The NFL world was thrown for a loop on Thursday night when we learned that Aaron Rodgers didn’t want to play for the Packers anymore. Already bursting from the seams with NFL Draft story lines, the social media landscape exploded with takes, many of which treated Rodgers as a victim who was poorly supported by the Green Bay organization, never mind the fact that the future Hall of Famer had won a Super Bowl championship and three MVP awards during his time with the franchise.
Oh my goodness! Nine defensive guys! Can you imagine? The Packers are trying to screw over Aaron Rodgers by selecting players that he doesn’t play with on the field at the same time! Let’s also forget inconvenient facts like there being other ways besides the draft to acquire players and that Green Bay got a tremendous value by getting top Rodgers target Davante Adams in the second round instead of the first.
Also, maybe the front office made defense such a high priority BECAUSE Rodgers is so incredible. Whatever malpractice the organization was committing was good enough to win 13 regular season games last year as well as an MVP award for Rodgers. How much more support did he need? If I told you that you were in charge of a team with an elite quarterback who already had all the tools around him that he needed to succeed, which side of the ball would you prioritize in the draft? Choosing defense is just common sense.
Especially when one of those terrible defensive players, Jaire Alexander, that Green Bay “wasted” first round picks on ends up intercepting Tom Brady TWICE in the NFC Championship game and Rodgers’s juggernaut offense can’t capitalize. Maybe Rodgers should look in the mirror before pointing fingers at the front office. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst might not be a top NFL executive, but in choosing the future of the franchise over one player, he avoided the pitfall that I saw my Giants fall in when they moved heaven and earth to keep Eli Manning happy towards the end of his career.
I admit that catering to Rodgers is different than catering to Manning, but Gutekunst was able to have his cake and eat it too in 2020. He drafted what he thinks is his future franchise quarterback and the current franchise quarterback still had one of his best seasons ever. And it might have been even better if Rodgers could have just taken advantage of three second-half interceptions by Brady and taken the Packers to the Super Bowl.
The best part is that Rodgers wouldn’t even be with the Packers if management back in 2005 had done what everyone WANTS current management to do now and sucked up to Brett Favre. Instead, Green Bay drafted Rodgers and ended up having no gap in legendary quarterback play even after Favre left for greener pastures. Does this mean that Jordan Love will be another Hall of Famer? Probably not, but the point remains that using a high draft pick on a quarterback before you desperately need that quarterback is a perfectly fine long-term strategy.
And Rodgers doesn’t have to like that strategy. It makes sense that he doesn’t since he’s at the tail end of his career and wants to win now. But he still was able to win now and had every opportunity to lead his team to the Super Bowl. Being unhappy with a management decision is one thing. Letting it leak out so that the media pressures the team into making certain types of decisions is something else. Just keep it in house. And maybe if you get grouchy remember that you’ve got a Super Bowl ring, multiple MVP trophies, more money than you know what to do with, a smoking hot wife, and perhaps the best pass-catcher in the league who it just so happens wasn’t drafted in the first round.