After hellish offseason, Brian Gutekunst has made strong case for NFL Executive of the Year
After an offseason that put Brian Gutekunst in the crosshairs, the Packers general manager has made all the right moves, even mending fences with Aaron Rodgers.
During the long offseason of Aaron Rodgers drama, the quarterback splintered the Green Bay Packers' fan base into two factions of seemingly equal size.
On one side, those who felt that any and all fault for the friction fell on the team, specifically those responsible for selecting Rodgers' heir apparent in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. To those fans, the pick of Jordan Love in lieu of a pass catcher to fill out a receiving corps that featured Davante Adams and no other proven weapons seemed like a slap in the face of an all-time quarterback.
Yet on the other side sat those who felt the three-time Most Valuable Player had grown overly sensitive to the business side of the sport, ignoring that a very similar set of circumstances allowed Rodgers to take the reins from Brett Favre more than a decade earlier. Rodgers' lack of self-awareness, and putting his interests ahead of the team's, struck those fans as a bridge too far.
However, outside of the fan base, sympathy for Rodgers vastly outweighed approval for the Packers' front office, namely general manager Brian Gutekunst. Few teams have ever rostered a signal-caller of Rodgers' skill and pedigree, with many franchises going decades without more than a few seasons of above-average play under center. To that audience, anything short of complete capitulation to Rodgers — including perhaps axing the GM who upset him — felt like football malpractice.
Time passed and the ice thawed, at least enough for Rodgers to report to training camp. The Packers agreed to lop off a year of his contract, effectively making 2021 a trial year for both sides. Still, Gutekunst garnered national criticism for allowing Rodgers' discontent to fester, never mind the Super Bowl-contending roster the Green Bay executive had built since taking over the front office in 2018.
But just a few months later, the discourse surrounding Gutekunst has shifted dramatically.