Packers GM Brian Gutekunst Sounds Off On Aaron Rodgers Trade

Getty Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst spoke with reporters immediately following a blockbuster trade that sent Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets.

The Green Bay Packers have finally sent superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, and general manager Brian Gutekunst has already shared his thoughts on the blockbuster move.

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport tweeted on Monday, April 24 that the Packers were sending the 39-year-old quarterback to the Jets in exchange for a first-round pick swap, a second-round pick, and a conditional pick in 2024. The move came after more than a month of rumors and speculation surrounding a pending deal.

The trade came at the perfect time for reporters, who were able to talk to Gutekunst immediately following the announcement during his regularly scheduled pre-draft media availability. When asked if he thought trading the four-time MVP was risky, Gutekunst had a harsh response as noted by Lauren Helmbrecht with WRFV.

“We were 8-9 last year,” Gutekunst said. “We are trying to get better.”

Gutekunst softened his comments a bit more when talking about Rodgers directly, but still noted that he was unable to work directly with Rodgers during the trade talks.

“I have so much respect for Aaron, not only the person but the player that he is,” Gutekunst said. “There’s so much gratitude in what he’s done for this organization. Again, it would’ve been nice to have those conversations, but at the same time, over the last few years, I kind of understood that they may not happen..I know this. He’ll always be a Packer. He’ll be one of the best who have ever done it around here.”

Brian Gutekunst Is Ready for Jordan Love

While it will be a tough transition for the Packers after parting ways with a four-time MVP quarterback, Gutekunst gave his support to Jordan Love as he prepares for his first season as an NFL starter.

“Where our team is at and, obviously, Aaron’s up there in age and however many years he has, I think he has some really good football left in him,” Gutekunst said. “We’re really excited about where Jordan can go. He needs to play. Having him sit another year would’ve really delayed where we were going and what we were trying to build.”

Love has been patiently waiting behind Rodgers since being taken in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft as his eventual successor. However, that patience appeared to be running thin with Love considering a trade request if Rodgers returned to the Packers in 2023.

Instead, the 24-year-old will finally get his chance to be the go-to guy for the Packers after just one career start back in 2021 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Although Packers fans haven’t gotten to see much of Love, they’ll see a whole lot more of him this upcoming season to finally see if he’s the long-term option after Rodgers.

What’s Next For Gutekunst?

With the Rodgers trade finally out of the way, Gutekunst and his staff can turn their full attention to the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Packers have multiple needs, particularly at safety and tight end. While this year’s safety class isn’t particularly strong, the draft is loaded with intriguing tight ends. All of the top TE prospects, including the massive Darnell Washington, have been brought in for top-30 visits by the Packers, indicating that they could take one early.

Don’t sleep on the Packers snagging a backup quarterback either. The team has met with multiple QB prospects, and Gutekunst has even done plenty of homework on Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker, attending Tennessee’s pro day and bringing in the prospect for a visit.

Regardless of which direction the Packers go, Gutekunst will likely be trying to bring in some extra talent on offense to set Love up for success in his first season as a starting QB.

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