nrpe is hard-depending on tcp-wrappers. We don't use tcp-wrappers (aka tcpd) for various reasons, and nrpe upgrade now forces the use thereof. We use a firewall (iptables) to control this level and tcp-wrappers is just an additional layer (and have been the root cause of a few absolutely pointless DoS situations on our end). We would highly appreciate if this can be made optional again.
This issue is similar to a previous bug from around 7 years back, referenced in the URL field.
It doesn't look like there is a ./configure option (If you're willing to take it I'll be happy to write a patch).
However, I can confirm that by removing the tcp-wrappers dependency nrpe still merges and installs without tcp-wrappers pre-installed.
the configure script checks for the existence and availability of tcp-wrappers. So by force-depending on tcp-wrappers we force the use. This is better than the alternative of simply not depending on it and having random installation but it's still not good. I'm currently hand-merging on probably about 30 systems to avoid tcp-wrappers.