Aaron Rodgers’s rift with the Packers front office appeared to worsen on Tuesday as the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player skipped the opening of Green Bay’s mandatory minicamp.
The 37-year-old quarterback’s absence comes after surrendered a $500,000 bonus by skipping the team’s voluntary organized team activities last month. Rodgers could be fined up to $93,085 if he misses all three days of Packers minicamp, according to multiple reports. However, Rodgers has over $240 million in career earnings, and recently ended a stint as guest host of Jeopardy.
Rodgers is entangled in a tense holdout he said is tied to the team’s management of the roster and communication with the front office. He told members of the organization he wants a trade and will not play in Green Bay again.
In late April, NFL Network reported that Rodgers was frustrated by contract extension negotiations and was seeking ‘contractural security’ in a deal that would prevent the need for any future restructuring – a common practice by NFL teams with their highest-paid players.
Aaron Rodgers’s rift with the Packers front office appeared to worsen on Tuesday as the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player skipped the opening of Green Bay’s mandatory minicamp
In the absence of starter Aaron Rodgers, backup Packers quarterback Jordan Love hands off to Aaron Jones during the opening day of minicamp in Green Bay on Tuesday
In any case, team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst insist there’s no trade coming for Rodgers, despite inquiries from multiple teams, including the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.
With Rodgers staying away — he’s been training in California and recently vacationed in Hawaii — the Packers are using 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love at quarterback with the first-team offense.
If he sticks to his holdout stance or retires, Rodgers has a base salary of $14.7 million in 2021 he’d forfeit. He could also be forced to pay back previously earned bonuses.
Speaking with ESPN in late May, Rodgers confirmed the reported rift between himself and the team, but clarified a few details.
According to multiple reports, Rodgers told the Packers he will not play for them next season and requested a trade after being approached about a pay cut. A number of members of management and head coach Matt LaFleur have reportedly taken trips to meet with Rodgers in person sine the rift began.
Rodgers did not address the specifics of the feud ESPN’s Kenny Mayne on May 25, but did stress that he has no problem with Love, his teammates, or his coaches.
‘With my situation, look it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,’ Rodgers said to Mayne. ‘I love Jordan; he’s a great kid. (We’ve had) a lot of fun to work together. Love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. An incredible 16 years. It’s just kind of about a philosophy and maybe forgetting that it is about the people that make the thing go.
‘It’s about character, it’s about culture, it’s about doing things the right way.’
This image released by Jeopardy Productions, Inc. shows Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers as he guest hosts the game show ‘Jeopardy!’
Rodgers thinks the fact that he won MVP may have factored into the issues with the front office.
‘A lot of this (drama) was put in motion last year, and the wrench was just kind of thrown into it when I won MVP and played the way I played last year,’ Rodgers told ESPN. ‘This is just kind of, I think, a spill-out of all that. But it is about the people, and that’s the most important thing.
‘Green Bay has always been about the people — from Curly Lambeau being owner and founder to the ’60s with (Vince) Lombardi and Bart Starr and all those incredible names to the ’90s teams with coach (Mike) Holmgren and Favrey (Brett Favre) and the Minister of Defense (Reggie White) to the run that we’ve been on. It’s about the people. …
‘I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a number of amazing, amazing people and got to work for some amazing people as well. It’s those people that build foundation of those entities. I think sometimes we forget that.’
The overarching issue between Gutekunst and Rodgers came to the surface prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, but underlying friction has existed since the Packers selected Love in the first round of the 2020 draft.
At rookie minicamp following the draft, LaFleur said again the Packers wanted Rodgers to return ‘in the worst way.’
‘As we’ve stated since the season ended, we are committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond,’ Gutekunst told ESPN. ‘Aaron has been a vital part of our success and we look forward to competing for another championship with him leading our team.’
Rodgers made cryptic comments before the 2020 NFC title game, saying his future is a ‘beautiful mystery.’
Jordan Love was a surprise first-round pick by the Packers in 2020. His arrival seemed to suggest that Rodgers’s days in Green Bay were numbered until the longtime starter went on to earn his third MVP award in 2020
The Packers have shown no interest in trading him, and according to ESPN, turned down offers from the Los Angeles Rams, who ultimately dealt for the Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Rodgers has played his entire 16-year NFL career with the Packers, winning three MVP awards and Super Bowl XLV over that time.
He is signed through the 2023 season, but has an out clause in his contract that could allow him to become a free agent in the summer of 2022. Rodgers has earned more than $240 million in salary over his 16-year career.
Rodgers has been busy this off-season.
In addition to a stretch hosting Jeopardy, he revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley when he accepted his third MVP award back in February.
Rodgers’s trade value is buoyed by his own recent success after leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.7) and touchdown passes (48) in 2020, while throwing just five interceptions.
In addition to a stretch hosting Jeopardy, he revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley when he accepted his third MVP award back in February. This photo is from April