GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said the Packers are committed to quarterback Aaron Rodgers “beyond” the upcoming season, but Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst provided no hint of a resolution at the annual shareholders meeting.
That hint came as Murphy spoke on Monday, one day before Rodgers and the rest of the veterans are supposed to report to training camp and two days before the first practice.
As Murphy's address shifted to the Titletown development, the Milwaukee Bucks' NBA championship and the NFL's ever-changing COVID protocols, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport provided some optimism. Rapoport, citing "people close" to the quarterback, said "the expectation" is Rodgers will play for the Packers this season.
If Rodgers does return, the next burning question is for how long. Would it be only for 2021 with the expectation of a trade in 2022? In other words, would this be a "Last Dance" with the team that drafted him in 2005? Or can the two sides find some common ground to keep Rodgers in Green Bay for the long haul?
That is a question for another day, though. Gutekunst retained most of the key players from last year's team, which reached a second consecutive NFC Championship Game. If Rodgers plays, the Packers obviously would be on the short list of championship contenders.
“We want him back. We’re committed to him for 2021 and beyond,” Murphy said. “He is our leader, and we’re looking forward to winning another Super Bowl with him.”
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In his state-of-the-team address, Gutekunst mentioned Rodgers continuing his Hall of Fame trajectory by winning NFL MVP honors last season. Turning to 2021, Gutekunst said the Packers “have a strong returning nucleus” as they attempt to build off a 2020 season in which they led the NFL in scoring.
Rodgers was the first player Gutekunst mentioned when discussing that nucleus, but he quickly added that there’s been no resolution.
“We have been working tirelessly with Aaron and his representation to resolve the issues he has raised this offseason, and we remain hopeful for a positive resolution,” he said.
In his final comments about the quarterback before turning to other matters, Murphy seemed to send a message to the fans/owners in attendance on a hot and sunny Monday who might have turned on the three-time MVP through the months-long saga.
“Obviously, it’s been a challenging situation for both Aaron and us as an organization,” Murphy said. “But let’s not forget all the great things Aaron has done for this organization. Three-time MVP, Super Bowl champion. It’s easy to forget that but he’s a phenomenal talent. We’re happy to have him.”
Left tackle David Bakhtiari chided Rodgers for keeping him out of the loop.