GREEN BAY, Wis. – Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is so fed up with the Green Bay Packers that he wants out, a desire that Hall of Fame quarterback and “NFL on FOX” analyst Terry Bradshaw called “weak.”
While Rodgers’ frustration stems in large part from last year’s first-round selection of Jordan Love, it has nothing to do with the presence of Love, as Bradshaw would have you believe.
“Him being that upset shows me how weak he is,” Bradshaw said on Monday to “Moose and Maggie” on WFAN in New York, with the transcript coming courtesy of Audacy. “Who the hell cares who you draft? He’s a three-time MVP in the league and he’s worried about this guy they drafted last year at No. 1?
“...And for him to be upset, my god, I don’t understand that. Pittsburgh drafted Mark Malone No. 1, Cliff Stoudt in the third or fourth round – I had them coming at me from all angles. I embraced it, because when we went to practice, I wasn’t worried about those guys. They didn’t scare me a bit. So, I don’t understand why he’s so upset at Green Bay.”
No, Bradshaw obviously doesn’t understand.
The moment the general manager Brian Gutekunst drafted Love in 2020, Rodgers’ career in Green Bay was put on the clock. Rodgers’ reaction was anything but “weak.” He won his third MVP with one of the great seasons in the NFL history.
Before the NFC Championship Game, he called his future a “beautiful mystery.” After the game, a bitter 31-26 loss, he said, “A lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain – myself included.”
That uncertainty lingered into the offseason. As was the case on draft night a year ago, everything is lined up for the Packers to release or trade Rodgers after the 2021 season and hand the team to Love. With Rodgers’ contract untouched, they’d create $22.6 million of badly needed cap space by parting ways with their legendary quarterback. That, in turn, would give Love a full season as the starter in 2022 and allow the team to make an informed decision about activating his fifth-year option, which must be done after his third season.
From Rodgers’ perspective, shifting money from 2021 to 2022 and beyond would make it more likely that he’d start and finish his career with the Packers – his long-stated desire. Moreover, it would have provided money for Guekunst to add to a championship-caliber roster, though the wave of restructures already have the Packers in a deep financial hole for 2022.
From Gutekunst’s perspective, he appears to be walking a pair of tightropes. One, he wants to win now but not cripple the team’s financial future by restructuring too many contracts. Two, it seems as if he’s leaving his options open by not committing to either of his quarterbacks. It’s almost as if his intention is to wait and see to what degree Love progresses this summer during training camp and preseason before deciding on whether he’d recommit to the quarterback who led the team to a Super Bowl championship in 2010 and four NFC Championship Games the past seven seasons.
That set off all the calamity from last week, starting on Thursday with ESPN.com’s report that Rodgers wants out and culminating on Saturday with the Yahoo! report that Rodgers wants Gutekunst removed as general manager.
Bradshaw has chosen the team’s side in the dispute, and that’s fine. There are arguments to be made on both sides of the debate. But to call Rodgers “weak” – remember, he played through 2018 with a tibial plateau fracture and sprained MCL – is simply a clueless take for someone who should know better.