Why did Aaron Rodgers leave Green Bay Packers? Timeline of events that led to 4x NFL MVP’s exit explored
Aaron Rodgers is a Green Bay legend despite his acrimonious exit from the organization. The four-time MVP is arguably the greatest player ever to don the green and yellow uniform, and he did so for almost two decades. While the last few years were somewhat frictional, Rodgers' career with the Packers is nothing short of a success story.
Now that Aaron Rodgers has joined a new team, the New York Jets, it's time we explore the timeline of his exit from the Packers. We will take a deep dive into where it went wrong for the future Hall of Famer in Wisconsin. So, without further ado, let's get to it!
The Timeline of Aaron Rodgers' exit from the Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers spent 18 years in Green Bay; here is a timeline of the events that led to his exit.
April 18, 2019: Courting the "New Aaron Rodgers"
The Green Bay Packers host top draft QB prospect Drew Lock of Missouri University. It's never a great sign of faith when your team hosts a player at your position for a pre-draft visit. Aaron Rodgers was 35 at the time. According to sources, he was livid at the Packers' decision.
That all came after a 2018 NFL season when Rodgers was crystal clear about his dissatisfaction with the Packers head coach at the time, Alex Van Pelt. Was this payback by the Packers' front office?
February 21, 2020: Brian Gutekunst on drafting a new QB in the first round
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst states that he would be open to drafting a quarterback in the first round.
April 23, 2020: Drafting Jordan Love
For years, Green Bay Packers supporters have been pleased with their team's front office to draft an uber-talented wide receiver to pair with Aaron Rodgers. However, the Jets regularly ignore the pleas and recruit a defensive specialist. 2020 wasn't any different, but it stung all the same.
The Packers chose not to trade up to select either Justin Jefferson or Brandon Aiyuk, two players that Rodgers reportedly liked. Instead, they decided to move up in order to choose Iowa State University QB Jordan Love.
May 15, 2020: The Conference Call
Aaron Rodgers held a nearly 40-minute conference call with reporters where he expressly stated his displeasure with the pick. That sent shockwaves around the Packers' fan base as it brought back memories of the end of Brett Farve's stint.
January 20, 2021: Is there more?
Throughout the 2020 NFL season, Aaron Rodgers was notoriously noncommittal about his future in Green Bay. During the week of the NFC Championship Game, Rodgers stated that his future with the franchise is a "beautiful mystery." That is different from what you'd love to hear from your franchise QB.
January 24, 2021: The loss to Tom Brady and Tampa Bay in the NFC Championship Game
Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have shared a modern rivalry over being the best QB in the business. While Rodgers might be more pleasing to watch, it's Brady with all the team success. Never was this more apparent than when Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and beat Rodgers and Co. in the NFC Championship Game on their way to winning Brady's seventh Super Bowl ring.
After the game, Rodgers questioned his future with the Packers. He said:
"The Packers have a lot of guys' futures that are uncertain, myself included." That isn't a rallying cry if you think about it.
January 22, 2022: More playoff disappointment
In the Packers' 13-10 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC playoff game at Lambeau Field, Aaron Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown pass. That was the first time since the 2010 NFC Championship Game that Rodgers did not throw at least one TD in a playoff game.
At the end of the loss, Rodgers told reporters that it would be a "tough decision" when asked whether he would play for the Packers next season.
March 8, 2022: Rodgers stays!
A mere eight days before the start of free agency, Rodgers hopped on the Pat McAfee Show to announce his desire to return to the Packers for the 2022 NFL season. While the two parties needed to work on a contract extension, at least the plans were set in motion at that point.
March 15, 2022: A record-breaking extension
On that day, Rodgers inked a three-year, $150 million deal to stay with the franchise that drafted him. The contract contained a $40.8 million signing bonus, and his 2023 pay of $59.465 million was guaranteed.
March 17, 2022: Bye Bye, Davante Adams
Just two days after Rodgers signed his contract, the Packers traded away his primary weapon, Davante Adams, to the Las Vegas Raiders. That was a decision that puzzled every fan in the league.
January 8, 2023: Aaron Rodgers plays his last game for the Green Bay Packers
After a season filled with injuries, issues with the young wide receivers, and numerous disputes with the front office, Rodgers throws a pick on his last pass in the Week 18 loss to the Detroit Lions. This loss meant that the Packers would miss the 2022 playoffs.
That was the last time Rodgers was seen in a Packers jersey in the NFL.
April 24, 2023: Aaron Rodgers is traded to the New York Jets
Following yet another offseason of back and forths with the front office, the Packers finally granted Rodgers' wish. He was traded to upcoming contenders, the New York Jets, for a first-round pick swap, a fifth-round pick, a sixth-round selection, and a conditional 2024 second-round selection that could become a first-round pick if Rodgers takes 65% of the snaps in the 2023 season.
That finally marked the end of the long-drawn Rodgers versus Green Bay saga, as the union finally was dissolved. Rodgers left the team as a franchise record-holder in most QB categories.