GREEN BAY, Wis. – For a kid with a sweet tooth, there’s no harm in asking mom or dad to stop at Dairy Queen for a Blizzard.
For the San Francisco 49ers, who have a championship-caliber team but lack a championship-caliber quarterback, there’s no harm in asking the Green Bay Packers about the availability of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the 49ers inquired about the three-time MVP’s availability. Presumably, any such deal would have involved the third pick of tonight’s NFL Draft as a starting point. According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, “a few teams” called about Rodgers.
Presumably, those phone calls were met with the same response general manager Brian Gutekunst had for reporters on Monday.
“Aaron’s our guy. He’s going to be our quarterback for the foreseeable future,” Gutekunst said.
The relationship between Rodgers and the team that drafted him in the first round in 2005 has been an open and unresolved question for 12 months, dating to the team’s startling decision to select quarterback Jordan Love in the first round last year.
While Rodgers won his third MVP and led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game last season, nothing really has changed regarding his future with the team from a contractual perspective. The team can still move on from Rodgers after this season and save more than $22.6 million against the 2022 salary cap. Given the investment in Love and the team’s gruesome cap for 2022 – they are $8 million over the projected cap while having only 32 players under contract, according to OverTheCap.com – there are non-football reasons for the Packers to move on.
Those reasons are well-known around the NFL. Following a conversation about some NFL Draft prospects last week, one team’s high-ranking talent evaluator interjected, “So, what the (expletive) is up with Aaron and Gutey?”
The Rodgers-49ers marriage would be an interesting one beyond Rodgers’ Northern California roots and what happened in the 2005 draft, when the Niners took Alex Smith instead of Rodgers with the No. 1 overall pick. One evaluator said 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan prefers a quarterback he can tell exactly what to do and it will get done. Rodgers, on the other hand, is one of the great freelancers in the game, though he was brilliant in 2020 by playing more within coach Matt LaFleur’s structure.
“We’re really excited about Aaron Rodgers and his future with the Green Bay Packers,” Gutekunst said. “We think he’s going to be our quarterback for the foreseeable future. I think that obviously every year there’s different things you go through to get to the season, and I think we’re going through those right now. Again, he’s such a unique, different player than anyone that I’ve ever been around. He affects our organization in so many different ways that you just can’t value him because he’s so important to what we do. We’re excited moving forward and we’ll kind of see where things go.”
The NFL Draft Starts Tonight
Here are our position-by-position previews of the draft, with personal stories, outside-the-box-score stats and scouting information from NFL Draft Bible.
Safeties: Coming Thursday.