13-win seasons would’ve taken Ron Wolf-size balls, which his protege doesn’t own. But moving on following an 8-9 season doesn’t take big cojones; it just takes common sense.

If the window to getting to the Super Bowl was still half open in 2021 and a quarter open in 2022, it’s now closed shut. There’s nothing Gutekunst can do from March through August, or the coaching staff can do from September through December to make the Packers a legit threat to get to the Super Bowl. With a bloated salary cap that’ll make adding quality free agents next to impossible and a roster with more holes than Swiss cheese, even a 29-year-old Rodgers couldn’t navigate his way to the top of a much-improved NFC North and then through the Eagles and 49ers in the playoffs.

Of course, Rodgers hasn’t been 29 since the beginning of Barack Obama’s second term in the White House, and his age really started to show this season. Even before suffering a fractured right thumb on the last play of a Week 5 loss to the Giants, the four-time MVP and future first-ballot Hall of Famer was missing throws he would usually make in his sleep. He also struggled against pressure, which emboldened defensive coordinators to bring more heat. It was eye-opening to see Wink Martindale blitz Rodgers on over 40% of his dropbacks. It was even more startling to see him get away with it.

Yet, despite Rodgers’ declining skills, he’s still among the top 10 players at his position in the league going into next season. That’s not hyperbole. After Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, and the Chargers’ Justin Herbert, which QBs would rank ahead of Rodgers? Maybe Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Dallas’ Dak Prescott, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady, and a healthy Tua Tagovailoa. The point is, the soon-to-be quadragenarian should still be desirable to several teams. It’s just that the 2023 Packers shouldn’t be one of those teams.

Gutekunst has to accept reality and move on from Rodgers. He also needs to finally give Jordan Love an opportunity to show his stuff. Keeping a No. 1 draft pick on the bench for a fourth season would be nonsensical to the team and unfair to the player. Would the Packers be better with Love under center instead of Rodgers? Probably not, but finishing 7-10 with the young guy would be preferable to going 10-7 and getting knocked out in the wild-card round with the old guy. And any person taking a realistic view of the next 12 months would admit that the second scenario is probably the best case.

I’m not sure what Rodgers could fetch in a trade, and I don’t really care. If the Jets, Patriots, Titans, Raiders, Saints, Commanders, Seahawks, or any other team offers a high draft pick or two, Gutekunst should take it. The time to get the better of another general manager has come and gone. The time to get what you can and move on with life has arrived.

Gutekunst held onto Rodgers long enough to secure an extension last spring, so he’s not going anywhere for the next few years. Such security allows him to see if Love’s the long-term answer or draft another quarterback in 2024. Do I think Gutekunst will finally do what he should’ve done the past two springs? Not really, especially after hearing him speak at his end-of-the-season press conference a few weeks ago. But you never know. Maybe Gutekunst will finally come to his senses. Or maybe Rodgers will retire and walk away from $58M. To be honest, I’m not sure which is less likely.
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Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

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January 19, 2023 12:14 pm

I don’t think Gutekunst will trade him unless Rodgers specifically requests it. And even then, I’m positive Rodgers has a very short list of teams he’d be willing to report to. I can’t see a bidding war for his services now, so the Packers will have very little leverage. At this point I’d trade him for a conditional late round pick just to get the situation over with.

Richard Obrien
Richard Obrien
Reply to  Bryän
January 20, 2023 8:08 am

I don’t understand how you guys can be so silly! The time to trade Rodgers would have been last year. Now, Rodgers has all the leverage and we cannot afford to just let him walk away capwise. We might as well keep him since no one will trade for him with a 50 million dollar price tag. Love is not the answer. No one will offer anything for Love, who has no track record and is nearing the end of his rookie deal. Rodgers has the ability to veto any trade if he wants. Even if Rodgers retires, we still get clipped for a big salary cap hit. We need to work on getting players to re-work their salary cap numbers. The problem is that no team with a high draft pick, needing a quarterback will be attractive to Rodgers. Management screwed the pooch last year when they could have gotten Denver to give us the king’s ransom for Rodgers. Rodgers would have gone to Denver because of their head coach. The only cards we have left is to draft a right tackle, a safety, and pick up an experienced wide out with speed like DJ Moore, or Cooks from Houston.

Aron Van Cleave
Aron Van Cleave
January 19, 2023 12:26 pm

Agreed – time to move on.

January 19, 2023 12:33 pm

I think pretty much everyone agrees that Rodgers has to go. But does Murphy and Gutey and LaFleur? Probably doesn’t make a difference: this is 100% Rodgers decision, for better or worse. Ideally he retires. But I could see him wanting to go to a playoff-caliber team and getting a 3rd or 4th rounder.

While I agreed with Gutey last year in keeping Rodgers, it clearly was a mistake and now it’s Love’s time. With the development of the rookie WR’s and the addition of a TE, and the reality that they have an overall solid roster (not sure what the swiss cheese holes are) could I see Rodgers wanting one more shot with the Pack? I could, but I’m hoping not.

January 19, 2023 12:53 pm

Running it back with the same players and coaches makes no sense, but that’s what happens when the person in charge isn’t a football guy. I know Murphy played in the NFL, but that was a long time ago. He’s been more of a bean counter for the past 25 years. I don’t think we’d be in this mess if the GM actually had real power and wasn’t forced to check with Murphy on every big decision.

January 19, 2023 1:46 pm

I think Murphy has more to do with this than anyone. He lived through Favre’s departure during his first year on the job. I just don’t believe he’s got the stones to allow such a move. Gutey doesn’t help because he’s in over his head and certainly doesn’t have the stones. Lafleur doesn’t have any stones… so what makes anyone believe that anything will change. Rodgers is as bad as Favre with playing games. Heck, he most likely wants more money and he’s already playing GM. Rodham thinks he’s bigger than the team but Lafleur and Gutey have allowed this monster to grow and if someone doesn’t step in and stop it its going to destroy the franchise. It’s just crazy…

NY Packer Fan
NY Packer Fan
January 19, 2023 4:08 pm


January 19, 2023 4:42 pm

Yes, I agree. I really think this is a year of choosing between Rodgers and Love. If Gutekunst chooses Rodgers, I see Love’s agent pushing for a trade to give him a chance to play.

If Gutekunst chooses Love, directly or indirectly, I presume Rodgers will ask for a trade to a team of his choice in order to keep his high salary with options. I don’t see Gutekunst pushing a trade that Rodgers won’t agree to.

I don’t see Rodgers retiring since he still sees himself as an MVP candidate, and apparently gives little thought to the team seeking a Super Bowl slot.

I see Rodgers having to choose between keeping his buddies on the team and trying to win another MVP. His buddies aren’t helping him much.

January 19, 2023 8:53 pm

The Packers organization went from not even informing Rodgers they were trading up to draft his replacement to now where Rodgers is essentially Co-GM/Offensive Coordinator.

Rodgers played within LaFleur’s system the first year and the offense was fine. It’s regressed to McCarthy/Spread/Hero ball ever since. Rodgers wants to play spread so he can read the defense. He obviously doesn’t care that it’s ineffective, his comfort in the pocket comes first.

He couldn’t run spread with Davante and MVS. The Packers can’t bring in anyone close to Davante’s skill level so it’s senseless to bring Rodgers back for another year of spread. If he played within the system, that’s a whole different story. He won’t, at least not under LaFleur. LaFleur has ceded his authority to Rodgers and he won’t get it back. To be honest, LaFleur isn’t strong enough to attempt it.

Remember, Gutekunst/LaFleur were all looking for contract extensions when this first blew up. I’m speculating they sold the farm to Rodgers to get those extensions. Throwing a “not ready for prime time” Love to the wolves would endanger their jobs. Rodgers had them over a barrel and got a contract where he essentially controls the second year of it, which he wanted. The Packers acquiesced to it and here we are.

Pretty hard to move on after an MVP year but that’s not the case this year. You could probably swing a trade Rodgers is agreeable to. Rodgers had three shots in the 4th quarter the last three years. His QB rating is less than 40 in those 4th quarters combined. Three strikes and you’re out.

I remember the 70’s and 80’s well and I’ve been reluctant to let Rodgers go but the time has come. Get some draft picks and put Love on the field. Rodgers isn’t going to win a Super Bowl with the Jets, Raiders or Colts. If someone like Andy Reid or Shanahan got a hold of him that’s a whole different story.

Bill Michaels mentioned on his podcast the other night that the rumor is Murphy wants to go out a winner when he retires. Guessing that’s why Rodgers now runs the franchise.

January 19, 2023 10:45 pm

Good post Np40, I had a similar post all written ( not as good )but I screwed up the posting part. I’ve been around myself since the Scott Hunter days and boy the 70s and 80s were brutal.
Gutey played the big Gm by trading up in Rd 1 for Love which certainly looked to be Rodgers future replacement. Rodgers had just gone to a championship game with a horrible defensive performance was surely expecting a reload on defense at draft time , for years had lead the team to many playoff appearances, wasn’t talking retirement at the time , and certainly was embarrassed by the pick on national tv…..of course it’s understandable for him to be hurt by the thank you. A conversation between Gutey and Rodgers should have taken place before the draft about the possibility if a Qb with exciting potential becomes available they may take him to ensure the future of the organization.
Gutey created the fiasco and as a wise old man once told me …….if you started it then you finish it. Although I would have done it last year the time is definitely now to move on

January 20, 2023 7:21 am

I was ready to move on from Rodgers last off season especially when I saw what the Broncos gave up for Wilson but trading a reigning two time MVP would have been a PR disaster.

Getting hurt really impacted Rodgers throwing last year and there were times he looked like he would rather be someplace else. In fact there were times he looked like Jay Cutler on the bench.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Rodgers walk away from the $59 mil, to quote Andrew Brandt “he’s a different cat”. Of course it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in a Packer uniform next year nor would it surprise me to see him wearing a different uniform either.

January 20, 2023 4:48 pm

Agreed Larry.

Gutekunst created this mess by drafting up for Love. It was clear Rodgers had a couple more years left and moving up for Love was definitely a thumb in the eye. The team was a player or two away and he drafts for three years down the road. To be honest Dillon and Deguara were poor picks as well. Having A Jones onboard already.

How different this team would have looked with a top draft pick WR and defensive player in that draft plus you don’t insult Rodgers to the point of contemplating retirement and igniting this entire mess.

To be honest I had no problem with Rodgers press conference where he chastised the front office. Their arrogance was appalling. However, essentially making Rodgers de facto Co-GM/Coach is equally appalling. You’d like to think there’s a balance there somewhere.

Of course we’re talking about a group that let’s Amari Rodgers fumble punts for a year and a half, keeps Joe Barry around and needs an act of Congress to find a 3rd rd pick that can play in the NFL .

I have serious reservations about LaFleur. I’d like to see Love in his scheme for a year and see the results. Can he coach ? Is the scheme legit ? Or, was it Rodgers all along and we need a new staff ? These questions need to be answered for the future. Bringing back Rodgers to chuck up 4th quarter prayers just leaves us in the dark.

January 20, 2023 5:56 pm

LaFleur is not who we thought he was. . .

Who r Watson n Doubs going to be without AR12? I’m not trying to find out . .

Love is not going to b the answer.

And what does it matter who the QB is going to b when Joe fuggin Barry is still employed?

Give me the same AR12 from the 2022 Season with a quality defensive coordinator instead of Love/Barry DC, but it appears we ain’t getting that. . .

Settling for a small trade package – 1 or 2 picks – for a guy who can’t draft worth a shit, no thank you.

As bad as he was this season, he really gonna b that bad again? He’s still Top 10.

Yes, his buddies need to go, let’s hope they all retire.

Bryan Johnson
Bryan Johnson
January 21, 2023 3:32 pm

How do we know Love isn’t the answer? We haven’t seen much of anything to tell us what kind of player he is going to be. I remember 12’s first couple seasons were total duds, until all the sudden he was the man.

Tom M
Tom M
January 22, 2023 1:30 pm

There’s nothing wrong with this roster that better QB play can’t fix. Is Love the answer? We’ll find out. Rodgers clearly is not. Blame Gutekunst all you want but he gave Rodgers every opportunity to succeed in his final years as a Packer. He’s drafted well, spent money in free agency, and hired a young, innovative, offensive minded, head coach. With all efforts winning 39 games in three years. I’ve never thought Rodgers would be able to win another SB so I’ve been advocating a trade for awhile now. Still, I can’t blame Gutekunst for not making the trade. Aaron Rodgers isn’t just another football player, he’s a Packer icon with whom many fans are emotionally attached. They would have been up in arms had a trade been made. Would it have taken balls to trade Rodgers? Sure. But no bigger balls than it took to draft Jordan Love. The real question here isn’t, did we hold on to Rodgers too long? But rather do we have adequate replacement in Jordan Love? The answer seems to be yes. If so, then should thank Gutekunst for doing his job when fanboys thought Rodgers could play forever and ever.

Timothy Matacio
Timothy Matacio
January 26, 2023 10:06 am

I think Gutey deserves his share of heat, Amari Rodgers over AmanRa St. Brown for example, but all the Aaron Rodgers moves have Murphy’s fingerprints. He has 2 years left. Maybe the Packers will fare better with new leadership.

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