Aaron Rodgers may retain respect for the Packers organization he led for almost two decades. But he is still at odds with general manager Brian Gutekunst over his split from Green Bay, according to The Athletic. Not only did Rodgers' agent, David Dunn, apparently ask the Packers to fire Gutekunst in 2021, a year after the team spent a first-round draft pick on Rodgers' future successor, but the new Jets QB now blames his former GM for failing to communicate and win his personal approval.
Early in the 2021 offseason, when Rodgers first teased a potential retirement or departure from the Packers, Dunn called Packers president Mark Murphy requesting that Green Bay either fire Gutekunst or trade Rodgers, per Matt Schneidman. The Packers had reportedly attempted to "protect the relationship" between Rodgers and coach Matt LaFleur by telling him the 2020 decision to trade up and draft Jordan Love, the Packers' current QB, was strictly that of Gutekunst.
Rodgers didn't buy the explanation -- "They all signed off on it," he told The Athletic -- but proceeded to suit up for the Packers and win a second straight NFL MVP in 2021. But he didn't deny the suggestion that Dunn demanded Gutekunst be fired, deferring to his agent, who did not respond to The Athletic's request for comment.
From that point forward, publicly seeking more input on the team's direction, Rodgers said his communication with Gutekunst improved, but only to a degree. Singling out Packers executive Russ Ball as "the only member of the front office who took (his) message to heart," Rodgers told The Athletic that Green Bay's efforts to better incorporate his voice "still wasn't anywhere near what I've already enjoyed here with the Jets in just a few short weeks."
The future Hall of Famer's gripes with the Packers don't end there. He added that he believes Green Bay's initial contract offers to star wide receiver Davante Adams ahead of 2022 free agency drove the pass-catcher elsewhere. And he's upset by the fact Gutekunst told reporters this March that he unsuccessfully tried to contact Rodgers "many times" while gauging the QB's future.
The QB and GM had agreed to meet in person while Gutekunst was traveling in Southern California for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in late January, per Schneidman, but the two never connected, with Rodgers alleging that he responded to "morning" texts from Gutekunst "(that) night or the next morning or the next day."
"Did Brian text me more than I texted him?" Rodgers said. "Yeah, but did I ghost him? No. I texted him back. There was back-and-forths that we had and so this is the story you wanna go with? You're gonna stand on this hill of austerity and say that arguably in the conversation of the best player in your franchise history, you're gonna say I couldn't get a hold of him and that's why we had to move on? Like, c'mon man. Just tell the truth, you wanted to move on. You didn't like the fact that we didn't communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like."
After learning that the Packers had apparently been soliciting interest in Rodgers around the league, the QB told Dunn, his agent, to tell Gutekunst that he wanted to be traded to the Jets. And months later, the deal was done.