The feud between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers has reached the point of relative silence.
Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, is providing non-answers about his future in Green Bay. The Packers’ front office, including team president Mark Murphy, only want to focus on the season ahead, whether it includes their star quarterback or not.
But the Packers still want Rodgers at quarterback, right? Well, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio has a different idea.
Mike Florio suggested the Packers don’t want Aaron Rodgers in training camp
If Rodgers is healthy and starting at quarterback, the Packers should always be considered a threat to contend for a Super Bowl title. The 2013 and 2017 teams will attest to what happens when he’s not starting for a full season.
Outside of Wisconsin, one would understandably think the Packers and their fans want Rodgers under center in Week 1 against Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints.
Florio, however, suggested that may not be the case. On a recent episode of the PFT PM podcast, Florio pondered if the Packers’ front office hopes Rodgers doesn’t back report to training camp and prepare for one last ride in Green Bay.
“Murphy, the guy who surely signed off on the drafting of Jordan Love in 2020, may be ready to turn the page, may be hoping that Rodgers doesn’t show up, and then [Rodgers] becomes the bad guy. The fans are always going to line up behind the laundry, especially in Green Bay, where plenty of fans own a piece of the laundry because they’re shareholders.”Mike Florio
Florio made it clear that he has no inside information on what Murphy or the Packers’ front office may or may not be thinking. The ProFootballTalk founder also said he believes Rodgers will wind up reporting to camp after all.
Florio’s reasoning makes perfect sense given the Packers’ history
The Packers are in an intriguing situation by their own doing. They’re not necessarily rebuilding yet, and they traded up to draft Love only months after Rodgers led the Packers to an NFC championship game appearance.
Florio’s theory that the Packers don’t want Rodgers to report has serious merit. This has nothing to do with the financial ramifications where Rodgers, who skipped all of the team’s offseason workouts, will forfeit over $35 million in total money if he doesn’t play for the Packers this season.
Rodgers and the Packers have been together since 2005, and he’s been the team’s full-time starting quarterback since 2008. If Tom Brady can’t finish his entire career with the New England Patriots, who expects Rodgers to do the same, especially after the team failed to communicate with him about using a first-round pick on a quarterback?
Florio put it perfectly in the podcast when he said Rodgers would become the “bad guy” if he doesn’t show up at training camp. History is written by the victors, and the Packers, for now, can control the narrative about their star quarterback if they so wish.
The Packers can then spin the narrative and encourage fans and the football world to give Love a chance. The organization already went through this with Brett Favre in 2008, and look how that ended. Two seasons after trading Favre, Rodgers and Packers held the Lombardi Trophy in jubilation at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Packers have no one but themselves to blame for the Rodgers fiasco
Even if the Packers do eventually control the narrative about Rodgers being the bad guy, it won’t change the reality of how poorly the team communicated with their quarterback throughout the process.
All of this should be a lesson to teams out there, whether it’s the Seahawks and Russell Wilson or the Browns and Baker Mayfield. Quarterbacks hold considerable leverage, and the league’s best signal-callers are the difference between a wild card berth and a top-10 draft pick. There is too much to lose by a failure to communicate in those situations.
With respect to Love, this is not a team that will likely make the postseason if Rodgers isn’t starting in 2021. Say what you want about Kirk Cousins, but he and the Vikings would instantly become NFC North Division favorites if Love starts in Green Bay.
However, there’s still a bit of time left for Rodgers and the Packers to put this behind them, at least for now, and partner for a final chance at returning to the Super Bowl. At least, that’s if the Packers want the reigning MVP to show up when training camp opens on July 27.