The Packer Reality if Rodgers Demands Gutekunst Be Fired
There have been repeated stories put in print and the airways that Aaron Rodgers is demanding the firing of Packer GM Brian Gutekunst. If this demand, coupled with the threat to “retire” is true, then Rodgers is never coming back. Rodgers is not just asking for a member of the front office to be fired, he is asking for total control of the team. If Rodgers has enough power in the organization to fire the GM, that would give Rodgers veto power over players and draft picks. How could the next GM feel comfortable drafting any player without AR’s approval? Rodgers was not happy with the 4th down field goal decision by LaFleur, is he next? On the Packer executive team, who would be next to feel the wrath of Aaron’s axe? Packer President Mark Murphy knows he could be next. As he himself stated, “We’re not idiots.”
Every player on the team would also soon realize that they are also on the Rodgers chopping block if they “don’t earn Aaron’s trust”. It is easy to state that our quarterback is putting his own self interest ahead of the interests of his teammates. But, there is more to this mess than just a selfish employee. In the NFL, quarterbacks have more influence on victories. This gives quarterbacks more money than their teammates. Some positions in football are more dangerous than quarterback. Running backs are often lucky to have a five to six year prime production level before the toll of all those tackles breaks their bodies down. But Aaron is not holding out for pay equity across the board for his teammates. He is holding out for personal control over the Packer’s player decisions.
It is one thing for Rodgers to ask his teammates to take less money than he gets. There is a hierarchy in the NFL. The more your team wins, the more money each player hopes to get paid. But if Rodgers were to win this battle over control of Packer players, things will feel differently in a locker room where each player knows your QB has the final say on cutdown day. When the Aaron Rodgers axe does fall on a player, or a contract is not being extended in the way another player wants, when does the player bypass Russ Ball and go straight to A-Rod? If Rodgers with his power requests a contract that requires other players to be cut, how does that affect the teams ability to win? Even more importantly, how does it affect the player’s perception of Rodgers as the de facto GM? Rodgers tried being a union rep for a year. Players didn’t agree with him. He quit. Does he really want to be the de facto GM?
Rodgers will turn 38 this season. Every fan should think back on every quarterback they admired over the years and remember their production at age 29, and then at 39. This is not an indictment on Rodgers current abilities. He was the MVP last year. But Father Time spares no one and Aaron Rodgers will suffer the same fate as every other athlete. As he ages his athletic abilities will dwindle. The Packers record in 2025 will depend on some of the decisions that were made in this 2021 draft. Even more crucial will be the next three years. Is Aaron Rodgers the man the Packers want making those decisions? A better question is do the Packers want to acknowledge to every NFL agent that they will dismantle their front office every time a good quarterback wants the front office fired?
This feud could not come at a worse time for many Packer fans. So many fans rely on the tourism that eight games and an open Lambeau Field bring to Green Bay. From cash for parking in your front yard to hotel, restaurant, Uber, AirB&B, to jobs at Lambeau, many fans also rely on this team financially. Losing Aaron Rodgers right after a Covid shutdown puts many into fear mode. Could this affect my family? All of us who have worked for a boss we disliked have made choices. Life is not a bed of roses. It is a reality of compromises. You make the best choices for yourself and your family. Long term, Packer fans and Green Bay families should be alright. Making it through a tough winter is how we were raised.
Often companies, including professional football teams, are analogized as a family. People call their fellow employees their work families. In any family, when one member puts their desires above all the others there are consequences. Relationships are strained. Sometimes the damage is permanent. The permanence is really up to the individuals involved. Do you love your family and forgive them when you believe they were wrong? Is the relationship more important than winning every battle? We know Rodgers is willing to let family relationships sever. The rumors seem to indicate that his Packer relationship cannot be repaired while allowing Gutekunst to remain. But Rodgers is too smart not to have considered the broad implications of such a request. Even if time shows Gutekunst to be an inadequate GM, there is no team that will fire the front office when an agent demands it be done. Even if that player is your franchise quarterback. If that is truly the line in the sand, then Aaron Rodgers is already gone.