GREEN BAY, Wis. – Former Green Bay Packers receiver James Jones, who remains close to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, believes the disgruntled NFL MVP will be present for the start of training camp in late July.
“He’s willing to go in there and make sure that they can get this thing right and go out there and put the best football team on the field and compete for a championship. That’s why I truly believe that he will be there for training camp, this will get fixed, and I think the relationship will get much better between him and the GM,” Jones told Colin Cowherd.
Jones, who says he talks frequently to Rodgers, wouldn’t share what Rodgers’ top grief is with the franchise and general manager Brian Gutekunst. However, he did say it wasn’t about past drafts – such as the 2020 draft that landed a first-round quarterback (Jordan Love) and a second-round running back (AJ Dillon), two players who would do nothing to help the team take the next step after reaching the NFC Championship Game in 2019.
“He doesn’t care who you bring in there,” Jones said. “He wants to keep some of the guys that have been in that building and helped the team win, whether you think they may be done. He’s seen a lot of guys walk out of that building and go play very good football. It’s not just about this past season. It goes back. There’s a lot built into it.”
Jones mentioned some obvious names, such as receiver Jordy Nelson and cornerback Charles Woodson. The Packers have generally gone with the personnel theory that it is better to get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late. Most of those decisions have been correct from a production standpoint if not from a bigger-picture perspective.
“A lot of guys like that that may not be scoring 15 touchdowns or getting 15 sacks or 15 interceptions, but these dudes are big in the locker room for the young fellas. They’re key parts to this team to go win a championship. I think that’s what’s most important to him.”
This past offseason, Gutekunst kept running back Aaron Jones and tight end Marcedes Lewis. But, with the COVID-impacted salary cap, the team lost standout center Corey Linsley. The favorite to replace him is rookie Josh Myers.
“It’s not about who you’re bringing in. I can’t control who you draft, I can’t control who you bring in in free agency,” Jones said. “But what I do want a little input on is the guys that you’re letting out of the building. You’ve got guys like Jordy Nelson who are willing to take a pay cut to play and you say, ‘No, get out of here’ anyway. Sometimes, that can tick you off a little bit. Jordy Nelson could finish sentences for Aaron Rodgers.
“I think it’s the guys getting out of the building, that he’s seen walking out of the building and still wanted to be in Green Bay and still could have been contributors to winning a championship that you let out of the building, that’s the most frustrating part to him, I believe.”