As expected, disgruntled quarterback and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers was a no-show at the mandatory minicamp run by the Green Bay Packers on Tuesday at Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. He’s asked for a trade, the team said no, and so his holdout has begun.
If you follow the celebrity rags and other Hollywood tabloids, then you’ll spot Rodgers and his fiancee Shailene Woodley cavorting everywhere. Rodgers and Woodley were spotted at the Kentucky Derby, then at Disney World, at Erewhon Market in Santa Monica, then most recently on vacation in Hawaii with actor Miles Teller and his wife.
Where you won’t find Rodgers — or Woodley — is at the Packers minicamp in De Pere.
Rodgers fired the first warning shot when he skipped a workout and gave up a $500,000 workout bonus. A half-million isn’t exactly chump change, but Rodgers made a statement with his absence, letting the Packers know it’s not about money, it’s about principle. Thus, the holdout is underway.
Big cheese choice: Rodgers or Gutekunst
Rodgers asked the organization to trade him or to remove general manager Brian Gutekunst. It’s a classic high-noon showdown between Rodgers, the beloved gunslinger, and Gutekunst, the smarmy suit who drafted a quarterback in the first round of last year’s draft without tipping off Rodgers first.
Team CEO Mark Murphy said he won’t fire Gutekunst, despite Rodgers’ stance.
“I have tremendous confidence in Brian Gutekunst,” said Murphy. “In his relatively short tenure as our GM, he has completely turned around the fortunes of our team.”
The Packers are willing to call Rodgers’ bluff all the way to the river in this standoff. The organization has no interest in giving into the trade demands of their future Hall of Fame quarterback and doubled down by backing up Gutekunst. Either way, the fans have become collateral damage in this standoff. Diehard cheeseheads saw the Packers botch the Brett Favre situation when they ran him out of town. Many of them are irked that history is repeating itself with Rodgers.
“The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base,” said Murphy. “We remain committed to resolving things with Aaron and want him to be our quarterback in 2021 and beyond. We are working to resolve the situation and realize that the less both sides say publicly, the better.”
With the Packers unwilling to trade Rodgers, this holdout situation could escalate with Rodgers sitting out the season and the Packers becoming a complete media shitshow during the 2021 season.
Teammates and coach backing Rodgers
Green Bay’s Davante Adams and David Bakhtiari answered questions from the media at minicamp about Rodgers beginning his holdout. Both were very supportive of their friend and teammate.
“I’ve got his back through everything so he knows that, at the end of the day, if there’s ever a wonder if he’s lost a teammate or something because of all that’s come out, he knows where I stand,” said Adams. “I’ll stand on the f—–g mountain and scream on the mountaintop that I’ve got his back.”
“I care about Aaron Rodgers from a friend perspective,” said OT Bakhtiari. “I will never hold any grudge against him. That is my friend. That is someone that I have appreciated, and he has done a lot for this organization and a lot for me as an individual. As a teammate, I would be idiotic to say that I don’t want the MVP back. He’s the MVP of the league last year. He’s done amazing things as from the quarterback perspective, our quarterback position, but not only for the franchise.”
Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, unsurprisingly, took a slightly more reserved tact toward drama surrounding Rodgers and the team. “It is what it is, man,” said LaFleur. “We’ll focus and we’ll control and work on the guys that are here, and try to help them become the best to their ability and coach the heck out of them.”
In the meantime, backup QB Jordan Love practiced with the first team in minicamp, and the outlook wasn’t good. Love struggled to throw crisp passes to receivers during the OTAs, which complicates the situation even more for the front office.
Betting on the Packers and Rodgers
DraftKings briefly posted a prop bet about Rodgers’ future team for the upcoming season. The Packers were the obvious favorites at -125 odds, but the Denver Broncos had the inside track as a potential trade partner with the Packers. The Broncos were +200 odds to work out a trade for Rodgers. Other teams mentioned in the Rodgers prop bet include the Las Vegas Raiders (+500), the New Orleans Saints (+900), Miami Dolphins (+1400), and Seattle Seahawks (+1600).
There’s been no shortage of fan chatter suggesting that the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks should swap unhappy quarterbacks. At first whiff, a Russell Wilson for Rodgers swap sounds like a half-baked scheme that just might work. However, the Packers will want to send Rodgers as far away as possible and to a different conference.
AFC squads like the Broncos, Raiders, and Miami Dolphins make more sense as a future home for Rodgers, as none of them are currently contenders to appear in Super Bowl 56. Then again, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t look like a championship team until Tom Brady arrived and the Bucs ran the table in the postseason to win Super Bowl 55.
The Packers are currently +1600 odds to win Super Bowl 56; they were +1000 at the start of the offseason. When the news broke that Rodgers requested a trade, the Packers’ futures dipped as low as +2000. In the last few days, the number moved the other way after the Packers confirmed their no-trade stance.
The Broncos saw a trickle of money from bettors looking to get ahead of the market by anticipating a Rodgers trade to the Mile High City. They moved the number from +6000 to +2500 odds.