Packers GM: By no means promised commerce to Rodgers
GREEN BAY, Wis. — When Aaron Rodgers returned to the Green Bay Packers final July from his offseason hiatus, either side made it simpler to separate this offseason based mostly on changes to his contract. Common supervisor Brian Gutekunst on Wednesday, nonetheless, stated he by no means promised Rodgers he would commerce him after the 2021 season.
So what’s going to the Packers do if Rodgers decides he nonetheless needs to play in 2022 however not for Inexperienced Bay?
“These are some hypotheticals that I do not suppose we’ll go down these roads proper now,” Gutekunst stated throughout a information convention meant to preview subsequent week’s NFL scouting mix.
It has been extensively believed that Rodgers and the Packers had a handshake settlement that if the reigning MVP nonetheless needed out after the 2021 season they’d commerce him.
“That was not one thing I instructed him,” Gutekunst, who has full management over roster strikes, stated in a separate session Wednesday with writers who cowl the crew. “Once more, I feel the entire dialog with Aaron final season earlier than he got here again was that, regardless, on the finish of this previous season, that we might sit down as a gaggle and we’d work it out a technique or one other.”
It is unlikely the Packers would play hardball and pressure Rodgers to play solely for them — and so they definitely will not launch him and let him get away free of charge — however Gutekunst stated he’s not tempted to take a haul of draft picks for Rodgers and/or receiver Davante Adams, who’s scheduled to develop into a free agent subsequent month.
“As a result of I feel we have nearly as good a shot as anyone to win a Tremendous Bowl subsequent yr,” Gutekunst stated when requested why he would not wish to commerce Rodgers. “He is the MVP of the league. That is our objective. I feel we have now a chance to do it proper now. That is why.”
Whereas Gutekunst stated the Packers “sort of wasted that chance” because the No. 1 seed within the NFC, he would not put the divisional spherical loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Rodgers’ efficiency. As a substitute, the GM pointed on the incapability of different aspects of the crew to select up for a substandard efficiency by one other unit — on this case particular groups.
It marked the second straight season that the Packers did not make the Tremendous Bowl as a No. 1 seed.
“We’re disenchanted that we did not end it off the final two years, however there is no purpose to suppose we won’t get proper again there and knock on the door and get there,” Gutekunst stated. “So, yeah, I feel we’re full ahead forward.”
On Tuesday, Rodgers instructed The Pat McAfee Present that he nonetheless has issues to consider earlier than making a choice about an 18th season. Gutekunst, providing no hints as as to whether he knew which method Rodgers was leaning, stated he thinks “we’ll know right here shortly” and that the crew will not stress him into making that call.
“That not a query I can reply for you,” Gutekunst stated. “Clearly he is going by way of his course of. I feel the one factor that I do know for certain is Aaron takes these things very significantly. His efficiency and what he brings to our soccer crew on so many various ranges, he places lots into that and he is aware of how a lot work it takes through the offseason to organize himself to offer to our crew what he does. So I feel he is going by way of his course of proper now to get himself prepared to verify he is aware of that he needs to try this as a result of I do not suppose it is simple what he does to organize for a season.”
Within the meantime, the Packers are in considerably of a holding sample whereas they wait.
“Clearly all the pieces round right here sort of facilities on the quarterback,” Gutekunst stated. “It is a huge piece and a domino that sort of has to fall earlier than we go down the opposite avenues. So it is necessary as we undergo this and the puzzle items we have now to attempt to make match. That is the primary one to go.”
They started the method of fixing their salary-cap downside by restructuring the contract of defensive sort out Kenny Clark. The Packers created $10.892 million in cap house by changing a part of Clark’s wage and all of his roster bonus right into a signing bonus after which including voidable years, a supply instructed ESPN’s Subject Yates. Even with that transfer, the Packers have been nonetheless about $38 million over the cap for 2022.
And that does not embrace Adams. The All-Professional receiver is a candidate for the franchise tag, which will be utilized between now and March 8, however Gutekunst stated he views that as a “final resort” and that either side would favor to get a long-term contract finished.
Gutekunst additionally stated the way forward for All-Professional outdoors linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who missed most of final season due to again surgical procedure, is among the many crew’s “robust decisions to make as we transfer ahead.”
Smith has a salary-cap cost of $28.13 million — second-highest on the crew to Rodgers.
Gutekunst stated he’s optimistic concerning the well being of All-Professional left sort out David Bakhtiari, whose return from ACL surgical procedure was difficult and finally was stopped within the playoffs. “Long run, we really feel actually good about him as our left sort out,” Gutekunst stated.
Veteran kicker Mason Crosby, who missed 9 discipline targets and two further factors final season however has yet one more yr remaining on his contract, may nonetheless be within the Packers’ plans, particularly if Rodgers returns, Gutekunst stated.
“For the place our soccer crew is, having a championship sort of kicker, a man who can compete at that degree, is necessary,” Gutekunst stated.