Aaron Rodgers is the great white hope of the Green Bay Packers. He’s the team’s best player, the one they drafted first in the 2005 NFL draft, the one who carried the team to the Super Bowl in 2010, and the one who has led them to three NFC North titles in four seasons. But in the last year, the Packers have cut another one of their best players, Bryan Bulaga, in favor of his younger brother, Josh. Is it time for the Packers to replace Rodgers with someone who will be better for the franchise?
With the Packers’ preseason nearly over, Green Bay’s front office engaged in some cut-happy activity on Friday night.
Aaron Rodgers, the Packers quarterback, has been getting a lot of flak lately from the Green Bay front office. They cut another of his favorite targets, former Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings, earlier this week.
It seemed like everything would be OK when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers returned to Wisconsin after a summer of unhappiness. He went straight into practice after expressing his particular concerns in a spectacular news conference outburst, and it seemed that his troubles were ready to put his summer problems behind him.
However, Rodgers’ animosity with the front office resurfaced on NFL cut-down day, when the club cut a player that Rodgers had gone out of his way to laud, exactly as they had done in 2020 to start this whole issue.
Aaron Rodgers has a grudge against the Green Bay Packers’ executive management.
After months of “will he or won’t he” speculation, Aaron Rodgers eventually reported for the 2021 NFL season. One of the first things he did was get some things off his chest. “What was this all about, for you?” a reporter asked as the errant quarterback walked up to the microphone at the Packers complex.
The next 30 minutes were absolute treasure.
He wanted to be “more engaged in discussions directly impacting my work,” according to his grievances with the Green Bay front office. He also said that the club had made “mistakes in the past” by dismissing “high character” individuals who Rodgers believes should have remained with the team.
Rodgers went into more depth about his grievances, but the basic themes remained the same. The front management didn’t ask for or listen to his input often enough, and general manager Brian Gutekunst and his crew cut players who might still contribute to the club.
The Jake Kumerow story is a great illustration of Rodgers’ problems with the Green Bay establishment. Rodgers complimented the former Division II wide receiver in a radio broadcast during training camp in 2020. He described him as a “reliable performer” and a “great, consistent player.” The Packers dismissed Kumerow hours after the public acclaim, a decision that allegedly angered Rodgers.
Rodgers returned to work after the news conference, perhaps putting his personal feud with Gutekunst behind him. When a reporter made a joke about a rookie tight end named Bronson Kaufusi, who Rodgers admired ending up in Buffalo as Kumerow did last season, he laughed.
The Packers then pulled off the unimaginable.
GM Brian Gutekunst cut a player Rodgers complimented yet again.
Aaron Rodgers just informed @peter king that TE6 Bronson Kaufusi is one of his favorite players.
Last year, after Rodgers complimented Jake Kumerow, the Packers released him, and he currently plays for the Bills. “I can’t wait to watch what Kaufusi accomplishes in Buffalo this year,” says @RobDemovsky.
The response of Aaron Rodgers: pic.twitter.com/rR00YUVBjz
August 18, 2021 — Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman)
Bronson Kaufusi was drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He was a defensive end for BYU at the time. According to the Desert News, the 6-foot-6, 275-pound Utah native converted to tight end after many unsuccessful years rushing the passer with the Ravens and New York Jets.
Kaufusi was signed by the Packers in his new position, and the converted defensive player grabbed Aaron Rodger’s attention during training camp:
I’m still playing, I’m still having these connections, I’m still growing relationships with men… Getting to know these other men is a big part of what I like. Bronson Kaufusi, our tight end, is one of my favorites.
Bronson Kaufusi on Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers clearly appreciates character and chemistry as much as sheer skill or fit, so that’s great praise. So Gutekunst made sure to retain Kaufusi in order to make Rodgers happy during what might be his last season at Lambeau, right?
The Packers dismissed Kaufusi on Tuesday, which Rodgers had to take as a blatant smack in the face.
The Packers were fortunate in that no one claimed the former Cougar, thus he was added to the practice squad. While this may seem to be a silver lining, it really worsens the front office’s appearance.
They obviously felt the tight end was talented enough to be a part of the team. They couldn’t simply hand him over to Rodgers. Gutekunst was forced to put him on waivers, and the club was on the verge of losing another favorite of their already disgruntled quarterback.
The Packers’ 2021 season will be packed with intrigue.
Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images | Aaron Rodgers
One of the most difficult things in the world to forecast is how a club will do throughout an NFL season. What does seem definite for the Green Bay Packers in 2021 is that there will be more turmoil before the season begins.
Aaron Rodgers and Brian Gutekunst have both made it obvious that they despise one another. The quarterback has stated it with his words, and the general manager has shown it with his deeds.
There’s a good possibility this will spill over into the NFL season in some manner. Whether it’s a thinly disguised blow made by Rodgers after a great victory or Gutekunst refusing to listen to Rodgers’ request before the trade deadline, this continuing tension will surface again.
This sort of strain may lead to success in other sports. The Bronx Zoo Yankees and the Kobe/Shaq partnership are excellent examples. Football, on the other hand, is a different matter. Distractions are the dreaded “D-word” for NFL teams.
The Rodgers-Gutekunst dispute is a Distraction with a capital D, and it will not end well for the Packers in 2021. Rodgers’ last season in green and gold is likely to be a disaster.
But it’ll be entertaining to see!
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