The Green Bay Packers weren’t allowed to enjoy their weekend much. Even before the 2021 NFL draft began, madness ensued when Adam Schefter revealed that MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers had grown disgruntled with the team’s front office. It has gotten so bad that he even told certain teammates he’s unlikely to return. Retirement might even be on the table if the Packers aren’t willing to trade him.
This took place just hours before the 1st round began. Sounds rough. GM Brian Gutekunst deflected any ideas of a trade happening. He reiterated that the team is committed to Rodgers moving forward. Nobody knows if he’ll be forced to change that stance not too long from now. It seems clear that the 37-year old quarterback is dug in and won’t be easily swayed.
Perhaps a productive draft might pique his interest.
Based on the opinions of some experts? It’s unlikely that will be the case. The reactions can be called mixed at best. Yet by far the best (or worst) one depending on your point of view comes courtesy of NBC Sports draft analyst Thor Nystrom. He was floored by the decisions Green Bay made across the past three days. Not in a good way either. It was so bad that he handed them an actual F. One of just two teams to receive such a grade. The other being the Las Vegas Raiders.
“Green Bay’s 2021 draft didn’t feature a flashy, controversial pick to light up talk radio as Love did. What lingered was Gutey’s receiver-aversion and habit of reaching. Instead of being okay with a consolation prize of extra picks and a choice of most Tier-2 corners, Gutey had to get his favorite of the group, Eric Stokes. Only one corner would go on to be selected over the next 14 picks. I’m clearly lower on Stokes than Green Bay is, but what was more concerning to me was seeing another example of rotten board management…
…Gutekunst finally did get around to taking a WR at 3.85. But even that decision was a head-scratcher, with the Packers deciding on Amari Rogers, a glorified running back in the Ty Montgomery mold that only catches screen passes and the like.”
Ouch. Nystrom wasn’t alone. A number of others came away lukewarm on the Packers’ draft. Mel Kiper Jr. gave it a B-, tied for second-worst among teams in the draft. Pro Football Focus gave them a C-. The pick that generated the most confusion was their 1st rounder, Stokes. Many felt he was more athlete than good cornerback and looked more like a 2nd or even 3rd round option. Taking him at #29 felt like quite a risk.
Green Bay Packers better hope Rodgers cools down
The team seems to believe they’re a Super Bowl contender with that roster. In reality? People are terrified to see what it will look like without Rodgers under center. His 2020 season was absurd. Over 4,200 yards, 48 touchdowns, five interceptions, and over 70% of his passes completed. The fact they still didn’t even reach the Super Bowl despite him posting that kind of season should offer a clear idea of the cold reality they face if he doesn’t return.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that rumors insist the Green Bay Packers coaching staff desperately want him to return. Not just because he’s the MVP. Also because they have a pretty good idea of where that team is headed if he doesn’t. Jordan Love would become the new quarterback and more than a few people aren’t overly optimistic he’s ready to assume the mantle. Or if he ever will be.
This is why optimism is so high in Chicago.
If Rodgers departs, it may not be long before the Bears have the best quarterback in the NFC North. That is how many believers there are in Justin Fields. It is too early to dream such dreams though. For the time being, it is best to sit back and enjoy the headaches Green Bay will likely continue to suffer in the coming months.