The Green Bay Packers and their three-time MVP quarterback have been at odds for quite a while. The public was made aware of it when ESPN’s Adam Schefter, citing sources, said that Rodgers was so disgruntled with the organization that he did not want to ever return. Since that dreadful NFL Draft night, the public learned a few things.
First, Schefter did not have any sources; he had reported hearsay from around the league. Second, there is friction between the Packers and Rodgers, but it has nothing to do with Jordan Love (as many previously thought). Finally, the issue Rodgers has with the Packers is a philosophical one.
According to his interview with Kenny Mayne, he believes that the Packers have forgotten about the people who make an organization great. In his opinion, while the team is running a business, they also need to appreciate those who make the organization successful. That being said, here are three things the Packers could have done to avoid this whole mess.
#1- Given Him The Tom Brady Treatment
Tom Brady, the winningest quarterback in NFL history, has been given the chance by both teams he has played for to have his voice heard when it came to the team’s free-agent signings. Most recently, Bruce Arians reportedly asked Brady to view the tape of receivers in the NFL draft. The idea was not that Brady would get to choose the picks himself. Rather, it meant that the Buccaneers valued his opinion and would consider it.
The Packers, on the other hand, have never really considered Aaron Rodgers’ opinions when it came to the draft. Now, that is not to say they never drafted him any help. The offensive line, which has kept Rodgers very well protected, is mostly homegrown draft picks turned into Pro Bowl-caliber players. In addition, Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Randall Cobb were all draft picks made during Rodgers’ tenure as starting quarterback.
That being said, Rodgers is not talking about specific drafts or draft picks. Instead, he’s talking about how he feels the organization does not respect its players as people. Had the Packers at least allowed Rodgers to give his opinion on who he’d like to see drafted, this scenario might be very different right now.
#2- Held Onto Veterans Rodgers Felt Were Vital
Over the past few seasons, the Green Bay Packers have allowed certain contracts to expire without extension. When those players hit free agency, the Packers either low-balled them or did not attempt to re-sign them. Players such as Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Julius Peppers, and Charles Woodson ended up finishing their careers with teams other than Green Bay (Randall Cobb currently plays for the Houston Texans).
All of the aforementioned players were locker room leaders. As Rodgers’ time in Green Bay has gone on, he and kicker Mason Crosby are the only two players left from their Super Bowl XLV run. Of course, there are new leaders now; however, Rodgers was extremely close to these particular players.
Some of those players, namely Cobb and Woodson, went on to have productive seasons after they left Green Bay.
#3- Fired Dom Capers Earlier
For so many of Aaron Rodgers’ seasons, the Green Bay Packers had some of the best offenses in the NFL. However, they consistently had mediocre or terrible defenses. In 2011, the year Rodgers won his first MVP, the Packers’ defense set the record for the most passing yards given up. They had good players: Woodson, Nick Collins, etc. However, the scheme was flawed. For some reason, the Packers stuck with Capers year after year.
Had the Packers hired a better defensive coordinator, they may have at least made it to (or won) one or more Super Bowls. As they say, “Winning fixes everything.” Perhaps the Packers make those same moves if they win more championships, but perhaps they do not.