Following the first round of the NFL Draft last Thursday, Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst publicly addressed the bombshell report regarding quarterback Aaron Rodgers' discontent, stating that the franchise has no desire to trade the reigning league MVP.
But it appears that the Packers were prepared for their relationship with Rodgers to sour well before draft day arrived and rampant rumors surfaced.
According to Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com, Green Bay reportedly scouted Day 2 quarterback prospects in this year's draft class, with Gutekunst as an active participant during the process.
"It's kind of strange. Why would they be doing this? I know they do their due diligence, but it seemed like it was kind of serious interest," Dunne told CBS Sports Radio's The DA Show on Friday. "And now we know in retrospect, they were preparing for this nuclear explosion from Aaron Rodgers... Publicly, they've been saying again and again that they want Aaron Rodgers to be their quarterback. I believe them. I mean, you want your MVP back. But, at some point -- and this is what's really interesting to me with this whole stalemate -- if you're Green Bay, if you're [executive] Mark Murphy, Brian Gutekunst, even [head coach] Matt LaFleur, at what point do you just say enough is enough?
"I know he's unbelievably talented. But this is nothing new. They've seen this before. They've seen things like those Jerry Krause text messages before. Obviously, a head coach was fired, they got him a new coach, they gave him control at the line of scrimmage, they surrounded him with weapons. I don't know what else the Packers would need to do to make him happy. At some point, you just have to say, 'We know you're really, really good. But if we can get XYZ for you and just get behind Jordan Love...' It sounds crazy, but I think Green Bay is getting to that point.
"And that's me saying it, not necessarily somebody with the team. But I would have to think they're getting to that point -- especially when Aaron Rodgers is leaving you no other options. He's dug-in. He's dug in, I can't see him changing his mind. Everybody I talk to says this guy isn't going to change his mind. At some point, you almost have to stop fawning over him publicly, and chart a new direction as an organization."
Last Friday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Rodgers is seriously considering retirement as an option unless the dramatic rift with Green Bay is "repaired to his liking." Although this phrasing is ambiguous, Rapoport's news came roughly 24 hours after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Rodgers no longer wants to play for the Packers.
The consensus around the league is that Rodgers' beef is mainly directed toward Gutekunst. According to Bob McGinn of The Athletic, Rodgers has reportedly mocked Gutekunst in group chats with teammates, and compared him to former Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause, who was detested by NBA legend Michael Jordan in spite of the team's dominance during the 1990s.
It's unclear whether Rodgers' return to Green Bay would be contingent upon the organization firing Gutekunst, or him having more involvement with personnel decisions. But Dunne believes an acrimonious divorce is inevitable.
"He wants out. Everything I'm told is that he just wants out of Green Bay. He's done with Green Bay," Dunne said. "He saw how the Brett Favre [era] played out. As somebody who cares deeply about the narrative of his career, his life, how he's viewed by others in the history of the game, at first I thought this would really bother him if Packers fans were ticked off and there was a lot of backlash, like we saw those 24-48 hours after that 'Fire Gutekunst' report. I think that does matter to him.
"But, seeing how the Brett Favre situation played out, seeing how they booed the hell out of him when he returned to Lambeau Field as a Minnesota Viking. And then two years later, what happened? His number's up in the rafters, they're bring him back for the Packers Hall of Fame. They're filling the stadium in the middle of the summer. They're cheering this guy, they're worshiping this guy. He'll get that moment one day. I think Aaron Rodgers is okay going through whatever he has to go through right now to get out of Green Bay. And, barring a miracle, I can't see how he stays..."
In 2020, Rodgers completed a career-high 70.7-percent of his passes for 4,299 yards with 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions. According to Spotrac.com, the 37-year-old has three years remaining on his contract with Green Bay, and his $37.2 million cap hit this upcoming season is expected to lead the entire league.
The entire Rodgers-Packers conversation between Dunne and DA can be accessed in the video and audio players above.