AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
The Green Bay Packers are apparently set to call Aaron Rodgers’ bluff.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said Monday on SportsCenter the Packers have no plans on trading their franchise quarterback and are “simply waiting this out” as mandatory minicamp approaches:
“We’re about to find out how serious Aaron Rodgers is about this absence and his frustration because if he doesn’t show up in a few weeks, the team can start fining him. Now, the receivers who missed last week in OTAs possibly because of Rodgers, they’ll likely be there, but there’s no promise that Rodgers will be there right now. So, the Packers, from what I’m told from people around the league, is they’re simply waiting this out. You know, they’re looking for solutions with Rodgers. They do not want to trade him; they made that clear publicly and privately. So, they’re hoping to mend fences here, and there’s really nothing concrete, any concrete way to do that right now, so they’re just trying to shake this out and see if he shows up really. And so if he does, they’re in much better shape. If he stays in Hawaii, maybe they have a much bigger problem here.”
The Packers are slated to hold mandatory workouts June 8-10. Rodgers, who has missed voluntary workouts, has not publicly indicated whether he plans to attend and is currently in Hawaii.
The team can fine Rodgers $95,877 if he is absent from the mandatory minicamp.
Rodgers requested a trade from the Packers following the 2020 season amid a falling out with management. The rift seemingly began when the team selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft and failed to address any immediate need in high-value rounds.
Rodgers spoke to Kenny Mayne last week on SportsCenter, repeatedly saying he wants to be involved with the right type of “people” at this stage in his career. Given his praise of Love and the Packers coaching staff, Rodgers not-so-subtly pointed the finger at general manager Brian Gutekunst.
“With my situation—look it’s never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan,” Rodgers told 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 fanbase 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.”
Rodgers’ disdain for Gutekunst has been well-reported as the situation progressed. Bob McGinn of The Athletic reported Rodgers referred to Gutekunst as “Jerry Krause” in team group chats. Krause, the architect of the 1990s Chicago Bulls, also took a lion’s share of the blame for the team’s premature breakup amid a falling out with coach Phil Jackson, arguments with Scottie Pippen over his contract and a tense relationship with Michael Jordan.
At this point, it is unclear if Rodgers is willing to return to Green Bay if Gutekunst remains as general manager.
What is clear, however, is the Packers seem willing to sit around and wait to find out how far Rodgers is going to push the issue.