The Packers spent most of the 2021 offseason in limbo, but when it came time for players to report, a ray of hope shined through the darkness.
The GM spoke with reporters Wednesday morning ahead of the Packers' first practice of their 2021 camp, telling them a revised contract for Rodgers isn't quite complete, but he expects the future Hall of Famer to participate in Green Bay's initial on-field session.
Rodgers took the field later Wednesday.
The development that led to Rodgers' arrival and expected participation was initially stunning, considering Rodgers hadn't given so much as an inch of ground in his standoff with the Packers. It seemed very possible Rodgers wouldn't be in Green Bay this week, and that the Packers might be forced to forge ahead with Jordan Love as their starting quarterback.
Then, in the 11th hour, the two sides found a way to mend fences. It involved discussing a reworked contract for Rodgers, one that gave the quarterback a significant voice on his own future with the team.
"I think what he's done for this organization, he deserves at least the conversation every year about where we're headed, where he's headed," Gutekunst said Wednesday. "He's earned the right to have those discussions."
As the reigning NFL Most Valuable Player and one who isn't exactly flush with plenty of career left ahead of him, Rodgers might understandably also want to have an influence on personnel decisions. July might seem a little late to make much of a difference, but according to Gutekunst, Rodgers has always had a say on what the Packers do with their roster.
"He's earned a place at the table," Gutekunst said, adding that this offseason has involved the Packers figuring out how Rodgers factors into their process.
With their offseason stalemate now over, the Packers have some catching up to do in this process. Green Bay hasn't wasted much time in the last two days, engaging the Houston Texans in discussions to bring Rodgers' old pal, receiver Randall Cobb, back to Wisconsin before the start of the season.
This combined effort solves an immediate issue for the Packers, but doesn't quite provide a long-term answer for Rodgers' situation with the team. Perhaps nothing other than the passage of time will truly answer that question. One needs only to look back at how Rodgers ascended to his throne in Green Bay as an example of how the earth's trip around the sun can often dictate monumental change.
If anything, Rodgers appears to have gained some control over his future. He might have earned the power to go out on his own terms, which could be as soon as 2022. Or it won't be for some time.
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Wednesday that, despite the uncertainty regarding Rodgers' future, he has "no doubts" that the QB is all-in on the 2021 season.
"I can say he is the most competitive person I've ever around," LaFleur said.
Above all, the Packers are no longer scrambling to put Plan B into motion under center. They'll have their MVP back to lead them on another pursuit of the trophy named after the franchise's legendary coach, and hopefully that will convince Davante Adams to agree to a deal that keeps him in Green Bay beyond 2021, too.
"What I will say is there was a lot of effort not only on the people in our organization but also on Aaron and his representation to try to find a solution that worked for everybody, and I feel really good about it right now where we are," Gutekunst said.
Everything is fine in America's Dairyland -- for now.