Hello Packer Nation,
Unless you were living under a rock the past couple weeks, you know there is some drama going down in Titletown. It is rumored that the franchises MVP QB is unhappy with the team. We truly do not know the crux of the matter, but reading between the lines we can summarize:
1. Drafting Jordan Love was not communicated to Rodgers on draft day, or days after. It was sprung upon him like a Titletown freeze in May! Teams normally communicate to their star QB's of any impending roster moves at their respective position. The Packers did not and left Rodgers feeling like he was not in the Packers plans moving forward.
This is no fault of Jordan Love. The Packers have every right to draft Love and develop him to eventually replace Rodgers. It is likely the team expected Rodgers performance on the field to drop off sooner rather than later, and that hasn't happened. I firmly believe they drafted a replacement QB a year too early and didn't help the team improve in 2020. As we go into the 2021 offseason, the team truly doesn't know what it has in Love and they're projecting a lot about his future. It is why the Packers let Boyle depart this offseason and allowed Love to fall into the de facto #2 QB. They will push him quicker than they wanted, but they have no choice. He might be forced to start this year if they cannot reconcile with Rodgers.
2. Gute' fully admitted to the communication breakdown. While it is commendable he is on record saying that, it is still a concern. The reason Mark Murphy reconstructed the front office to go through himself was to help with the communication barrier lingering from the Ted Thompson regime. How this team still cannot figure out proper communication channels is baffling. The evidence is building that Gute' might not be the man for the job.
3. Rodgers wants commitment from the team beyond 2021. Even though his contract goes into 2023, there is no guaranteed money left on his current deal. If Rodgers were injured in 2021, 2022 or 2023, he would have no right to the balance of money remaining (roughly $105 million).
4. Rodgers does not see "eye to eye" on how Gute' builds this team on the field. But, Rodgers needs to understand if he is going to take up 20% of the teams available salary cap, they are severely limited in providing difference makers around him. You can start to make arguments that Gute' talent evaluation is subpar. Besides Jaire Alexander and Elgton Jenkins, there are no other Pro Bowl/All Pro players out of the 27 players (2018-2020) he has drafted.
5. This stalemate will only end if two adult parties sit down and iron out their differences. I have a firm belief this would have never happened under previous coaching regimes, and LaFleur's power is limited to on the field. Because his offense is predicated on Rodgers leading it, he should have more sway in this drama. Could some of Rodger's issues stem from the last offensive drive in the NFCC game, where LaFleur did not communicate to Rodgers about the game plan on that drive? If Rodgers knew on third down they would settle for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down, would he have scrambled? We do not know. What is obvious is communication broke down on the field.
There are two levels of communication breakdowns within the organization. This is a lot to unravel and until adults come forward and correct the issues, the walls will not break down. I do not think a contract extension will solve anything at this point. The Packers will need to admit much of the fault that lead to this paradox. Once mandatory team activities start in June, we will not know if the relationship can be reconciled.
Will Rodgers play for the Pack in 2021? My opinion is this...
80% chance he will
20% chance he won't
This is completely fixable. It is up to Murphy, Gute and LaFleur to work together. If the three men cannot fix this, then it is pretty obvious we do not have the men responsible to lead this organization professionally. There are no checks and balances to Murphy's performance, and ultimately, this whole saga falls on Murphy.
What does this all mean for the QB position? I would not be surprised if the team signs a veteran QB like Blake Bortles and Robert Griffith III being the most obvious choices. Both have worked with LaFleur and Bortles was Jacksonville's starting QB when Nathaniel Hackett was offensive coordinator. When it comes to familiarity, this will play a large role in who the Packers sign. Both QB's were 1st round selections in Jacksonville and Washington, respectively, but have not lived up to the hype on the field. The free agent QB cupboard is bare so these are the only legitimate options on the table. The Packers have not signed a veteran QB since 2013. Since the Packers will need time to get another QB versed in the offense, the sooner the better!
Go Pack Go!