It was 15 years ago that Brett Favre got blindsided by the Green Bay Packers when they took Aaron Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. It was the beginning of the end for Favre and the organization even though he went on to play three more years with the franchise. Now, with general manager Brian Gutekunst and coach Matt LaFleur pulling the trigger on a trade last Thursday to get Utah State quarterback Jordan Love, Favre believes Rodgers time in Green Bay could end the same way his did.
“Nothing against Jordan Love. I mean no disrespect, but you trade up to get a guy who may turn out to be great — I hope he does — but you trade up to get more of a project. He’s a little unproven. Lot of upside, no doubt about it, but he can’t help you get to the Super Bowl immediately,” Favre said. “Green Bay is one of (the teams) that should be playing for now. They don’t draft any weapons. Not just in the first round, but any weapons that can help immediately to my knowledge. That just sends a disrespect message, what I would think, to Aaron Rodgers. He has every right to be disappointed, if he is.”
Favre said he did speak with Rodgers but wouldn’t divulge everything they spoke about, instead admitting that his former backup was “surprised” the Packers went that direction.
“Green Bay isn’t going anywhere without Aaron Rodgers the next few years,” Favre said. “If he plays like we expect him to play, they’ve got a shot with or without a first-round receiver. He’s that good. I would do all I could to not burn that bridge. I don’t think that they did that. I think they burned a bridge that’s going to be hard to overcome. At some point, it will rear its ugly head.”
The situation has similarities to the end of Favre’s career, though the team was in a much different place. Back then, yeah, the Packers had gone to the playoffs in 2004 but were clearly a team more on the decline than what is in Green Bay right now. Also, Favre constantly went back and forth on how much longer he wanted to play, while Rodgers has said he intends to play out the rest of his contract (through the 2023 season) and potentially more after that. Also, the Packers can do very little to satisfy Rodgers if he is upset, because his salary cap number the next two seasons make it impossible to trade or release him. Still, Favre sees himself in Rodgers.
“Our situation is so similar at this point in our careers,” Favre said. “New coach, new organization. The regime that drafted Aaron is gone, completely gone. It’s a new regime. That’s the same thing that happened with me. My take is, we want to put our stamp on our guys and hopefully we can win with previous guys, meaning Aaron Rodgers and some other guys. They’d be idiots to think that Aaron isn’t capable of leading them to a Super Bowl. But it’s proven he can’t do it alone.
“They’re placing a lot on Aaron, which is fine with Aaron, but from a relationship standpoint it sends the wrong message. I think, again, when adversity hits this year, (they start) 0-3, couple bad games, whatever, then it’s going to rear its ugly head and the daggers are going to be out.”
No one, including Favre, expects Love to play anytime soon. Just like with Rodgers in 2005, Love isn’t ready to play. It wasn’t until 2007 that Rodgers had showed enough for the team to move on from Favre when he decided to retire after that season, only to change his mind later that year, giving Green Bay its most drama-filled summer in history. Love’s contract is four years with an option for a fifth year.
“Are they going to pay him a big deal without seeing him play,” Favre asked. “That’s ultimately going to be what happens. Or are they going to be in a situation where they just cut bait and allow Aaron to go play somewhere else, somewhat similar to my situation, and be able to keep him happy in the short term?”
The interview closed with Eisen asking Favre if Rodgers, like him, would end up finishing his career elsewhere.
“I think he’ll play somewhere else,” Favre said. “It’s not uncommon to retire and unretire now. When I did it, it was a little bit out of the realm. Now, it’s fairly common, not just in football but in all sports. Tom Brady, and myself, Joe Montana and Peyton Manning, just to name a few, finished their career elsewhere.
“I think you’re going to see that trend more and more, and I think Aaron will finish somewhere else. That’s my gut.
“I guarantee you it’s got the wheels turning in Aaron’s mind. If that’s the case, that means there’s a chip on his shoulder towards the organization that otherwise was not there. All he needs is a reason other than this reason to expedite that.”