What does the future hold for the Green Bay Packers? Answering that question seems impossible based on the ongoing power struggle between Aaron Rodgers and the only NFL franchise he’s ever played for. The addition of Blake Bortles added another intriguing layer to a story that has dominated headlines the last few weeks.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the most important position in sports, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur tried to provide some clarity about the two veteran quarterbacks. However, Green Bay fans shouldn’t buy anything he tried to sell about a situation that gets more interesting by the day.
Green Bay’s quarterback room is full of question marks
The Packers have three first-round quarterbacks on their roster…for now. Somehow, though, Rodgers looks like the least likely candidate to stick around in Green Bay. Because despite winning NFL MVP honors for the third time in his career, the 37-year-old may have already played his final snap for the reigning NFC North champions.
Rodgers has made it clear he wants a change of scenery. Based on the way the front office handled the roster over the years, it’s understandable why the future Hall of Famer has had enough. After all, the Packers haven’t exactly done right by their biggest star in terms of investing in offensive weapons in the NFL draft.
In 2020, Green Bay bypassed the chance to give Rodgers some direct help in favor of selecting his potential successor. But after spending his entire rookie season on the bench, Jordan Love is still an unknown commodity. Considered more of a developmental prospect, he has a long way to go to prove he deserves to unseat a future Hall of Famer.
Bortles, who recently joined the team on a one-year deal, also has to answer questions about his abilities. After starting 73 games from 2014-18, the former Jacksonville Jaguars signal-caller has essentially spent two full seasons on the sidelines.
Matt LaFleur issues comments on Aaron Rodgers and Blake Bortles
Packers fans haven’t heard a peep out of LaFleur since the conclusion of the 2021 NFL draft. After staying silent for weeks, the third-year head coach finally spoke with the media Friday. To no surprise, he addressed the biggest elephant in the room: Rodgers’ future.
“I’ve got nothing new to update, and we still obviously feel the same way,” LaFleur said during a press conference after rookie minicamp practice. “We want him back in the worst way. I know he knows that, and we’ll continue to work at it each and every day.”
Green Bay says it doesn’t want to trade Rodgers, but signing Bortles did little to quiet rumors about a future shakeup at the position. And the way LaFleur spoke so highly about the first-round flameout raised a few eyebrows.
“Shoot, he led his team to the AFC Championship Game [in 2017], and I mean they were close to knocking off the Patriots in New England,” he said of Bortles. “He’s got a lot of experience, and that’s something that you can never take for granted.”
Packers fans shouldn’t buy anything LaFleur tried to sell about the two signal-callers
Delusional might be too strong of a word. However, LaFleur’s comments about Rodgers and Bortles don’t reflect reality.
How can he seriously claim the team wants Rodgers back in the worst way? If that were the case, why draft Love in the first place? That move alone sent a clear signal that the franchise had started planning for life after No. 12.
Did drafting a defensive back in the first round show Rodgers any commitment to making his life easier? Don’t forget Green Bay used eight straight first-round picks on defensive players from 2012-19. That’s not a recipe for making your franchise quarterback happy.
In addition, LaFleur’s assessment of Bortles is a prime example of a coach trying to do a really good sales job. The Jaguars didn’t get to the AFC title game because of their quarterback. They came close to knocking off the Patriots because of an uber-talented defense that featured enormous star power.
As for all that experience Bortles has? Packers fans shouldn’t be inspired by a player who led the NFL in interceptions in 2015 and posted a 24-49 record as a starter before Jacksonville finally pulled the plug on the third player taken in the 2014 NFL draft.
At the end of the day, LaFleur’s optimistic outlook doesn’t match up with the truth. Because barring a complete 180, Rodgers seems destined to throw his next pass as a member of another NFL team. And Bortles shouldn’t be considered any type of fallback plan based on how his career has gone since he nearly “led” the Jaguars to a Super Bowl appearance.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.