General manager Brian Gutekunst was the mastermind behind the Green Bay Packers’ decision to trade up and draft Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, and Aaron Rodgers seems to have taken that personally.
According to Bob McGinn of The Athletic, the primary reason for the rift between the Packers and their three-time MVP quarterback has been Rodgers’ “hard feelings” toward Gutekunst and some of the decisions he has made throughout his three seasons at the helm. He also revealed sources have told him Rodgers has mocked Gutekunst in group texts with his teammates, drawing a rather infamous comparison to the Packers’ general manager.
“According to sources, Rodgers has mocked Gutekunst in group chats with his teammates in Green Bay by referring to the GM as Jerry Krause. The late Krause, the general manager of the Chicago Bulls during their run of six NBA championships, was loathed by Michael Jordan for some personnel moves with which Jordan disagreed.”
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Krause Comparison is a Brutal One
Rodgers was a big fan of ESPN’s 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls season and clearly found some parallels between Jordan’s final chapter and what could end up being his with the Packers. Both are superstar athletes who have disagreed with the decision-making of their team’s general manager and tried taking matters into their own hands.
“I’ve gotten to know him a little bit over the years and always enjoy our interactions and have a ton of respect for what he accomplished in the game,” Rodgers said of Jordan last May, via NFL.com. “He’s the greatest basketball player of all time. Really I’d love to debate anybody on that.”
In Rodgers’ case, Gutekunst has been regularly cast as the villain in the media for making his move to land Love in the 2020 offseason. Even Gutekunst himself has acknowledged he has regrets about how the communication of the decision was handled. Still, Rodgers referring to Gutekunst as “Jerry Krause” in texts his teammates introduces a new level of distaste into their relationship. It also reinforces what Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported over the weekend that Rodgers wants Gutekunst out as general manager.
Rodgers’ Beef With Packers Not About Money
Now, before the bombshell reports about Rodgers came out, there was a good amount of talk about whether the Packers would restructure Rodgers’ contract for the 2021 season or offer him a longer-term commitment in the form of an extension. Both options would have helped the team create valuable salary-cap space for the current NFL year as well as add more guaranteed money onto Rodgers’ deal. Turns out, Rodgers may not have been interested in either.
McGinn added that, in recent months, the Packers have offered to make Rodgers the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL with an extension that would seemingly give him the long-term security he originally seemed to want from the team after Love’s selection.
“Those overtures were turned aside,” McGinn wrote. “The fractured relationship between the quarterback and team seems to have little to nothing to do with money.”