Aaron Rodgers has only done one football-related interview since his rift with the Packers became public and as you may or may not have noticed, the reigning MVP didn't mention any specific reasons for why he's currently in a spat with the team he's spent his entire career with.
According to one report, Rodgers is upset with Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and won't play for the team this season unless Green Bay gets rid of him. One person who disagrees with the take is James Jones, who spent eight seasons with Rodgers in Green Bay.
Not only is the former Packers receiver considered a close friend of Rodgers, but he's also been kind of serving as the unofficial spokesman for the quarterback over the past few weeks. Jones is one of the few people who has been communicating with Rodgers, which is why it was so interesting to hear what Jones had to say about the drama during an interview with Colin Cowherd this week.
First and foremost, Jones says there are two main issues that Rodgers has with the Packers right now.
The first one?
"His No. 1 beef is a private conversation on the phone that I can't share with you," Jones said.
This is a situation that doesn't need anymore mystery, but we're getting more, because Jones didn't give any details about what was said on this private phone call. If Rodgers was talking to Jones, it appears he let his former teammate know what his biggest issue is with the Packers. If Rodgers was talking to someone in the Packers organization, it's clear that Rodgers was irked by the call if it's his "No. 1 beef."
If Rodgers is mad about one specific thing, it's almost impossible to say what that is because there have been so many things that have upset him over the past few years. If we look at just the past few months, there's one notable situation that stands out.
At some point this offseason, the Packers reportedly let Rodgers know that they were going to trade him before deciding not to pull the trigger on a deal.
Sources: The Packers reportedly told Aaron Rodgers they were going to trade him in the off season, then backed off. It’s been a bleep show between them ever since. And within the last week Rodgers told the team.. trade or no trade I’m not coming back. Buckle up folks— trey wingo (@wingoz) April 29, 2021
The Packers have said that it's "unequivocally false" that they made any sort of promise like that to Rodgers (The quarterback hasn't made any comment on the report). Either way, things got so serious that Rodgers actually thought he was going to be traded to the 49ers the day before the draft. After the 49ers trade fell through -- the Packers quickly said no way -- it was leaked out that Rodgers isn't happy in Green Bay and the timing probably wasn't a coincidence.
If reports say that the Packers promised him a trade and they say they didn't, it's possible that both parties are correct. That would be possible if there was some sort of miscommunication that happened and if that's the case, it could easily be something that pushed Rodgers over the edge.
As for the other reason why Rodgers is unhappy with the Packers, it wasn't really a surprise: Rodgers isn't thrilled that the team keeps cutting players that he likes.
"He's seen a lot of guys walk out of that building and play very good football," Jones said." He wants to make sure that a lot of guys like that (stick around) ... These dudes are big in the locker room, and I think that's what important to him."
Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are all notable players that the Packers have cut over the past few years that would have lasted longer in Green Bay if Rodgers had been making the decisions.
Back in May, it was reported that the release of Jake Kumerow, who was cut in September, was the "death knell" in Rodgers' relationship with the Packers. At the time, it seemed kind of ridiculous to think that the release of a fifth-string wideout could upset Rodgers like that, but when you hear Jones' explanation, it all makes sense. Kumerow getting cut was basically the straw that broke the camel's back. After seeing multiple friends get released, Rodgers finally snapped after Kumerow was let go in September 2020 (The move came just one day after Rodgers had publicly lauded Kumerow for his solid play, which likely upset Rodgers even more).
The bottom line here is that it seems like Rodgers just wants to have some sort of say when it comes to personnel input, especially with guys he's built a relationship with.
One other thing Jones mentioned is that Gutekunst isn't the problem.
"I've talked to Aaron," Jones said. "I talk to him all the time. And he's told me that it's not about the [general manager]. It's not about new money. It's not about the GM. So when I hear everybody on here say, 'It's about getting the GM fired' and these things, it's not about that."
This is exactly what CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported in May. Gutekunst has only been the general manager since January 2018, so he wasn't involved in many of the decisions that Rodgers eventually became upset with.
As JLC noted in his May story, Rodgers has felt blindsided by many of the moves that the Packers front office has made, from drafting Jordan Love to hiring LaFleur without talking to him to promoting Russ Ball to director of football operations. One thing all three of those moves have in common is that Mark Murphy had to sign off on them. Murphy doesn't want to see the situation with his QB divide the fan base, but in the same breath, the Packers are regularly making decisions that undermine Rodgers, which is why they're in the situation they're in right now.
If the current Packers front office stays intact, it won't be surprising if Rodgers responds by simply doing what he's already doing: Staying away from Green Bay.
In his only conversation about all the drama in Green Bay, Rodgers made it clear that he "loves" everyone in the organization, but he noticeably left out the front office and you can bet that wasn't a coincidence.
"With my situation, look, it's never been about the draft pick, picking Jordan [Love]," Rodgers said on May 25. "I love Jordan, he's a great kid. A lot of fun to work together. I love the coaching staff, love my teammates, love the fan base in Green Bay. It's been an incredible 16 years."
Despite all the drama, Jones still thinks the situation between Rodgers and the Packers is "fixable" and you can read more about that by clicking here.