CLEVELAND -- Aaron Rodgers is serious about wanting out of Green Bay and he's using all leverage available to him.
League sources have confirmed the ESPN report that the reigning NFL MVP is so disgruntled that he's told the Packers he wants out of Green Bay. It's why the San Francisco 49ers called Green Bay earlier in the week to inquire about trading for him, and it's why Green Bay GM Brian Gutekunst repeatedly said Rodgers was in Green Bay's plans for "the foreseeable future."
The Packers have offered Rodgers, 37, a contract extension. His issue goes beyond money with Green Bay, though. If he had issues with management over the years, none of it compared to his feeling of being blindsided by the Jordan Love pick last year.
The Packers traded from No. 30 to No. 26 last year to get the Utah State quarterback. The face of the franchise, Rodgers was not informed of that prior to the pick. Though he was cordial with the young quarterback and even reached out via a phone call in the days following the pick, his MVP-level play ensured Love never saw the field last season.
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Rodgers does not have a no-trade clause in his contract. But he also has no more guaranteed money left on his deal, which included a $57.5 million signing bonus that at the time was the largest in NFL history.
The Packers are positioning themselves as though they have leverage, but it all depends on if Rodgers truly wants to play football again. Retirement isn't completely out of the question for Rodgers, especially after his stint guest-hosting Jeopardy! went well and with hopes that it could turn into a full-time gig down the road.
My sources indicate that Rodgers still wants to play, though. And he can easily dictate where he wants to go because a contract would have to be worked out wherever he would land. I don't have this from a source, but he's a West Coast guy so you can piece together what teams he'd be most interested in.
Any team outside of Tampa and Kansas City should be calling the Packers. And the Packers should be listening. As one league source speaking as Rodgers but not for Rodgers put it, "You have your quarterback, Green Bay. You don't need me."
What this means for the Packers as they enter tonight's NFL draft will be interesting. I had been told Green Bay, knowing Rodgers' displeasure, planned to draft a wide receiver in the first round for the first time since Rodgers became the starter. If that happens, I'd view it as yet another olive branch the franchise is offering its three-time NFL MVP.