Sunday, September 24 2023

Aaron Rodgers made an ultimatum during his rocky relationship with the Green Bay Packers in his final seasons with the team. 

Early in the 2021 offseason, Rodgers’ agent, Dave Dunn, reportedly asked Packers president Mark Murphy to either fire general manager Brian Gutekunst or trade Rodgers, according to a new report from The Athletic

Rodgers, who spoke candidly on the record for much of the interview, deferred to his agent when asked about the request, and Dunn reportedly did not comment.

The reported ultimatum came roughly a year after the Packers drafted Jordan Love with their first-round pick and shortly after Rodgers completed his third MVP season. Rodgers’ trade request that offseason was first reported prior to the 2021 NFL Draft.

The two sides eventually mended fences in the lead-up to training camp that season, with Rodgers telling The Athletic that his relationship with Gutekunst improved a bit. The QB went on to win his fourth MVP that season.

Rodgers then signed a three-year, $150 million extension with the Packers in March 2022 and told reporters at training camp several months later that he’d like to finish his career with Green Bay.

However, Rodgers told The Athletic that he thought star receiver Davante Adams was going to remain in Green Bay as well, but the team traded him to the Las Vegas Raiders days later. Rodgers took issue with how the Packers handled contract negotiations with Adams, claiming the team offered the receiver a smaller contract than what the Jacksonville Jaguars gave Christian Kirk (four years, $72 million) while Adams sought a deal bigger than DeAndre Hopkins‘ $27.25 million per year contract.


“They offered him less money than Christian Kirk and [Adams] is going, ‘Are you serious right now? I’m the best receiver in the league, and you’re gonna offer me less than Christian Kirk?'” Rodgers said. “With all due respect, he’s not on Davante’s level.

“I’m sure that the team will say that’s just the business of negotiation — it’s like, yeah, but you’re also sending a message to that guy, and a lot of times it can stick with guys and make them a little sour on things.” 

Upon his arrival in Las Vegas, Adams signed a five-year, $141.25 million deal with the Raiders. His departure set up for a rocky 2022 season for Rodgers and the Packers, who went 8-9 and just missed the playoffs after a late-season surge while the quarterback played with a broken thumb for months. 

Rodgers told The Athletic that the team said to him that he could take his time to make a decision on his football future. After a communication breakdown between Rodgers and Gutekunst as they tried to set up a meeting in January, the relationship further deteriorated. 

Following his darkness retreat in February, Rodgers decided that he wanted to continue playing but found out through his agent that the Packers had been shopping him in trades. That was when Rodgers requested a trade to the New York Jets, according to The Athletic. 

Rodgers’ wish was eventually granted, but not until late April. In the roughly two months before the deal, Gutekunst claims that he tried to contact Rodgers several times to no avail. Rodgers told The Athletic that the Packers should’ve known to FaceTime him as they knew he was at his house in California, which he said has “zero or one bar” of cell service.

“Did Brian text me more than I texted him? Yeah, but did I ghost him? No,” Rodgers told The Athletic. “I texted him back. There was back-and-forths that we had and so this is the story you wanna go with? You’re gonna stand on this hill of austerity and say that arguably in the conversation of the best player in your franchise history, you’re gonna say I couldn’t get a hold of him and that’s why we had to move on?

“Like, c’mon man. Just tell the truth, you wanted to move on. You didn’t like the fact that we didn’t communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like.”

Rodgers’ time with the Packers officially ended on April 26, when the team traded him to the Jets for a few draft picks, including a first-round pick swap in the 2023 NFL Draft plus a conditional second-round pick in the 2024 draft contingent on Rodgers’ playing time this season. 

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