Aaron Rodgers' relationship with the Green Bay Packers is a major topic right now, even as the quarterback tried to put some toothpaste back in the tube. It doesn't seem entirely great from the outside, especially to people whose only motivation is seeing one of the best quarterbacks to ever play realize his full potential and make a second Super Bowl run with the only franchise that's ever had him on payroll.
Rodgers is notoriously cagey, to the point where it feels like he plays both sides of the fence. So even if you wanted to understand his feelings and motivations, it would take most of an afternoon to sift through the text and subtext. As a person without access, I'm left to find out how everyone really feels based on the decision going forward. Either the situation is salvageable and the marriage continues, or there's a somewhat amicable split, complete with a thanks-for-the-memories note.
If I were the Packers, I'd try to mend things. If I were Rodgers, the decision would be more difficult.
What's clearer is what I'd do if I were a front-office type with the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, or Minnesota Vikings. If you fit that bill and notice some friction in Northern Wisconsin, don't you try to build it into a fire? Don't you do your damndest to make things seem extremely dire to intensify and prolong the public conversation?
That's, like, Day One Machiavellian stuff. Drive the guy who you can't beat out of the division. Let him be someone else's problem. Make the Los Angeles Rams lose two games a year to him. Anything to improve your own path to contention.
So I'm not saying that's what's going on here, with rival execs and head coaches crafting a narrative from afar that things have gone nuclear in Green Bay. But I'm not not saying it either because, if true, they should be applauded for it.
From CBS's Jason LaCanfora:
""Everything you said is true," the head coach said to me about all of the potential roadblocks his team might face to a Rodgers trade, "but trust me we want in on this thing. It's never really been good between him and the coach. It's been a long feeling-out process, and it looks like it's over. Aaron knows exactly what he is saying and exactly what he is doing.""
"An NFL assistant coach said: "It's been the worst kept secret in football. I don't think they've ever really won him over. Last year they held him back, and then they picked his replacement in the draft. This guy is nothing if not calculated. He's sending a signal to the rest of the league – Come and get me.""
""How about talking to your quarterback first before you put out that statement, or just waiting to see if he says it for himself?" said one long-time NFL executive. "Totally tone deaf. That's exactly what not to do. That thing is going to go nuclear. Trust me. The quarterback wants out.""
That's a lot of sources confident Rodgers wants out and that there's a brewing Chernobyl under a situation that's already seemed to calm a bit. They may all be correct! We'll see.
As a Lions fans, I certainly hope some are located in the Motor City. Because accelerating Rodgers' departure from the schedule is one of the best things the franchise could do to accelerate its own rebuild. In fact, I'd be bummed if they all weren't trying to pull some strings and flap their gums to make things worse for the Packers in the court of public opinion, which can so often only exist via anonymous quotes.
Very savvy stuff. Potentially.