The afternoon before the start of the 2021 NFL Draft brought a wave of Aaron Rodgers rumors, after Adam Schefter opened the floodgates with his report that the Green Bay Packers quarterback wanted out. Among them: former ESPNer Trey Wingo’s report that the Packers “told Aaron Rodgers they were going to trade him in the offseason, then backed off.”
“It’s been a bleep show between them ever since,” Wingo continued. “And within the last week Rodgers told the team.. trade or no trade I’m not coming back.”
For a while, it looked like Rodgers was destined to be moved, though after the Packers elected not to make a trade ahead of the draft, it became much less likely. Rodgers could retire and forfeit a $23 million signing bonus and his nearly $15 million salary for the 2021 season to get out from under Green Bay’s control, but the team has been very clear that it will not trade him at this point.
Now, ProFootballTalk reports that a trade has never been in the cards for the franchise. According to Mike Florio, a team source says that Rodgers was never at any point told that he would be moved this offseason.
There's a persistent sense in league circles that Aaron Rodgers believes that Packers at one point during the offseason said they'd trade him; the Packers regard that claim as entirely untrue. https://t.co/CVB6oTVPc6
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 13, 2021
Florio doesn’t deny that many around the league say that Rodgers believes he was told that by the team. It is possible that their signals got crossed somewhere, and Rodgers was under that impression. He and the Packers certainly haven’t been on the same page for some time now.
From the team side though, it doesn’t sound like they were actually prepared to make a move. Considering the San Francisco 49ers, who had the No. 3 pick in the NFL Draft, and the Denver Broncos, who picked No. 9, both reached out about Aaron Rodgers, and that seems to be the case.
Per a team source, the Packers regard the notion that Rodgers was told he’d be traded as “unequivocally false.”
Taking it a step farther, the Packers weren’t even aware that Rodgers believed he’d be traded before the reporting on this specific point emerged. If, as some believe, some sort of misunderstanding arose during the communications between player and team, at some point someone from Rodgers’ camp would have said to the Packers, “Wait, we thought you said you were trading him?” That, we’re told, hasn’t happened.
If the Green Bay Packers reverse course and deal Rodgers after June 1, there would be significant salary cap benefits. However, the team seems pretty dedicated to holding on to the reigning MVP. Whether they can get him back in the fold and happy with his situation, and ready to play by this fall… that is a much bigger question.