Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said there is no scenario in which Aaron Rodgers will be traded out of Green Bay.
Hours after using the team’s first-round pick on a cornerback, Gutekunst faced the media and a barrage of questions about his quarterback.
That’s because reports surfaced Thursday that Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, told members of the Packers’ organization he would not return to the team.
Rodgers, 37, has played for the Packers for his entire NFL career, leading Green Bay to victory in Super Bowl XLV and winning three MVP awards.
“No. We’re not going to trade Aaron Rodgers,” Gutekunst said Thursday night. “He’s our quarterback. He’s our leader. We’ve been working through this for a little while now. I just think it might take some time. But he’s the guy that makes this thing go.”
ESPN reported four hours before the 2021 NFL draft that Rodgers informed the team he would not be back regardless of whether he’s traded or not.
Reports and rumors have indicated Rodgers has felt disgruntled in Green Bay dating back to last year. The Packers traded up to select a quarterback, Jordan Love, in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft rather than add an offensive player who could help Rodgers and the unit right away.
Thursday likely did nothing to heal those wounds. Rather than select a wide receiver, tight end or a replacement for All-Pro center Corey Linsley — who signed with the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency — the Packers drafted Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes.
Rodgers told reporters following the 2020 draft that his “sincere desire to start and finish with the same organization … may not be a reality at this point.”
And ears perked up again in January when Rodgers said “my future is a beautiful mystery” following the Packers’ exit from the playoffs.
Packers president Mark Murphy, Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have each taken trips to meet one on one with Rodgers over the offseason, ESPN reported.
Gutekunst said this week at his pre-draft press conference that Rodgers “is our guy.”
According to multiple reports, Rodgers’ agent, David Dunn, also traveled to visit Rodgers for multiple days of meetings. The result was a trade demand from Rodgers.
Multiple teams have quarterbacks who have either directly (Deshaun Watson) or indirectly (Russell Wilson) requested a trade from their current team. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday Wilson wouldn’t be traded.
The Houston Texans appear to be intent on keeping Watson, with the added hurdle of navigating his current off-field concerns surrounding a civil lawsuit. More than 20 women have accused Watson of inappropriate — in some cases, illegal — behavior during massage sessions.
The Los Angeles Rams reportedly inquired about Rodgers’ availability in a trade earlier this offseason, and the San Francisco 49ers checked in with Green Bay about Rodgers this week, ESPN reported.
Rodgers is under contract through 2023, with a potential out in his deal before the 2022 season. NFL Network reported that Rodgers and the Packers have been negotiating a long-term contract this offseason, during which time Rodgers has been unhappy with how talks were going.
One of the best quarterbacks of his generation, Rodgers is on pace to move into 10th place all-time in career passing yards and fifth all-time in career passing touchdowns in 2021. Whether that happens with Green Bay or another franchise is now the question.
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