Before the beginning of the 2021 NFL Draft, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke one of the biggest news stories of the NFL offseason. Aaron Rodgers reportedly wants out of Green Bay. The Packers quarterback apparently wasn’t happy with the team amid their second consecutive loss in the NFC Championship Game and the 37-year-old passer wants to be traded away. And trade or no trade, he won’t be returning to the team.
Schefter’s report spread like wildfire and led many to wonder why the news was broken on draft day. Was it Rodgers’ camp leaking the information to facilitate a deal? Did the Packers put that out there in the hopes of getting a last-minute offer to accumulate a war chest of draft assets?
According to Schefter, speculation that either side leaked the story is categorically wrong. In fact, there was nothing that prompted it to be broken that day specifically. It was something that had been simmering to a boiling point during the offseason.
“There was rarely a week that went by where I didn’t hear something about Aaron Rodgers,” Schefter said on The Dan Patrick Show.
Schefter largely sat on this story throughout the offseason but after a pre-draft report that the 49ers attempted to make a trade offer for Rodgers, he made the decision to make what he had learned public. Why? Because he knew the news would be out soon.
“How long ’til it gets out that Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay? Is it next week? Is it when he doesn’t show to OTAs? It’s gonna come out,” Schefter said. “What does it matter if it comes out now, or next week, or next month?”
Schefter has a point, but it is worth noting that other quarterbacks that had expressed frustration with their organizations, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, saw their stories reported on earlier in the offseason.
Of course, as Schefter pointed out, reading the tea leaves and focusing on Rodgers’ comments about his uncertain future with the Packers painted a picture of a disgruntled quarterback as early as January. It’s just strange that it wasn’t reported on until the day of the draft, especially since Schefter insisted that nothing new came in to prompt the report on draft day.
“It was nothing that morning that came in that all of a sudden said to me yeah he wants out, you should report this,” Schefter said. “It was going on all offseason. You just keep hearing it. There was more and more talk and there’s starting to be more Aaron Rodgers talk and I said, you know what, this isn’t gonna wait much longer. It just happened to be draft day.”
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how or when this story came to be. What matters is that things have come to a head with Rodgers and the Packers and the QB’s future in Green Bay is tenuous at best.