It has certainly been an eventful offseason for the Green Bay Packers and we’re not done with the changes just yet. The Packers are still negotiating the details of the trade of Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. Meanwhile, GM Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur are trying to do damage control about why they are trading Rodgers and are trying to manage first-year expectations for new starter Jordan Love.
On social media and articles, speculation rages and fans are frustrated, angry and even arguing with each other.
Here are five things I am tired of seeing about the Green Bay Packers this offseason and why.
- Debates About Who Has Leverage In a Potential Aaron Rodgers Trade
Who has more leverage, the Packers or the Jets? The answer is both sides have some leverage and both sides are vulnerable in some ways. But to cut through all the chatter, both teams ultimately need to get this job done.
The Packers don’t want to be stuck with Rodgers after all the conflict between the quarterback and the front office. It wouldn’t be fair to Jordan Love to have Rodgers hang around just like the Packers couldn’t have Brett Favre in training camp in 2008 after they committed to go with Rodgers as their starter.
The Jets meanwhile have no realistic alternative at quarterback and have sold their fans and built their roster around having Rodgers under center. Lamar Jackson would cost them a lot more in compensation and the Jets have already said they aren’t going to pursue the Ravens quarterback. They don’t have anybody on their present roster who is anywhere near what Rodgers can provide for them.
The Jets franchise hasn’t won a Super Bowl or even been to a Super Bowl since January of 1969 when Joe Namath led them to a title in Super Bowl III. They feel they have a talented roster and just need to upgrade at quarterback to be contenders.
Both teams need to get this job done and they will and it will almost certainly happen during or before this year’s draft.
- Rodgers Isn’t Gone Yet
Yes, as of the time of this article, Rodgers is still officially under contract with the Green Bay Packers and he’s still on the roster. But he’s not coming back barring a major miracle.
One thing we can say about both GM Brian Gutekunst and Rodgers is that both have a lot of pride and large egos and neither will feel comfortable working with the other anymore. Gutekunst will be embarrassed if Rodgers sits on the bench in Green Bay and Rodgers won’t want to be in that situation either. He wants to play and wants a chance to win another Super Bowl not as a backup but as the starter.
The Packers and Rodgers will soon part ways. Too many bridges have been burned and nobody benefits if a trade is not made.
- Who Is to Blame for Rodgers Departure?
There are some Packers fans who believe that management let Rodgers down by not surrounding him with enough talent over the years and others who believe Rodgers stopped being a team player and made it all about him recently.
Unless we’re in the room with all parties, we don’t fully know everything that happened between Rodgers and management over the years.
We can argue all day whether Rodgers or Gutekunst or Mark Murphy is to blame for this parting of the ways. But like any relationship that ends, all parties usually have some responsibility for the breakdown in communication and the ultimate breakup. Nobody is 100 percent wrong and nobody is 100 percent right.
Packers fans hope that Rodgers and the organization will repair their relationship in the future so Rodgers can return to Lambeau Field to have his number retired and to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame but right now, the relationship has reached the breakup point.
- Jordan Love Will Fail
So many fans have commented on articles about the transition to Jordan Love saying they know Love will be terrible and he’s another Brett Hundley and he’ll never be a starting quarterback in this league.
Look, that may turn out to be true but the bottom line right now is we just don’t know. When the Packers drafted Love in 2020, they knew he had raw skills and talent but needed some coaching and time to develop. Sitting behind Rodgers for a few years would give him that time. In the meantime, the coaching staff worked on his footwork, ability to read defenses and helped him adjust to life in the NFL.
Thus far, Love has started one game in the NFL and that came when Rodgers was placed on the Covid-list at the last minute.
Last season, he filled in during four games and threw 21 passes. He looked good in those games, especially against the Eagles, but this is a very limited sample size. Heck, Love has only thrown 83 passes in his NFL career thus far and we don’t know what he’s capable of becoming.
Teammates like De’Vondre Campbell and Aaron Jones have said he looks ready to start and is better than many NFL starting quarterbacks in this league. They practiced with or against him all season so they saw first-hand what he’s capable of.
This is Love’s chance to show the league what he can do. He is unlikely to be an All Pro in his first season. Rodgers wasn’t. But Love deserves a chance to prove he can be a good NFL quarterback just like Rodgers did after he started in place of Favre in 2008.
- The Packers Season Is Lost
The season hasn’t even begun yet. The 2022 campaign was a big disappointment as the team fell from 13 wins and being the top seed in the NFL playoffs to eight wins and missing the postseason.
Will things be different in 2023 for the Packers? Of course. We’ll see more of LaFleur’s offense with plays that play more to Love’s skill set rather than Rodgers’. We’ll see new receivers and tight ends and the start of a new era in Green Bay.
This team is not devoid of talent. Players like Aaron Jones, David Bakhtiari, De’Vondre Campbell, Elgton Jenkins, Kenny Clark and Jaire Alexander have all been selected to Pro Bowls or named All Pro. The NFC is wide open and there is no dominant team on paper.
It’s too soon to write off the entire season with so many unknowns. It’s likely the team will take a step back with the hope of taking two steps forward but we do need to let this situation play out and see what the team looks like before we give up on the team.
The Packers haven’t had this much uncertainty entering a season in 15 years. There are many fans who may not even remember 2008. But we’ll see how these changes work out over time.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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