In battles between players and management in high-level pro sports, there's an easy rule to follow: blame management.
That's the general viewpoint here in regards to the freshest and highest-level squabble we've seen in a while: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers vs. those who run the Packers.
It's easy to see why Rodgers is frustrated, given how Green Bay has invested very little in free agency during his tenure and has neglected offensive skill position players with premium picks in the draft.
Packers management seems intent on aggravating Rodgers at every turn — case in point: drafting a cornerback in the first round on Thursday, the same day Adam Schefter reported that Rodgers is so "disgruntled" that he wants out of Green Bay.
But as I discussed on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast, Rodgers also deserves at least a share of the blame.
While a player of his stature is often afforded some input into decision-making within an organization, a report Monday from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport bordered on ridiculous.
It seems that when the Packers cut lightly used wide receiver Jake Kumerow before the start of the 2020 season — seriously, he caught 12 passes for Green Bay in 2019 and probably would have been No. 5 on the receiver depth chart — it was a "death knell," Rapoport reported, in the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers.
Rapoport could barely believe it, as evidenced by the !! in his tweet.
Why? Because Rodgers had praised Kumerow and wanted the Packers to keep him while also expanding his role.
"Jake Kumerow has been such a solid performer for us for the last couple years," Rodgers said on the radio before Kumerow's release. "I love his reliability. I think he's a fantastic, steady player who's very heady on the field, he makes plays. He plays with a lot of confidence, and he's a guy you love having on the squad."
Again, it's possible within this context to read the Packers' decision to cut Kumerow as an unnecessary aggravation of their star QB. If Rodgers likes a receiver, there's probably a good reason to keep him.
That said: 1) Talent evaluators have a job to do, and if they thought there was a better fit on the roster they shouldn't just bow to Rodgers' whims; and 2) Going to bat for a player way down on the depth chart seems like a strange battle for Rodgers and could be indicative of a player who will never be satisfied, no matter what.
There's a decent chance none of this will matter in a few months and that the Packers will reach at least a temporary truce with Rodgers to be their QB in 2021. But for now, use this as an example of how both sides are culpable in what has turned into a very messy situation in Green Bay.