Green Bay Packers TE Robert Tonyan

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers Must Come Together, Right Now

The best that the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers can hope for in 2021 is one last round of really wild breakup sex.

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Intense. Passionate, but for complicated and semi-troubling reasons. NASTY. Leave 'em wanting more, just make sure you leave 'em: no cuddling allowed. Rodgers and the Packers clearly have irreconcilable differences, but they can snap some bedsprings and rattle the NFL's rafters one last time before Rodgers slams the door behind him and both sides learn whether or not they'll be better off without the other. (Spoiler alert: they won't be.)

The greatest breakup sex in history, besides that last hurrah you had with your post-college almost-fiancée on the floor of that unfurnished apartment (you freaks), was The Beatles' Abbey Road album. John, Paul, and George nearly strangled each other during the Let It Be sessions (Ringo kept quiet, honing the songwriting chops that would soon craft "Back off Boogaloo,"), then agreed to truly collaborate one last time for the sake of their fans and their legacies before going their separate ways. The "Abbey Road Medley" can be heard as one long, artistically explosive climax to the band's oeuvre and relationship. I am sorry if that ruins "Polythene Pam" for you and even sorrier if it improves it.

Packers fans deserve Abbey Road from Rodgers and the Packers. Unfortunately, they'll probably be forced to settle for All Things Must Pass.

Rodgers said at a charity golf tournament in early July that he's working on his "mindful practices" and "spiritual self," adding tidbits like "Sometimes, the loudest person in the room isn't the smartest" which are sure to make general managers eager to rip up their budgets and yoke their fortunes to the gifted-but-recalcitrant, not-so-young philosopher prince.

Rodgers also spoke a bit about mental health in the same interview. If he said he was suffering any actual mental health issues, of course I would be sensitive and respectful. But he made it clear that he was not. Rodgers is just a vague-posting Facebook in-law who loves to pretend to hate all the attention he's begging for. He spent the offseason impersonating Chuck Woolery and duffing with Phil Mickelson to shake off a case of the I-wanted-Justin-Jefferson blues and then half-heartedly framed the whole thing in vague therapeutic language, seeking sympathy from a populace who spent the last 15 months living like medieval hermits.

Happiness for Rodgers sometimes appears to be a zero-sum game. He can only experience joy if he's spreading an equal measure of misery among (in the good ol' days) his opponents and (more recently) coaches, teammates, employers, or the world at large. If that's the case, Rodgers must have felt downright euphoric when nearly ruining Jeopardy! with his smarmy pre-owned Acura dealership sales manager "charm."

Yes, lots of folks enjoyed Rodgers' Jeopardy! run, just as lots of folks are certain the backup quarterback is special after he leads the team to six 52-yard field goals in an 18-16 win over the Bengals. Rodgers interviewed contestants after the first commercial break as though he was ready to go through nuclear decontamination after being forced to chit-chat with a lowly normie. At best, he ranked somewhere between Blossom and the Buddy Holly guy as a Jeopardy! host, ahead of Dr. Quackenstein and the obnoxious executive producer (who came across like Roger Goodell doing play-by-play) but well below the true GOAT or Katie Couric, and he won't be in the same galactic quadrant as Geordi will be when he finally gets his chance. When it comes to hosting game shows, Rodgers is Matt Flynn.

The Packers played their part in the Rodgers saga by making sure the meatloaf was on the table the moment he came home for nearly a decade, then reversing course and going the accelerants-and-matches route. Unfortunately, Jordan Love is a $50,000 insurance policy on a million-dollar investment, and the Packers lost their bet by trying to hedge it. The Packers really were a player away from the Super Bowl last year; based on the NFC Championship Game, that player may well have been the type of receiver who was available in abundance in last year's draft. But Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst bought the au pair a tennis bracelet instead of fixing the leaky roof. Understandable as the urge to design an exit strategy from Rodgers may have been, history won't be kind to their decision.

If it sounds like I am being a little harsh on Rodgers, it's partly because I spent much of the spring and summer fielding Rodgers questions on podcasts and regional radio appearances and have grown a bit weary of parsing his bruised feelings and freshman-dorm-Taoist natterings. It's hard to make projections with confidence when Rodgers' absence might make the Cowboys serious Super Bowl contenders, the Vikings or Bears relevant, or Tom Brady cackle like a supervillain at the thought of any challengers to his supremacy. Rodgers has made my job harder, so I'm as done with him as he is with Gutekunst. I'm just actualized enough to admit it.

Rodgers has also been pushing the envelope of what an irreplaceable employee can get away with for years, but many fans (including Packers fans) keep falling for his emo Nice Guy™ routine and insisting that the passive-aggressively churlish and insubordinate Rodgers image is nothing more than a media-created narrative constructed around a driven-but-complicated prince of a dude. Yeah, sure. And Brady is a normal everyday guy who would totes love to have a beer with you, too. If anyone who calls Rodgers out on his act is stuck playing the heel, then I'm gonna lean into the role.

Brady, of course, kept the melodrama of his departure from the Patriots relatively painless and mercifully brief last year. Yes, the fact that Brady was a free agent expedited the process, but a simple trade demand/contract demand/retirement announcement/minicamp appearance by Rodgers would move things along if he could bring himself to stop playing the suffering sad guy and just be honest about what he wants. Brady announced his signing with the Buccaneers at the exact moment the sports world—heck, the world world—needed some news that wasn't laced with terror and uncertainty. Heaven knows I love roasting Brady, but he almost single-handedly saved my industry last year while Rodgers was muttering into his tequila about not getting the birthday present he wanted. Brady remained above all the he-said/he-said stuff. Rodgers just wants to pretend to be.

So Rodgers is now destined to someday host awful future network game show like Celebrity Guillotine or To Sniff Your Farts. Until then, we can't even place an NFC prop bet without speculating on the Rodgers situation. My best guess is that the Packers will trade him in some epic late-camp or early-season blockbuster once Jon Gruden gets a wild hare, John Elway tires of Drexton Lynchlock and Teddy Casekeenum, or some team like the Dolphins says "screw it" and goes all in. Until then, the whole Rodgers affair remains an endless divorce we're forced to hear every detail about until we no longer sympathize with either partner.

Breakup sex is cleansing, emotionally if not hygienically. But it's not the sort of thing you can plan. If either party thinks the other side is angling for one last tussle, they're likely to deny the opportunity (if they still cared about the other's desires, they probably wouldn't be breaking up) or turn it into pity sex, which is what Brady had with the Patriots in 2019.

Paradoxically, breakup sex is often also messy. Let it Be was ultimately released after Abbey Road, so our final image of The Beatles isn't a soaring medley but some scruffy guys barely able to harmonize during a rooftop jam session. Maybe 2020 was the Packers and Rodgers' breakup sex year. If that's the case, both parties are soon likely to discover that, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Comeback Player of the Year Prop Bets

When you bet on a player to win Comeback Player of the Year, you are really betting on every other player to not win CPOY. That means you are banking on lots of dedicated athletes to suffer injury setbacks or other career-threatening adversity so that you can win a little prop bet, you monster.

But seriously folks, Walkthrough will be leaning a little more heavily into the wagering content in the months to come, and while Comeback Player of the Year props aren't very popular, this year's field is interesting. Let's break down the prohibitive favorite and some intriguing challengers. All moneylines were taken from DraftKings as of July XXX. And only bet where it's legal!

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: +225

This feels so much like free money that I already played it. The likelihood that Prescott plays well after missing 11 games with an ankle injury in 2020 is very high. The likelihood that the Cowboys bounce back toward contention is also high. And if both of these things happen, the probability that it becomes one of the biggest stories of 2021 and makes Prescott an award-season darling will be close to 100%.

The biggest fear, besides the usual Cowboys nonsense, is that Prescott slingshots past Comeback Player of the Year all the way toward MVP contention.

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals +700

Suckers' bet. Few voters would choose Burrow because he hasn't done enough in the NFL to really "come back" from an award-worthiness standpoint.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants: +700
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers: +800

KUBIAK projects 1,029 rushing yards, 346 receiving yards, and 11 total touchdowns for Barkley, and 1,120-564-13 for McCaffrey. Barkley plays in a bigger market and a much easier division and (somehow) has the better quarterback, meaning "Barkley turns the Giants around" is a more likely 2021 storyline than anything McCaffrey does.

That said, wagering real money on running back comebacks is a terrible investment.

Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts: +1000

KUBIAK projects a bounce back toward 2019 mediocrity for Wentz. I personally think he has become a little too much of an orchid to survive outside an arboretum. But a 10-to-1 payout that Frank Reich and a move closer to home (geographically, culturally, etc.) rekindles the Spirit of 2017 is semi-tempting.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers: +1000

Rob Gronkowski won CPOY in 2014, so there's precedent for a tight end. That said, the 49ers sunk into national irrelevance last season, and Kittle played enough (48 catches in eight games, with a late-season return) to confuse the whole "comeback" narrative. Remember: CPOY is the most narrative-driven of all the awards.

Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers: +1000

A better bet than Kittle and not a terrible wager overall. Still, a dozen sacks probably wouldn't be enough to claim this award if any of the skill-position stars or more established defenders in the field have solid years.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers: +1200

For casuals who still think Garoppolo will be traded back to the Patriots any minute now.

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints: +1200

Give me more meat on the bone if you want me to wager on the Saints finding a stable quarterback solution AND Thomas not blasting off to Planet Wide Rediva. I should point out, however, that "wait for Thomas to get open" was the only downfield passing concept that Taysom Hill knew, and that Thomas caught 30 passes in The Lovechild's four starts. Talk to me if this gets to +2000.

Odell Beckham Jr. Cleveland Browns: +1400
Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos: +1400

KUBIAK has a 62-841-5 projection for OBJ, who hasn't had a truly excellent season since 2016. Sutton isn't established enough for a comeback storyline and will be catching passes from another Elway platoon. Two different flavors of bad wager, in other words.

Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers: +1600

I don't hate this. Defenders sometimes win CPOY (Eric Berry, Greg Ellis, Ted Bruschi, Joe Johnson, Bryant Young), James is famously cursed enough to move the needle, and a few interceptions (plus a Justin Herbert-fueled playoff run) may be all he needs to garner attention if the quarterbacks are meh. Again, though, I need a bigger payout to take this sort of flyer.

Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints: +1600

Maybe the best value on the board. Winston must beat out The Lovechild for the Saints' starting job, and that's a 50-50 proposition at best. But if he does, he's the quarterback of a likely playoff contender with an absolutely irresistible comeback narrative. Winston could even win the award by relieving Hill circa Week 9 and playing well down the stretch, Ryan Tannehill-style. Definitely worth a low-risk throwaway wager, especially if you are a Winston believer.

Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers: +1800

The house is straight-up trolling Adam Gase at this point, and I adore it. The trolling, that is, not the play.

Von Miller, Denver Broncos: +2500
Danielle Hunter, Minnesota Vikings: +2500
Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals: +2500

If you have to jog your memory to recall whether a player was unavailable last year, chances are he won't be a popular CPOY candidate. Miller is much more famous than Hunter and Jones and suffered both an ankle injury and a high-profile COVID bout in 2020, making him much more likely to get attention from a bounce-back season than the others.

Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans: +2500

There are too many moving parts here, from Jones' age to a new team and run-heavy offense to the likelihood that any bounce-back will be attributed to his change of scenery, not a comeback from injury.

The Field

You can get Tim Tebow +5000 if banking on the Second Greatest Story Ever Told is your bag. Kelvin Benjamin is listed at +4000, and I'll admit that I think Tebow is more likely to have an impact in 2021 than Benjamin. Really, the bottom of the CPOY board is a leaf litter of lost causes and unlikely candidates. But not many people think about Comeback Player of the Year props at all, let alone in July, so it makes sense to scatter bait all over the pond.

G.A.S.E.

The story sounded too good to be true. And it was.

A report crossed my desk last week that Adam Gase had accepted a job as an offensive coordinator for a suburban high school in Michigan. Delicious! Irresistibly absurd! And completely uncorroborated and ultimately untrue. But I was snookered. And by snookered, I mean that I wrote 1,000 hilarious words about Adam Gase, Public Educator before performing the very disappointing due diligence I should have started with.

The vision of Gase reduced to sitting in a rickety shack perched atop metal bleachers on frigid October nights grumbling play calls to teenagers who only understand 0.2% of his playbook was simply delightful. Not for the players, their parents, the faculty, or local citizens, mind you: Gase's penance would be a nightmare for them. But of all the well-connected "real leaders of men" in the NFL coaching fraternity, Gase is the one most deserving of boots-in-the-trenches coaching experiences like:

  • Losing a star player to ineligibility in November because he never turned in a five-paragraph essay on Self Reliance.
     
  • Getting a new bunghole torn by a tenured English teacher when he tries to pull strings for the Self Reliance kid. Football coaches always win those eligibility battles, but faculty hardliners make them fight for every inch of that ground like they're Frank Gore running inside zone on second-and-11.
     
  • Weekly phone calls from the board-member dad who runs the local car dealership strongly suggesting that his 5-foot-6, 125-pound son get the ball more often, preferably on inside zones on second-and-11.
     
  • "Are there practices in August? Oh, sorry, we're taking Johnny Quarterback on a family vacation to the lake for two weeks! BTW, his backup is 5-foot-5 and 120 pounds. And we are also on the school board!"
     
  • His first time trying to make 504 accommodations. Or, more likely, the first meeting with the superintendent after the school is in catastrophic non-compliance because he thought he could ignore 504 accommodations.
     
  • The aftermath of one of his bug-eyed tantrums, when he discovers that three starters quit to play soccer instead, two joined marching band, and one just opted for Mountain Dew and Fortnite.
     
  • Weekly taunts of "your Jets sucked" by small groups of 15-year-olds standing well within earshot, only some of whom attend the opposing school.

Alas, none of it is really happening, and those bullet points are all I could salvage of the aforementioned 1,000-worder without making it obvious that's what I was doing. Gase is probably just laying low this year, living off the fat of his Jets contract and waiting for Nick Saban to sneak him onto the bottom of his offensive staff so the career rehabilitation can commence.

I won't provide links to the Gase rumor, but it appears to have started with some anonymous Jets-themed Twitter account, where it got picked up by the part of the aggregator-sphere that doesn't need fact-checking to have a good time. It may have been meant as satire, but there is no punchline. The details of the fake story are too plausible to work as a spoof: Gase attended a nearby high school, for example. At least the Fake Schefters who appear on Twitter during free agency get to laugh when a real reporter retweets "Seahawks trade Russell Wilson to Bears, Adam Scheftrrrrr reports." The Gase story was too poorly timed and generally pathetic to really trend. More likely, it started as a futile Hail Mary for engagement by someone desperate for credibility and doing the exact opposite of what it takes to gain it.

Still, I almost fell for it. Blame the doldrums of July. And blame the fact that I'm going to miss Gase in 2021. Sure, there are plenty of coaches to roast this year, from Urban Meyer to Dan Campbell to Kliff Kingsbury. But Gase's predictable, belligerent incompetence made him special. As villains go, Campbell is like Sabretooth; Meyer an overconfident Maxwell Lord or Norman Osborn; Kingsbury the embodiment of Jake Gyllenhall's Mysterio, charming the world with smoke, mirrors, and handsome stubblecheeks. Gase was M.O.D.O.K.—pure claymation cartoon evil, no self-awareness required.

Oh well. Gase will be back soon enough. And if he does coach high school while laying low, I'm ready for him.

Walkthrough, The Next Generation

So I return to Football Outsiders, and immediately:

  • Tim Tebow returns to the NFL;
  • Aaron Rodgers morphs into Brett Favre; and
  • Tom Brady rolls his chronometer back to approximately age 34 again.

So it really is 2011 again, and all's right with the world, except for the many, many things which are dangerously and terrifyingly wrong.

Oh, some things have changed. The sports analytics community, like the roleplaying gamer and comics fandom communities, is a lot closer to the front pew of the cultural congregation now than it used to be. Our voice is heard now, both on television and inside team headquarters. The NFL has changed in innumerable ways. Its role as a sociopolitical institution shifted several times during the 2010s and is still evolving, pushing and pulling against serious societal issues in the great big world while simultaneously embracing and recoiling from analytics in our little one. Football Outsiders has also changed: we're bigger, better equipped, and far wiser than we were as geek-chic punkers in the mid-2000s. We're still your favorite microbrewery, though, despite the expanded bottling capabilities.

I have changed a little too, besides growing greyer and wider. I'm a Big Ten parent now, or at least a Rutgers parent, which technically counts. I'll definitely be writing some Big Ten checks this year, so please, puh-lease subscribe to FO+. I also learned some journalist-type stuff in my decade at Bleacher Report and elsewhere, and I plan to bring that fresh, slightly less "outsider" perspective back to Football Outsiders.

To clarify a few things: this is my debut as a full-time Football Outsiders writer and employee. I have been a part-timer, freelancer, or visiting nutty uncle in all of my other appearances since 2004. I wrote Walkthrough last year but was required to peddle much of my most marketable material elsewhere, so it wasn't always the Walkthrough I would have preferred to have written. This year, Football Outsiders will be the home of my Monday Morning "Digest" content, columns and analysis throughout the week, and some gambling material. Just about all of my NFL coverage will be here, though a little N.F.L. coverage may end up elsewhere, if you catch my drift. Then, come January, I will be spearheading expanded Football Outsiders draft coverage, because the draftnik streets desperately need us to restore a little order.

To extend the microbrew analogy: I'll be crafting some of the easy-to-drink session beers, a few saisons for early spring, some bourbon for the gambling crowd, and the occasional cask-aged black cherry Belgian Tripel for the regulars.

The official relaunch of Walkthrough is scheduled for August 2. We'll run twice per week through the preseason and several times per week beyond. Any kidding aside, be sure to subscribe to FO+ so you don't miss anything I/we produce during the 2021 season.

It's great to be back at the best spot on the Internet for thoughtful, thorough, insightful, and entertaining football analysis on the world wide web. I promise that the 2021-2022 season will be a blast.

Comments

52 comments, Last at 24 Jul 2021, 12:44am

1 I only ever gone one chance…

I only ever got one chance at breakup sex and it was when I had another relationship lined up already. Otherwise, it was very much the George Costanza like revenge story for me...would have been perfect but I could never get them to return my call.

14 I also only ever got one…

I also only ever got one chance at breakup sex—and I was kind of shocked it didn't save the relationship... but we got back together about a year later and have been married for close to 20 years now, so... worked out OK I guess.

16 Glad to hear it!

I imagine your story is the likely outcome for Rodgers and the Packers as well. Barring some unforeseen developments, Rodgers is likely to leave the Packers at some point and likely to retire a packer at the end.

2 I have a hard time being…

I have a hard time being sympathetic for the Packers here. This isn't Monday morning Quarterbacking. You could see this end game coming the moment they made the draft day decision, so I'm not sure why they feel so blindsided by this. 

If the Packers can get multiple first rounders, they should absolutely make the trade.

 

As an aside, the decision is fascinating in this respect. Aaron Rodgers had been trending down at that point, but was still a top 10/tier 3 level QB. To justify this decision, you had to bet on the fact that his decline was going to continue and that return to his MVP days was unlikely. I don't know how others viewed the probabilities at that point, but at the time I saw it as almost 50 50 since there appeared to be nothing physically wrong with him.

Even if I'm wrong and the probabilities are closer to 30 to 20% he returns to his MVP days, I still think the pick was a bad decision

 

13 It doesn't help that, in…

It doesn't help that, in contrast with Rodgers back in the day when the Packers drafted him, Love wasn't well-regarded at all except by a handful of people. Just a shot in the dark by the Packer front office.

25 FO Alum Cian Fahey, who at…

FO Alum Cian Fahey, who at times seems to adopt contrarian views just for the sake of it, has really been vindicated. He always maintained, even throughout Rodger's relative down years, that his throwing talent was as good as ever, and that it was poor scheming by McCarthy and mediocre, drop-prone receivers that held his numbers back. Now that he's added a 3rd MVP, with the help of Lafleur and a much improved Adams, it looks like the Irishman was on to something!

38 Also Tannehill

FO Alum Cian Fahey, who at times seems to adopt contrarian views just for the sake of it, has really been vindicated. He always maintained, even throughout Rodger's relative down years, that his throwing talent was as good as ever

Fahey also rated Tannehill very highly back in the Dolphins days.  The Tennessee Tannehill performance is another vindication.

For that matter, Lamar!  Fahey had him rated highly after Lamar's rookie season in 2018.  When many were saying that Lamar had shown he couldn't throw a football, Fahey had Lamar in the top half of the league for "depth-adjusted accuracy", or whatever he calls his metric. The 2019 performance was a lot less of a surprise to people who had read Fahey, than to people who consumed most other NFL analysis.

I agree with your comment that Fahey sometimes seems to go contrarian just to be contrarian.  But man, you can't just ignore him.

I don't think he's published any (American) football writing this offseason?  The last thing I saw from him was before the draft.

3 Re-greeting and small error

Great to have you fully at FO, Mike.

"KUBIAK projects 1,029 rushing yards, 346 passing yards, and 11 total touchdowns for Barkley, and 1,120-564-13 for McCaffrey." That seems to be projecting an awful lot of passing yards for two guys with a combined three career passing attempts! I assume it's supposed to be receiving yards, but that's just a funny sounding mistake.

4 Love the column, just…

Love the column, just disagree with something.  Urban Meyer's meltdown at the NFL level will make you forget everything about Gase.  It will truly be epic.

8 The other Abbey Road…

The other Abbey Road reference we could go with here is that that was at the point where all four Beatles knew that not only was the band coming to an end, but there was life after it -- McCartney was already planning his solo album, Harrison was gearing up for All Things Must Pass, etc.  There's a bit of freedom that you get when you know there's a Life After This.  During Let it Be, the way out didn't seem so clear!

9 Probability

 the probability that it becomes one of the biggest stories of 2021 and makes Prescott an award-season darling will be close to 100%.

  That should have ended "will be asymptotically close to 1."

10 Dallas is not going to be a…

Dallas is not going to be a playoff contender in 2021. The fact of the matter is since the start of 2019, against most competent opponents the Cowboys fall down 2+ scores by halftime and Dak piles up yards mostly in the 4th quarter, that never impacts the outcome of the game (except for the ATL game with the onside kick miracle) because the defense cannot stop anybody (GB, @ NYJ, MIN, BUF, @ CHI in 2019, @ SEA, CLE in 2020). When the games are close and the DAL defense is able to at least slow down the opponent (@ NO, @ NE, @ PHI in 2019 and @ LAR last year) the offense can't score.

Plus, they have a brutal road schedule with games against TB, LAC, NE, MIN, KC, NO, WAS, and NYG plus matchups at home vs elite defense NYG, DEN, WAS, ARI. Dak might still win CPOTY if he puts up good numbers but the Cowboys are not going to the playoffs.

11 And who among the other…

And who among the other division heavyweights do you have a lot of more confidence in? Phi is a mess. NyG will be counting on a Danny Dimes leap which feels unlikely and WFT with an old, turnover prone passer in Fitz.

Dallas feels like the least flawed team in this powerhouse division

20 Washington, tbh. The offense…

Washington, tbh. The offense was historically bad last year (it was the worst offense for a playoff team ever) and while Fitzpatrick is not great, he's no Haskins or one-legged Smith. The defense should be just as good as it was last year.

Basically, I expect WAS to have a below average offense and an elite defense; I expect DAL to have an above average offense (best when down double digits) and a poor defense.

36 They added William Jackson…

They added William Jackson to the secondary and get Landon Collins back, also Chase Young was limited in the first half of the season with a groin injury when the WFT played their worst defensive games of the season.

42 Our projections say the WFT…

Our projections say the WFT will decline a bit but not much. The projections also say that the Cowboys Defense will improve a bit (only morphine could make it worse) and their offense will go through the roof. I feel really comfortable with those projections!

50 Only morphine?

I suspect codeine, laudanum, or absinthe would also have a deleterious effect.  Psilocybin might bring about an improvement, however.

 

18 Well

They're def gonna be playoff contenders. Unless those "elite" defenses have an offense, those are Ws for Dallas at home (only AZ I'd say would have a potentially worthy offense, as of right now). LAC, NE, MN, NO, WAS and NY arent really that scary either.

Dallas LBs should at least be better and Dak is...being underrated? He's a massive upgrade. 

15 A Healthy Dak?

Didn't SIS's new predictive injury model just give Dak the highest 2021 injury risk in the NFL? Dak's fun to watch, so I hope he dodges that bullet and does take home the CPOY.

19 Dak had never missed a start…

In reply to by Seattle-Brian

Dak had never missed a start prior to last year. The injury was a fluke on a normal tackle by Logan Ryan. I would be very surprised if he doesn't play the full 16.

17 Green Bay...

Skipping over that very weird...description of the situation, I'm team Rodgers. I'm choosing the 3x MVP over any GM. In fact, I am the new GM. I will restructure his contract to show how it's harder to move on from him, thus showing more commitment, and will be fielding offers on Jordan Love from yall! Let's pretend GM together and strike a deal! 

And yes, there were small things over the years he didn't like, like cutting Kumerow (that was an actual good move though), but the TRADE UP for Love coming off an NFCCG is what pushed it over the edge and was completely unacceptable, hence why it was immediately panned and...looky there it's still awful! And even more so now! Wow! No one saw it remaining bad whatsoever!

So play GM and give me your best offer for Love, from whatever team you want to be. 

48 Yall no fun

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Fine, I'll do it myself. 

The Washington Foozball team offers a 2022 2nd, 2022 7th and 2023 7th. Packers accept. 

Good deal everyone!

22 Being a Packers fan I know I…

Being a Packers fan I know I could just talking myself into my hope that Mom and Dad are going to get back together. But I do think the emo kid routine from Rodgers belies the fact that he's planning to play for GB this season. He's unhappy, but his leverage to force a trade right now is pretty limited unless he's willing to forfeit a *lot* of money. Better to make vague statements about the higher ups in the organization and make them uncomfortable than actively antagonize the coaches and teammates you're likely to be working with this year.

He'll have more leverage next offseason with only two years left on his deal, two cheap years left on Love's contract, and the Packers in a tighter cap situation. IMO he's laying the groundwork now to get things moving more quickly on that front next February.

I also think he hasn't completely burned the bridge yet because he would be willing to stay with the Packers if they would in turn be willing to give him a no-doubt guaranteed financial commitment that ensures he will be the starter in Green Bay until he's ready to retire. At least, that's where the conflict started - maybe at this point we really are past the point of no return (after 2021, anyway, I think).

23 Next year?

That's when the team was planning on dumping him anyway. 2 years from the Love pick was the potential out with "only" $17.204m dead. Not exactly leverage when that's the whole point of them skirt skirt his restructure but not (almost) everyone elses (and putting max void years on King, Tonyan, Lewis etc). They'd love for him to come back, and then kick him to the curb next year to save $22.648m (instead of just $16.05m this year). That gets em (partially) out of the tight cap. 

Trying to have their cake and eat it too. 

31 Exactly right about the…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Exactly right about the organization having their cake and eating it too. But if Rodgers comes back and plays at an MVP level again this season, the Packers would presumably want to keep him around in 2022. At that point though they're going to be waaay over the cap and will need Rodgers to play ball with them to keep the group together. At that point Rodgers can say "I'm done with you, I want out," and the Packers have much greater incentives (like the cap savings you mention) to accede to his wishes.

Of course the above is still true if Rodgers sits out this season, but I don't think he's going to do it because it will cost him a massive amount of money. Plus, while it would be embarrassing to the organization if Rodgers sits, they won't save any money this season if they trade him and there's not really anything they can get back in a trade right now that they can't get next offseason, when there will probably be more bidders.

Maybe the scenario I haven't considered enough is a mid-season trade where Rodgers has stayed away like Carson Palmer and a desperate contender with an under-performing or injured QB offers a crazy package for him. Rodgers still has to eat a lot of money in that case, though, and be willing to sit out the whole year.

32 Perhaps

But anything else (much more likely) and they're fine. In some ways Rodgers might become more desirable and teams might give up more for the back to back MVP.

Annnnnnnnd now Davante has broken off extension talks. This is becoming a disaster.

34 Yeah, if they're not willing…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Yeah, if they're not willing to make Davante the highest-paid receiver after they (briefly) made Bakhtiari the highest-paid LT, I can see why the two sides are "in a bad place..."

35 Davantes no dummy

If he has to play with a rookie QB, he wasnt taking a discount. 

One of the reasons I didn't want to pay Bak (so much). We could get by without him (Rams playoffs) but without Davante the top WR next year is...a rookie 3rd rounder this year. Or UDFA Allen Lazard. Bak can protect as long as he wants but if recievers can't get open it won't really matter. And that isn't the most promising group. 

37 That makes the most sense to…

That makes the most sense to me from the Packers standpoint: Call Rodgers' bluff and make him show he's serious by staying home for a few weeks, then trade him to a desperate team once Ben Roethlisberger or somebody goes down for the year. I would be hesitant to hold onto him for the entire season and hope that there's a thriving market for a 38-year-old quarterback who hasn't played football in a year.

26 Yeah I don't think his…

Yeah I don't think his leverage really improves. I mean don't forget the Packers control Rodgers fate until the end of the 2023 season, even if he retires if he tries to come back before then the Packers still have control. Management's only reason to give in to him is to not lose the locker room or the fan base. Considering they brought back players after the Rodgers situation was public, and what has been made public by the players, they have not lost the team. They may have angered the fanbase, but then again there are plenty of fans like me who don't enjoy this situation, but they aren't going to lose me. Lived through the mediocre 80's lived through the Holmgren mini drama, lived through the Favre drama, management knows a huge portion of fans root for the laundry and always will. I believe 1959 was the last time they didn't have a non COVID related sellout. They aren't losing the fanbase over this.

If Rodgers really doesn't play this year the team gets some much needed cap relief and will have more time to seriously entertain trade options which they can execute next offseason with even less financial impact. It's not like Rodgers value is going to drop much with a year off. You know he'll keep himself in the public eye enough that other teams will see that he's still keeping in shape, and he or the team can even try and claim the year off helped heal all those minor things that never go away for football players, etc.

Rodgers is who he is, and while the whole thing was expected (as ImNewAroundHere pointed out already) it's still tedious.  I think Rodgers is doing everything he can with his limited options. I also agree that he hasn't been burning bridges with the players or coaches and that everything I hear from them is that they aren't upset with him either. The separation of the issues with the game from the issues with the business has been maintained fairly well. The CBA doesn't leave players a lot of options, they all know that, and so as long as Rodgers continues to not slag any of them the locker room from that standpoint should be fairly solid if he plays. I will point out Rodgers has been critical of the CBA and was quite annoyed with the players association for not fighting harder despite him doing what he could on that front too, leading to him stepping down as the teams player rep. There will be some poison in the locker room regardless because even with an understood beef with upper management, that still bleeds through, but it shouldn't be untenable or really any worse than anything else that creeps into a locker room. I think Rodgers learned from Favre there, Favre started to lose the locker room and there were players actively backing Rodgers over him when his drama was going on.

While I can blame GB management for the situation getting to where it is, once Rodgers exercised his limited options I don't think they have been all that bad in handling the situation either.  I know there are a lot of articles out there that just keep lambasting them over every little thing, but they haven't really done anything really egregious since the fracture went public. Which is good for them because they hold nearly all the power so just not doing something tremendously stupid works for them. Again it's better than how they handled Favre. Like I said this situation is tedious, but expected and well understood. That situation was annoying, frustrating, and just full of head scratching from both sides.

It seems pretty clear the org likes Gutekunst and the structure of the Packers makes it very unlikely that they will decide to dump him just to keep Rodgers happy. After Thompson stepped down for his health reasons it was pretty clear that Murphy/Gutekunst were going into "Life after Rodgers" mode. The contracts (not just Rodgers but the timing of some others) were being set up to move on from Rodgers after the 2021 season completed. The drafting of Love was clearly not just a whim he had obviously been discussed and rated well. Maybe if the rest of the org had issues with him dumping a GM to keep the MVP would happen, but that would indicate there were already cracks in the org to begin with, which would be a big problem itself. There are no indications that this is the case, the org seems to be on board with the Murphy/Gutekunst plan. While I'm not sure I'm onboard with it, I'm happy with a org that isn't internally fractured.

In a vacuum and given my personal opinion on Love and some of the direction the org has been going in I would be happy to see them dump Gutekunst to keep Rodgers. As mentioned that is not a realistic option and will not happen. I don't see any kind of long term deal happening either. So there will be one more season of Rodgers or he will refuse to play and last year was it. Right or wrong the org feels it's doing what it has to do for the long term health of the org I think they are resigned to one more year at best and honestly would have been happy to go maybe even 5 more, but if they truly believe in themselves they really shouldn't be showing signs of giving in.

So given that I don't see the org budging on getting rid of Gutekunst and given that they offered to make Rodgers the highest paid player in the league, though really only giving him 2 more years of "you're the starter" guarantees I don't see Rodgers budging either. Maybe if they would have given him the feeling that he was the man for the next 5 or 6 years he would be happy, but I doubt it, his annoyances seem deeper and as has been pointed out, it almost feels like he can't be "happy" without something to be upset with. Not an unusual trait in a highly successful athlete either so I'm not blaming him.

So Mike covered it. I don't see many other options even if I would like him to be the started for 5 more years. I figure the best we'll get is one more year with him being super pissed and playing well. As weird as the analogy is, one year of hate/break-up sex then it being over is probably best case for fans. (yes hate sex is a different deal though deed is fairly similar the motivations and aftermath are often different still think it's worth adding to the weird analogy)

 

33 I agree that the…

I agree that the organization has probably handled the situation fine through this offseason, being what it is, and they aren't going to lose the fanbase. (And if Love sucks, they're all going to lose their jobs regardless.)

The mistakes that the organization made were obviously prior to this offseason. While I understand that Rodgers' level of production had declined in '18 and '19 and so the front office was thinking about the future, I just think they got too cute trying to execute another planned transition. Rodgers/Favre occurred under a CBA with very different rookie contract rules, Rodgers was a potential #1 overall pick who fell into the Packers' lap very unexpectedly, Favre started talking publicly about retiring all the way back in like 2001... I could go on, but like you I'm guessing/hoping for one more great season and then we'll see where it goes. I do wish the best for Love if he becomes the guy, and maybe he'll prove there's something to be said about giving talented but flawed QB prospects extended time on the bench to develop.

39 "They aren't losing the…

"They aren't losing the fanbase over this."

This line made me think of a tangential point. Zach Lowe was opining about the post Westbrook Thunder who were about to enter an unusual phase for the franchise. Located in by far the smallest market, to that point they were either a bad team with lots of optimism( young KD, Harden, Westbrook) or were contenders or were really good. The fan base had never experienced prolonged terribleness and he wondered what it would mean for the franchise.

I know the Packers have had their low moments, but with some exceptions, it's been 3 decades of uninterrupted success where every season fans have been excited about a possible SB win. That is longer than any other franchise besides the Steelers. 

Once Rodgers departs, there will be a real chance that this franchise will experience a prolonged drought. I am genuinely curious how that will affect their fanbase or has 3 decades bought enough loyalty to outlast any drought?

 

46 The franchise has existed…

The franchise has existed for over 100 years, has a national following, and multiple generations of fans that have experienced success. I think they'll be totally fine. The team was nearly irrelevant throughout the entire 70s and 80s and I've always heard that even local interest was pretty low at that time - the games sold out, but the stadium wasn't always full. And yet I grew up in Green Bay in the 90s and I would never have had any idea the team had been anything less than crazy popular. Even if there's a drought, the fans would come right back as soon as they're good again. I bet some of the other Packers posters here actually have a better perspective on that, though.

28 Excellent summation of the…

Excellent summation of the sordid details.  My only (trivial) disagreement is with your Jeopardy guest host "ranking", though I agree with the Rodgers description.  We (sarcastically) called him "Mr. Excitement", because there was none.  However, we (wife and I) enjoyed Mayim Bialik's poise and dry humor (in the Trebek tradition) and were less thrilled by Katie Couric's gushiness - everything was wonderful!, contestants were doing great! (Even when they were in the red.)  Everything had an exclamation point.  Savannah G had some of the same, though lower key.  Dr. Gupta and Robin Roberts (always think of the Phillies' HOF pitcher) have impressed.  Ken J is tops for us and "Blossom" is #2.

43 I liked Blossom a little and…

I liked Blossom a little and kinda enjoyed Katie Couric laying it on a little thick. Much better that than Aaron Rodgers treating each contestant like a Tinder date he was trying to brush off by scrolling his phone while they talked. 

29 best writer they've ever featured...

Just wanna make it clear for the decision-makers at FO... By far, stuff written by Mike Tanier is why I finally renewed my subscription this year. When he goes, so do the meager contents of my wallet.

52 I have little sympathy for…

I have little sympathy for Rodgers. I never saw him as a sympathetic person.

It also fascinates me that he has to cycle through younger and younger celebrity girlfriends.