The Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams are set to square off on Thursday Night Football this week, and one of the most fascinating storylines is Aaron Rodgers’ future with the franchise. Rodgers has been the face of the Packers for nearly a decade, and is one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League. However, he will be 33 years old on January 3, and after ending the 2017 season with a broken collarbone, Rodgers was forced to miss the team’s entire 2018 training camp. Even though the Packers went 11-5 in Rodgers absence, fans were still in favor of the veteran quarterback returning to the field. With the regular season opening this week, Rodgers has a chance to demonstrate that he has juice left in his legs, but
Based on the amount of respect quarterbacks get from fans, it’s amazing that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a statue outside of Lambeau Field or his own “Foreman” at the UFC. What the Packers quarterback has had to endure since he was drafted in the first round in 2005 has been anything but easy, and he’s always had to deal with it on top of his own eating issues.
Over the years, the Green Bay Packers have not been particularly keen on surrounding Aaron Rodgers with a top-notch supporting cast. Of course, they chose future star Jordy Nelson. in 2008. Davante Adams is also a highly coveted prospect for the Packers….. in 2014. During his time in Green Bay, however, Rogers rarely worked with first-round weapons.
Could that change this season?
Of course, it depends on whether the reigning MVP changes course and gets back to work. But if Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst wants to give Rodgers a welcome gift, he can do so by calling Bill Belichick.
If the Packers want Aaron Rodgers to show they’re sticking with him, they’ll trade Jordan Love for a wide receiver.
(If you can’t find a good receiver for Jordan Love, that should tell you that your decision to buy in and out in the first round last year was ill-advised.)
– Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) April 29, 2021
Rogers has been in the business for over a decade. While he is undoubtedly talented, he has also worked with some talented playmakers over the years. Jordy Nelson became a second-round pick of the Packers in 2008 and caught 397 balls for 6,098 yards and 57 touchdowns from 2011 to 2016. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound wideout formed a dominant duo with Rodgers, who was MVP twice during that span.
In 2014, the Packers found another star in the draft by selecting Davante Adams with the 53rd pick. After flashes of greatness in his first four years in Green Bay, the former Fresno State standout has established himself as one of the league’s most unstoppable wide receivers since 2018. But even though Adams has caught 36 touchdowns over the past three seasons, it hasn’t been enough to lead the Packers.
Part of the reason is that the team is not very good at finding secondary targets for Rodgers. Allen Lazard, Equanimus St. Louis Brown and Marquez Valdez-Scantling have intriguing physiques, but did not make the league as first rounders. St. John’s Brown and Valdez-Scantling waited until day three to hear their names called, and Lazard was not selected at all in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Although Green Bay has had one of the best quarterbacks of all time under contract since 2008, there has never been a first round pick wasted on a receiver, tight end or running back in the Rodgers era. While the future Hall of Fame member has enjoyed consistent individual success, it’s fair to wonder if he would have had an extra Super Bowl ring or two at home if the Packers had invested a first-round pick in a pass catcher.
After all, it’s not like a trade for Jordan Love would have helped Rodgers, right?
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick shakes hands with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the Packers’ 26-21 victory over the Patriots at Lambeau Field in Week 30. November 2014 hand. | Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Rodgers has not returned to his work, and this is largely due to his dissatisfaction with Gutekunst. The 47-year-old, who was hired as general manager in 2018, began working for the Packers as a scout in 1998. The way he handled the selection of Love may have damaged his relationship with Rodgers, but Gutekunst can save face by making a trade that will finally give the current MVP what he’s been missing for so long: a first-round receiver.
But to give Rodgers the long-awaited gift from the Packers, he’ll need the help of Bill Belichick.
With N’Keel Harry demanding a trade, the New England Patriots must decide if they want to keep a player who hasn’t lived up to expectations in his first two years in Foxborough. The last first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound wideout has caught just 45 balls for 414 yards and four touchdowns in 21 games. Harry’s first season was disrupted by an ankle injury that allowed him to play only seven games, and a concussion forced him to miss two games in the 2020 season.
Since Harry has made it clear that he wants to leave, there is no reason for Belichick to keep him on the team. Meanwhile, the Packers need an upgrade behind Adams, and the 23-year-old’s acquisition price shouldn’t stand in the way of a deal. Harry only came into the league two years ago as number 32. So he clearly showed enough talent in college to convince the architect of sports’ most successful dynasty to hire him. Green Bay could buy low and potentially reap the benefits of what should be a fairly cheap investment, a move suggested by former player and NFL scout Bucky Brooks.
And if Rodgers wants a change of scenery, he shouldn’t be completely opposed to a return to Green Bay. If Gutekunst strikes a deal to acquire Harry in the coming weeks, the quarterback should consider working with a receiver who seems to fit the Packers’ offense perfectly.
I spoke with a league expert who thinks N’Keel Harry would be worth a conditional 6th round pick. The interest of the teams is expected. Harry should be used as an attacking striker, using his size and strength to catch the ball in the red zone and deep. Speed and precision attacks are probably not for him.
– Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 8, 2021
While he hasn’t impressed in New England’s timing-based offense, Harry’s skills seem to fit better in Green Bay’s system. Like the Packers’ top receivers, and , he has ideal length and a big, strong frame to cut off defenders. And although he didn’t show that talent in the NFL, in part because the Patriots focused on short and intermediate routes, Harry showed excellent skills as a wide receiver at Arizona State. Playing against a quarterback as strong as Rodgers, who can work magic on the run and knows like no other how to get the ball to the receiver, will give Harry a chance to show his skills, which apparently interested Belichick enough to use a first-round pick on the receiver for the first time in his Patriots career.
Meanwhile, trading Harry to the Packers makes sense from a New England standpoint. Belichick doesn’t have to worry about the former Pac-12 star becoming a weapon for an AFC rival. And by sending Harry to a new team, he can officially renounce a disastrous decision that deserves a lot of criticism.
The Patriots can build their passing game around specific route players like Nelson Agolor, Kendrick Bourne and Jacoby Meyers instead of a big target like Harry. That seems like a much better strategy to help Mac Jones succeed than trying to get him to work with a player he wasn’t suited for in the first place.
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