Detroit Lions: Aaron Rodgers may really be finished in Green Bay

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

The awkward relationship between the Green Bay Packers and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers just got slightly more uncomfortable.  Let’s be honest; any dysfunction within the NFC North only helps the Detroit Lions.

Rodgers, to no one’s surprise, has yet to report to the Green Bay Packers.  But it’s not like Rodgers was going to show up for OTAs like nothing happened.  The future Hall Of Fame quarterback made it known that he does not want to return to the team, and as of now remains true to his word.

News broke just hours before the beginning of the NFL Draft, but the issues between the two sides have been building for quite some time.

Rodgers has said he loves his teammates and coaching staff, that despite head coach Matt LeFleur opting to kick a field goal late in the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game.  With the game on the line, you want to live and die with your best player and reigning MVP.

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Hoping for a field goal and then to get the football back from Tom Brady for a chance to win is just a low percentage decision.  I understand the analytics suggested to kick the field goal, but that’s where completely trusting the analytic side of things lets a team down.  Analytics don’t understand that it’s Tom Brady on the other sideline.

A severed relationship between the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers is only good for the Detroit Lions.

Rodgers’ biggest rift seems to be with Green Bay’s GM Brian Gutekunst, but now it’s CEO Mark Murphy ruffling some feathers.

Murphy recently referred to Rodgers as a ‘complicated fella’ and said Rodgers is driving a wedge into the fanbase.  Well, Detroit Lions fans know the feeling all too well.

It seemed half of the Detroit Lions fanbase was one hundred percent committed to Matthew Stafford; the other half felt the former first overall pick had plenty of chances to lead this organization on a playoff run.  Instead, the Lions have still yet to win a playoff game since 1991.

Whether Rodgers is willing to admit it or not, things really came to a head after the organization traded up in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to select quarterback Jordan Love rather than provide the star quarterback with another much-desired offensive weapon.

For years the Packers have relied heavily on Rodgers to carry the Green Bay offense and turn serviceable players into above-average performers.  Aside from Aaron Jones and Davante Adams, it’s usually a cast of misfits.

As Mike Florio points out, perhaps Murphy is trying to stir the pot so Rodgers doesn’t return, which will save the organization $30-million this season.  That will allow LeFleur an opportunity to develop Love, and Green Bay can move Rodgers after the 2021 season.  The Packers may sit tight and call Rodgers’ bluff.

Florio also suggests that Rodgers should retire rather than hold out for financial reasons.

"So it would make more sense for Rodgers to simply retire on the eve of camp than fail to report, if he’s planning to stay away for all of camp and beyond. Holdout or retire for all of 2021, he loses his $14.7 million salary. Holdout or retire for all of 2021, he loses his $6.8 million roster bonus. Holdout or retire for all of 2021, the Packers would be able to pursue $11.5 million in unearned signing bonus money. Retirement, however, would avoid the fines for missing camp."

As stated in the CBA, Rodgers can be fined $50,000 daily for missing the mandatory training camp.  If Rodgers sits out the entire camp he will lose $2 million total.  Sure, a drop in the bucket for him, but $2 million is still $2 million.

Remember, if Rodgers retires he can unretire at any time.  This whole thing just reminds me of the whole Brett Favre saga with the Packers after selecting Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft.  It’s funny how history continues to repeat itself.

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Rodgers’ dead-cap number is $38-million in ’21 and $17-million in ’22 but significantly decreases in 2023 to just under $3-million.