Green Bay Packers: Is GM Brian Gutekunst's Job on the Line with Rodgers Trade?
As rumors continue to swirl regarding trade negotiations between the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets over quarterback Aaron Rodgers one topic that doesn't get discussed is how the Packers haul from the trade (or lack of one) will affect General Manager Brian Gutekunst's job security.
Hired in 2018 following Ted Thompson's health-related retirement, Gutekunst's first four seasons with the team arguably had mixed results. Unlike Ted Thompson, Gutekunst seems to be willing to be more aggressive in free agency. However, while some of those signings, like Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith worked out well for the team, quite a few, like Jimmy Graham, Muhammad Wilkerson, Sammy Watkins and Rick Wagner weren't as impactful as the team probably hoped.
Where Gutekunst has seemed to struggle more than his predecessor is the draft, especially on offense. Only three players drafted in 2018 and 2019, Jaire Alexander, Elgton Jenkins and Darnell Savage are on the roster today and TE Josiah Deguara and RB AJ Dillon are the lone non-QB skilled position players that were drafted prior to 2022.
Ultimately, much like when Thompson drafted Rodgers, Gutekunst's legacy is going to come down to Jordan Love. Love is the quarterback he traded up to select in the first round in 2020 and has sat on the bench while Rodgers won two straight MVP titles. This, in turn, raised questions about whether Gutekunst drafted his quarterback of the future a year or two too early when he could have used that pick (and the one he traded to move up) to help the hall of famer he already had on the roster.
In a lot of ways, this trade discussion feels a lot like Gutekunst trying to justify his 2020 draft move and save his job. Rodgers has been very public about his disagreements with the organization over how it (and Gutekunst) treat veteran players and the team has already seen star receiver Davante Adams take less money to play elsewhere last year along with an exodus of players this offseason. With the Rodgers divorce now seemingly unavoidable and a new QB 1 with one start (a loss) to his name, this could be a situation where Gutekunst needs to score a giant haul of draft picks and/or players to save face.
After all, if he has to settle for a lot less and Love ends up being a bust, he'll likely be the next person the organization moves on from.