Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers and...

Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers #12 meet in the fourth quarter against the Washington Football Team in the game at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Credit: Getty Images

PHOENIX — Packers coach Matt LaFleur approached a large group of reporters waiting to speak to him and broke the ice with a question.

“What do you guys want to talk about?” LaFleur said.

The answer, of course, was Aaron Rodgers. But LaFleur didn’t want to talk much about Rodgers’ situation, although he remains a member of the Packers — for now.

The Jets are in trade discussions with the Packers to acquire the four-time MVP quarterback. Rodgers made it known that he does not want to return to Green Bay and that he’d like to play for the Jets. The two sides have to reach an agreement on compensation.

“I’m not going to get into any of that stuff,” LaFleur said Tuesday at the NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL’s annual league meetings. “I know it’s disappointing for all you guys.”

LaFleur said he’s “got nothing but love and appreciation for what Aaron has done for so many in our organization,” and called it “disappointing” that they couldn’t win a Super Bowl together.

The Packers are handing the offense over to Jordan Love, who has been Rodgers’ backup since 2020. LaFleur said he’s had conversations with Love about the plan going forward, especially once it was clearer which direction things were moving.

“He just wanted to know what was going on,” LaFleur said. “For a long period of time I couldn’t even tell him because I didn’t quite know where it was headed. I think there’s obviously some clarity to it. Nothing’s final yet.”

Some project that it won’t be until the draft nears.

All the talk has been about the Packers wanting a first-round pick this year for Rodgers. The Jets value the No. 13 pick and have no interest in parting with it. Jets general manager Joe Douglas and Packers GM Brian Gutekunst have been seen chatting together here, but they both said it’s been small talk.

Gutekunst told reporters Monday that there is a way to consummate a deal without including that pick.

“That's not a necessity," Gutekunst said. "I think fair value for the player is important. There's risks to all this. But I'm hopeful, I'm confident that we'll be able to reach a conclusion at some point."

The Jets sound confident and optimistic as well that Rodgers will be running their offense in 2023.

There are a lot of factors in play, one being that the Packers don’t want to just give away Rodgers, whom LaFleur referred to as “a once-in-a-lifetime, generational talent.” Yet the Packers have to move him to let Love grow.

Rodgers is due $59.6 million guaranteed this season. Green Bay doesn’t want to pay Rodgers all that money to not play for them. The Jets may try to get Green Bay to pay for part of that salary or could get Rodgers to rework that deal.

LaFleur was asked if there was no agreement by the start of OTAs next month if Rodgers could take part.

“That’s all between Joe and Gutey,” LaFleur said. “I’m going to leave that one to them. We’ll coach whoever is on our roster and we’re going to coach them to the best of our ability.”

LaFleur has a close relationship with Jets coach Robert Saleh and they’ve both agreed to let the general managers handle this.

Saleh and LaFleur were graduate assistants and roommates at Central Michigan University and later worked together with the Houston Texans. LaFleur credited Saleh for helping him get in the NFL. LaFleur’s brother, Mike, was Saleh’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons.

The Jets parted ways with Mike LaFleur this offseason. They hired former Packers coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who has played a big role in Rodgers wanting to play for the Jets.

“[Saleh] called me early on in this thing and I was like, ‘Hey man, I’m out of it,’ ” LaFleur said. “That’s between them and I think we both agreed. He’s certainly a guy that I have a lot of love and respect for. We go back. I probably wouldn’t be sitting in this seat quite frankly if it weren’t for my relationship with Robert Saleh.”

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