Well, he still handed some Green Bay Packers swag to the Dalai Lama, so Aaron Rodgers can’t be too unhappy. But some people like to stir shit.
So some people have suggested that Aaron Rodgers is unhappy. What could he be unhappy about?
For one, he still hasn’t gotten that fat new contract that general manager Brian Gutekunst said he wanted to do quickly, back in February. Gutekunst had good reason for wanting to move quickly, of course. We all knew Kirk Cousins was going to become the highest-paid player in the game once free agency started in March. Cousins did and because they’re a bunch of frickin’ idiots, the Minnesota Vikings gave him an unprecedented fully-guaranteed deal.
So Rodgers waited to see what Cousins got, which was smart. However, the Cousins’ deal has only complicated matters between Rodgers and the Packers, who surely don’t want to hand out a deal as dumb as the one the Vikings did.
In other words, if Rodgers wanted to sign some record-breaking extension, well, we’re sure he could have done so already. It’s the finer points of the deal that are no doubt holding this one up.
The Quarterback Coach
Rodgers was close friends with former Packers’ quarterback coach Alex Van Pelt.
Van Pelt was let go during the coaching staff shakeup following the season. Or at least that’s one way to look at it. In reality, Van Pelt let his contract expire, much like another former Packers’ QB coach — Ben McAdoo. Van Pelt had his eye on an offensive coordinator position and, like McAdoo, knew he wouldn’t get a shot at one as long as he was under contract with the Packers. Coach Mike McCarthy has a history of not letting position coaches interview elsewhere while they are under contract with Green Bay.
Van Pelt took a calculated risk that didn’t work out as planned. He landed with the Cincinnati Bengals as their QB coach. While a lateral move, if he can make Andy Dalton look good, he’ll surely get an OC position somewhere.
When Van Pelt was let go, Rodgers seemed miffed. He seemed to think he should have been consulted.
“Well, my quarterback coach didn’t get retained,” Rodgers said. “I thought that was an interesting change, really without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach, and that was an interesting decision.”
Could the Packers had tried to retain Van Pelt? Yes, they could have. However, do we even know Van Pelt wanted to return? No, we do not.
For one, he failed miserably in preparing Brett Hundley. Two, does anyone really believe Van Pelt made Rodgers great? Or does Rodgers just make Van Pelt look good?
I’m guessing the latter. Whether he wanted to or not, Van Pelt needed to go elsewhere and make someone mediocre look good or how is going to move up?
So Rodgers can be miffed about that change all he wants, but there were a lot of factors at play. Which coach is Aaron Rodgers’ buddy wasn’t and shouldn’t have been the biggest consideration for anyone.
The No. 1 Receiver
There’s no doubt Rodgers still had chemistry with Jordy Nelson, even if Nelson had lost a step. The two hooked up for six touchdowns before Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone in 2017.
When the Packers released Nelson earlier this offseason, Rodgers was saddened.
It was a cost-cutting move made so the Packers could sign tight end Jimmy Graham. You know who probably could have saved Nelson?
He could have done so by signing the much-awaited contract extension. Doing so, would have allowed the Packers to create some salary cap flexibility in order to restructure Nelson at a reasonable number.
Still, Rodgers seems ticked off about the whole thing.
“I think it’s pretty clear that players play and coaches coach and personnel people make their decisions,” Rodgers said last week. “That’s the way they want it.”
Yes, and that’s also how most NFL organizations are run.
Is It All Bad?
We’re not suggesting that Rodgers is cranky prick or won’t give his all this season. He genuinely sounds excited about the year ahead most of the time.
After having missed most of 2017, we imagine he can’t wait to get back on the field.
Still, the “That’s the way they want it” comment suggests he isn’t totally happy with McCarthy for letting Van Pelt go and he isn’t happy with Gutekunst for releasing Nelson. Rodgers seems to want more of a role in dictating coaching and personnel decisions that directly affect him.
But what is he going to do other than take his fat paycheck and take it out on opposing defenses?