The latest episode of the Aaron Rodgers saga centers on a Rodgers' text, the Denver Broncos and statements by Brett Favre and former teammate John Kuhn.
Let's start with Kuhn, who was a Packers fullback from 20017 to 2015, remains a golfing buddy of Rodgers' and talked to the former Cal quarterback since the news broke that Rodgers is dissatisfied with his situation in Green Bay.
When speaking on CBS Radio Wednesday night, Kuhn said Rodgers is "conflicted" about his situation, but added this, according to ESPN.com:
"I still think it's somewhere around 70, 75 percent that Aaron Rodgers is the starting quarterback for the Packers this year."
Kuhn said he does not believe reports that Rodgers would not return if Brian Gutekunst remains the Packers' general manager.
"I still believe there's an opportunity at a resolution here. I just think it's going to take two men that are dug in right now and try to meet in the middle somewhere they're both happy."
Kuhn's opinion is different from that of Brett Favre as noted later in this report, and Rodgers hinted at his opinion of Gutekunst with a text that is gathering interest after being reported by The Athletic, which reported this:
According to sources, Rodgers has mocked [Brian] Gutekunst in group chats with his teammates in Green Bay by referring to the GM as Jerry Krause. The late Krause, the general manager of the Chicago Bulls during their run of six NBA championships, was loathed by Michael Jordan for some personnel moves with which Jordan disagreed.
Rodgers has noted his admiration for Jordan in the past.
The Athletic also reported that the Packers offered to make Rodgers the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback, but Rodgers turned it down. This suggests Rodgers' dissatisfaction is nit about money.
Let's move on to the Broncos, which seem to be the team most interested in pursuing a trade to get Rodgers, but they appear to be one of the two teams the Packers reportedly believe has tampered with the former Cal quarterback.
Reports from a number of media outlets suggest that the Broncos will be the most aggressive in pursuing Rodgers.
The Broncos recently acquired quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in a trade with the Carolina Panthers, but Denver may want to improve the position further since it is the one position that seems to be holding the Broncos back.
Despite a roster that appears to be adequate at nearly every position, the Broncos finished just 5-11 last season because of subpar quarterback play, primarily from Drew Lock, who remains on the roster.
The Broncos may feel an elite quarterback could get them over the hump.
In any case, a trade for Rodgers is unlikely to occur until after June 1, when the Packers’ salary-cap situation would change.
There are suspicions that the Broncos have already begun their pursuit of Rodgers and perhaps overstepped their bounds.
In his assessment of the Rodgers situation, ESPN’s Rob Denovsky reported the Packers are unhappy because they believe tampering has taken place with regard to Rodgers. It is believed that the Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers are the teams the Packers suspect of tampering, although Green Bay has not filed an official complaint with the league.
The suspicion is that those two teams contacted Rodgers to determine whether he would be interested in playing for those teams if they attempted to trade for him.
Rodgers does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, but he could simply refuse to play for a team if he does not want to play there.
Here is the NFL’s definition of tampering;
The term tampering, as used within the National Football League, refers to any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL.
If officials from another team tried to contact Rodgers or his agent for the possible purpose of obtaining him that would seem to constitute tampering since Rodgers is under contract with the Packers.
However, tampering is difficult to prove, as the Packers found out in 2008 when they filed tampering charges against the Minnesota Vikings when Brett Favre was on the trading block. That charge was not upheld by the league.
Favre would seem to have a pretty good handle on Rodgers’ situation and said during an appearance on ESPN Wisconsin radio's Wilde & Tausch that he does not expect Rodgers to be with the Packers next season.
"Boy it's a good question; that's the million-dollar question," Favre said when questioned whether Rodgers will remain in Green Bay. "I think I know Aaron fairly well, and honestly I just don't see him coming back and just saying, 'All right, let's just bury the hatchet, whatever caused the rift, and I'm just going to come back and play because I love the guys, I love the Green Bay fans' -- I assume he does -- but his rift isn't with the fans or the players. It's with the front office. Will he just swallow his pride and come in? Maybe. But I don't see that happening.
"If there's not a trade, my gut tells me that he'd rather sit out than play. That's just my gut. There's no reason for me to say that other than that's what my gut's telling me, and I think you guys know Aaron fairly well enough to sort of feel the same way."
Favre compared Rodgers' situation to Barry Sanders' 1999 situation. Sanders apparently wanted to be traded from the Lions and threatened the retire if he wasn't dealt. He was not traded, and Sanders did, in fact, retire, even though he had rushed for 1,491 yards the year before and had been named the NFL's MVP two years earlier, when he ran for over 2,000 yards.
Teams continued to make trade offers for Sanders believing that his retirement announcement was not genuine, but he never played again.
Cover photo of Aaron Rodgers by Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports
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