Former Green Bay Packers general manager Andrew Brandt served as director of player finance/football operations for the team from 1999-2008. In that span, he negotiated myriad contracts, managed the salary cap and handled the team’s legal and business affairs. He also worked with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, and he was there when the Pack made the transition from Favre to A-Rod.
“There was tension in that situation between the two of them that surfaced from time to time; we were able to keep that largely hidden from public view,” Brandt wrote in his latest column for Sports Illustrated, in reference to the two legendary quarterbacks.
“To be clear, I don’t subscribe to the narrative that the Packers have not ‘helped’ Rodgers on the personnel side,” Brandt added. “The Packers have a top-five offensive line, a top 10 running back, maybe the league’s top receiver and their tight end led the league in touchdowns for the position.”
The former Green Bay executive then revealed what he thinks the Packers did wrong in regards to Rodgers, and he also offered the team free advice on how to fix it.
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Brandt: Rodgers Knows He’s a Placeholder for Jordan Love
Those downplaying the drafting of Jordan Love — a move Green Bay made without telling Rodgers — may not get how intricate and detailed playing alongside your certain replacement can be. Brandt saw this up close when Rodgers fell to the Packers in the first round of the 2005 draft.
“We are now one year into the Rodgers-Love pairing, and like the Favre-Rodgers pairing, it has needed to be managed to keep Aaron happy and engaged while knowing there is an endpoint to come in his time at Green Bay,” Brandt said. “My sense is Aaron’s camp feels strongly that the situation has not been treated with the care and respect he deserves as someone playing the way he has while his future job security was removed.”
Brandt also painted a tension-filled picture of what the Packers quarterbacks room looks like:
“Aaron was a team player about the Love pick over the past year, at least publicly, but it sounds like that acquiescence has ended. He understands the reality that I have noted often: Aaron is the MVP of the NFL while also serving as a placeholder quarterback for the Packers, keeping the seat warm for Love. The only question about when the turnover happens, as the question was 15 years ago, is when.”
Brandt: Green Bay Has to Treat Rodgers Like the Supreme Talent He Is
“Having been in that building for 10 years, I know firsthand how the Packers operate. There is no owner: There is a president, an executive committee and a board of directors, and they all defer to the general manager on football issues,” Brandt said, before offering his former organization a bit of advice on how to handle the situation moving forward:
Superstars who move the needle are not the same as other players. We treated Brett differently from the rest of the team; it was simply good business to do that. My sense is the Packers have certainly treated Aaron as well as any player they have, but for what he has done for them, that is not enough. … How to solve Aaron’s unhappiness? That is hard to answer, but perhaps there are allowances the team can make, whether giving him a long leash to host Jeopardy! or otherwise; adjusting his workout bonuses to allow him more time away in the offseason; allowing him more input into some of the bigger personnel moves, etc. The key for 2021 will be to somehow keep their superstar engaged and motivated while he keeps the seat warm for an unproven player (as Brett did for him). That is not easy, but as we did 15 years ago, the Packers brought this on themselves.
Time will tell if the Packers heed Brandt’s advice, but as it stands, the situation is far from resolved.
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