Apr
30
2021

Brian Gutekunst: “We Are Not Trading Aaron Rodgers”

For months, the Green Bay Packers and their fans have been anticipating the NFL Draft. Speculation abounded on who the team would pick and what positions would be targeted. However, what should have been a very exciting day quickly turned into a dramatic one. Aaron Rodgers, it was reported, told the Packers that he was so disgruntled that he did not want to return to Green Bay.

Much has been said and reported about this in the hours that followed. Both the Packers and Aaron Rodgers are notorious for their secrecy, so it is difficult to ascertain where both sides really stand. Here, we present a timeline of the news that broke throughout the day and conclude with where things stand going into Day Two of the Draft.

The Packers Reported Turned Down a Trade for the 3rd Overall Pick

Before the report that Aaron Rodgers wanted to be traded, a report was broken that the San Francisco 49ers had reached out to the Packers. Their offer was the third overall pick, Jimmy Garoppolo, and other draft picks in exchange for Aaron Rodgers.

This news was met with mixed reactions on social media. Bill Michaels does not have the best reputation among Wisconsin Sports fans for a variety of reasons, and many did not take this seriously. Even Rob Demovsky, who covers the team for ESPN, dismissed the report:

That being said, another reporter, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, confirmed that the 49ers did, indeed, reach out to the Packers about Aaron Rodgers:

From this source, it appears that communication did occur, but the offer of the third overall pick and everything else was made up. It seemed like all was well in Packerland again.

The Aaron Rodgers Bomb

The good feelings did not even last an hour. Soon after the trade talk was shot down on social media, it picked up again in a big way:

Now if one thought the dumpster fire surrounding the possible trade for the third pick was horrifying, this was a forest fire in comparison. The situation immediately recalled memories of Brett Favre when the Packers selected Aaron Rodgers himself. Just as it was then, Packers’ fans immediately divided some siding with the organization and others with Aaron Rodgers.

As the NFL Draft came closer and closer, speculation abounded in regards to where the Packers could trade Rodgers. The 49ers, of course, were a popular name. However, according to the earlier reports, they were told the Packers would not trade Rodgers. The Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos were other teams mentioned as potential landing spots. The further drama unfolded when this was posted:

Through it all, though, there still remained a contingent of media members and fans who believed (and still do) that this report also is not true. In fact, merely minutes after Trey Wingo’s tweet, a reporter from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had this to say:

The First Round

As the Draft drew closer and closer, talk had shifted from what position the Packers would take to what they would do about Aaron Rodgers. Some were able to find humor in the situation:

The Draft started, and the 49ers made their pick, Trey Lance, a quarterback from North Dakota State. With the ninth pick, the Broncos drafted cornerback Patrick Surtain II, leaving just the Raiders as the lone rumored suitor for the three-time MVP. The Raiders, though, took Alex Leatherwood, an offensive tackle from Alabama.

As the Packers’ pick at 29 came closer and closer, more speculation occurred in regards to which position the Packers would take. Many were convinced the team would take a wide receiver in an attempt to placate the disgruntled quarterback. After all, the last wide receiver the team drafted in the first round was Javon Walker in 2002. However, the team drafted cornerback Eric Stokes from Georgia.

The reaction to the pick, as expected, was mixed. There were those that were excited:

There were those who wanted to set the world on fire:

Brian Gutekunst’s Post Draft Press Conference

What should have been a press conference welcoming Eric Stokes to the Green Bay Packers turned into a press conference surrounding Aaron Rodgers. Of course, that was to be expected given the circumstances. However, one has to feel a little bad for Stokes. He is an excellent player, and clearly, one the Packers were very high on.

Gutekunst, though, answered the questions asked to him and provided a little bit of an insight into where the Packers stand.

This comment confirms what Tom Silverstein tweeted out earlier regarding the Trey Wingo report that the Packers told Rodgers that they would trade him. No player in the history of the NFL has been traded following a season in which he won MVP. The Packers do not appear to be the first team to do so, either.

Of Aaron Rodgers’ future in Green Bay and if the Packers are committed to him, Gutekunst said:

“We’ll see how it unfolds” does not sound very reassuring. However, one thing is clear: Aaron Rodgers can play for the Packers or he can sit out. The ball is clearly in his court.

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