Aaron Rodgers is not at the first day of Green Bay Packers minicamp today, which means he can now be categorized as a holdout. The Packers can fine him for missing camp, or they can call his absence excused and not penalize the quarterback. Which choice they make will be our greatest indicator yet as to how things are going between the two sides now that Rodgers' displeasure is out in the open.
From what we the people can tell, Rodgers' camp is communicating with the organization, which means this isn't dead in the water like how Deshaun Watson refused to answer phone calls from the Texans earlier this year. The reigning MVP has made a media appearance here and there as an avenue to communicate his issues. Former teammates have also spoken up, which doesn't mean a lot in the big picture but they know how Rodgers ticks and as such hold more meaningful opinions than a talking head who doesn't know the man himself.
On that matter, former Green Bay receiver James Jones appeared on The Herd with Colin Cowherd today and gave his opinion on the situation and then some. Jones said he believes this still can be resolved and revealed he's spoken to Rodgers recently, who insisted to Jones (as he did to Kenny Mayne a few weeks ago) that GM Brian Gutekunst is not the problem here. Jones also said Rodgers is willing to work with the organization to fix whatever problems he has.
What makes this even more interesting than your average former NFL player media appearance is that Jones gives us at least a hint of what Rodgers' real problem is if it isn't just Gutekunst. From what Jones is saying, it seems Rodgers takes issue with how the Packers have watched a lot of key contributors leave over the years, whether it's Jordy Nelson or Clay Matthews or Jones himself. Green Bay is not big on handing out fat contracts to anybody and have long been a franchise that consistently builds from within. It has worked out often enough that they've had sustainable success, but it is undoubtedly frustrating for Rodgers to watch Nelson offer to take a pay cut, the Packers say no, and then he has to build up newfound chemistry with the low-cost replacements they bring in.
This clarity is good for Packers fans, but is more concerning than the possibility that he just wanted Gutekunst out of the building or wants a big new deal or whatever. These are deep-seated issues with the philosophy the team has towards building a contender. There isn't really an easy solution to that. As Jones notes, Rodgers knows what the deal is with the Packers, but it seems to boil down to the fact that Rodgers has watched important players (who are also his friends) leave because the Packers didn't want them and the onus is constantly put on him to make it work.
Key insight from Jones, but it certainly does not signify that a solution is on the horizon. In fact, the path towards a resolution seems muddier than ever before.