The selection of Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft could presage a larger conflict between Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The Athletic's Bob McGinn wrote Tuesday that LaFleur might have sent a message to the eight-time Pro Bowler:
"Public niceties aside, my sense is LaFleur, fresh from a terrific 13-3 baptismal season, simply had enough of Rodgers' act and wanted to change the narrative. With a first-round talent on the roster, the Packers would gain leverage with their imperial quarterback and his passive-aggressive style. If the Packers do indeed want to become a running team next season, they surely wouldn't want Rodgers rocking the boat and becoming even more difficult to coach."
While not pointing to any simmering issues between LaFleur and Rodgers, ESPN's Rob Demovsky also posited the decision to add Love could be a way for the coach to exert more influence on the direction of the offense.
To date, there have been few signs of any trouble behind the scenes, and the Packers were one win away from the Super Bowl in 2019.
But this wouldn't be the first time Rodgers butted heads with his head coach. In April 2019, Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne laid out the details of his occasionally adversarial dynamic with Mike McCarthy.
"Tension with Rodgers over the play-calling became part of the DNA of the offense itself," Dunne wrote. "Rodgers felt the system was bland, so he increasingly played Superman."
McCarthy was never going to win a power struggle with Rodgers while Rodgers was one of the NFL's best quarterbacks. LaFleur may have better luck, though.
Rodgers turns 37 in December, and he's coming off a pair of seasons that were good but not at the level of his prime years. Between 2018 and 2019, he has thrown for 8,444 yards and 51 touchdowns but completed 62.2 percent of his passes.
While the Packers aren't shoving Rodgers out the door, the 2020 draft would seemingly indicate LaFleur and general manager Brian Gutekunst are aligned to some extent about the future of the franchise.