Aaron Rodgers’ trade request from the Packers dominated headlines this offseason. Though Rodgers made it clear he wanted to play for the Jets, as the saga dragged out, there was a rumor the Patriots pursued the four-time MVP.
Bill Belichick was asked about the veteran QB and his team’s interest Monday morning, but he had a much different take on the Rodgers-Pats buzz.
Belichick discussed his personal involvement in any trade talks for Rodgers, which was apparently zero. He said didn’t talk to Green Bay at all regarding the quarterback, and claimed “I don’t know what he’s (the reporter) really talking about.”
"“I personally couldn’t speak to that. Listen, there’s a lot of conversations in the offseason between our personnel people and other executives. I don’t know what he’s really talking about. I personally didn’t talk to the Packers about Aaron Rodgers, no.”"
Belichick added, “Aaron Rodgers is a great player. But that’s not really anything we were – I was aware of.”
Reading between the lines, it seems like Belichick is trying to play dumb over this report. He repeats a lot about his personal knowledge of situation, and passes off any focus to “our personnel people,” who had talks with “other executives” all offseason.
Belichick even seems to slip in his comments. He mentions “we” at first before quickly correcting to “I,” as if he knows it’s not the total truth to absolve everyone within the organization from trade talks.
Seeing as though three-time Coach of the Year also has the ultimate say over his roster, it’s hard to believe some “personnel people” may have discussed a Rodgers trade without Belichick being aware of it. After all, he’d have given the directive to start the conversations, even if they were exploratory.
If Rodgers did reject any interest from New England, then it’s understandable the team doesn’t want to address its pursuit. Being turned down by a QB who would make you an instant contender is bad enough, but him also going to another team within your own division is a whole different level of pain.
Being public about interest in Rodgers would also set the Patriots’ current quarterback room back considering the ongoing debate over Mac Jones’ long-term future. Jones is looking rejuvenated under Bill O’Brien, and that could mean big things for New England. Upsetting him at this point wouldn’t do anyone any good.
Hopefully Jones and the Pats are able to show Rodgers they’re just fine without him. The two sides will clash for the first time in Week 3.