The Green Bay Packers’ controversial draft decisions have surprised and alienated quarterback Aaron Rodgers, according to former player Brett Favre. The Packers quarterback legend has spoken with his replacement Rodgers, now 36, and explained that the former Super Bowl MVP is struggling to see the reasons behind the Packers’ moves throughout the draft.
In the latter stages of the first round, Matt LaFleur and the front office of Green Bay made the decision to trade four places to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick. Many expected the Packers to boost the talent around their star quarterback by dipping into the deep class of wide receivers, but instead they chose to pick up only linemen and linebackers. It has now been five years since the Packers drafted a wide receiver in the first few rounds.
After Green Bay’s surprising decision to pick a quarterback in the first round, speculation has been rife over Rodger’s future with the Pack and Brett Favre believes that the 36-year-old will not finish his career in Wisconsin.
“They don’t draft any weapons, not just in the first round, but any weapons that can help immediately, to my knowledge. And that just sends a disrespectful message to Aaron Rodgers,” Brett Favre told NBC Sports Network last week. “He has every right to be disappointed if he is.”
“I’m not going to talk about all that we talked about, but he was, let’s just say, surprised that they went in that direction,” the 50-year-old said.
“Green Bay’s not going anywhere without Aaron Rodgers in the next few years,” he added. “If he plays like we expect him to play, they’ve got a shot with or without a first-round receiver. So I would do all I could to not burn that bridge, and I don’t think they did that. I think they burned a bridge that’s going to be hard to overcome. At some point, I think it will rear its ugly head.”
The similarity between Rodger’s current situation and the one that Brett Favre himself faced in 2005 is stark. Like Favre, Rodgers has won one Super Bowl with the Packers and now finds himself in a scenario where he still feels he can play at a peak level, but his team has drafted a potential replacement at a surprising time. Back then, it was Rodgers that was doing the replacing, but Favre believes the California-born slinger can draw on that experience to help him now.
“I’m not surprised that he reached out to Jordan, being in a similar situation himself 15 years ago,” Favre said. “And we had a great relationship in spite of all that. I wouldn’t say it took a turn for the worst when I left, but he was basically caught up in the middle of a hornet’s nest, if you will. I don’t foresee that happening here. I think Aaron will do whatever. It’s not his job to mentor Jordan Love.”
“Isn’t it about winning now?” Favre added. “That pick says, ‘No.’” Overall, it says Aaron, you’re on your own, buddy,” Favre said. “You and Davante Adams. I said, Aaron, do you ever look around and say, ‘I feel like the odd man out?’” Favre said. “And he said, ‘Yeah.’”
Rumours of a strained relationship between Rodgers and rookie head coach Matt LaFleur were constant throughout the early stages of the 2019 campaign, but as the Packers eased to a 13-3 finish it appeared to most that any tension between the pair had been smoothed over.
However, long-time Packers reporter Bob McGinn claims that Green Bay’s moves in the draft were pre-calculated and indicate LaFleur’s annoyance with Rodgers and his attitude.
“Public niceties aside, my sense is [coach Matt] LaFleur, fresh from a terrific 13-3 baptismal season, simply had enough of [Aaron] Rodgers’ act and wanted to change the narrative. With a first-round talent on the roster, the Packers would gain leverage with their imperial quarterback and his passive-aggressive style. If the Packers do indeed want to become a running team next season, they surely wouldn’t want Rodgers rocking the boat and becoming even more difficult to coach,” McGinn wrote for the Athletic.
McGinn went on to suggest that LaFleur had found Rodgers ‘difficult’ to coach and that the veteran quarterback continued to be passive aggressive throughout the season. Despite Rodger’s upbeat words in the media about the changes LaFleur and his staff made, it seems that cracks have been developing in the relationship for a while, and it may be a real possibility that we see Aaron Rodgers in a different NFL jersey.
If this is truly the route the Packers want to take, they will encounter big obstacles, however, as letting Rodgers go before June 1, 2021 would have a major effect on the franchise’s salary cap.