Aaron Rodgers Trade Rumors Just Got More Juice

Aaron Rodgers Trade Rumors Just Got More Juice
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gestures to fans as he leaves the field after a game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, December 19, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won the game, 24-12.Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apj Packers Vs Rams 121922 1788 Ttm

Following the Green Bay Packers season ending in disappointment after a home loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football, rumors surrounding the future of QB Aaron Rodgers ran rampant once again. It started with his somewhat sentimental postgame press conference where he was asked about retirement multiple times, and it continues into the offseason as rumors move from retirement to a possible Aaron Rodgers trade.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Tuesday that if the Packers were to move on from Rodgers, it would be via a trade to an AFC team. Schefter rationaled on “SportsCenter” that “it’s hard to imagine that he’s gonna retire and walk away and surrender $110 million in guaranteed money”.

This is a very fair point. $110 million is a ton of money, and it’s hard to think that anyone would turn down such a massive sum. If he does want to return to the NFL in 2023, though, it puts the Packers in a difficult spot. Not only does their QB eat up massive amounts of the salary cap, leaving Green Bay effectively $20.1 million in the hole before free agency begins, but 2023 is the final year of backup QB Jordan Love’s rookie contract. That is, unless he gets his fifth-year option extended to him.

Jan 8, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleuer signals for the crowd to quiet down as quarterback Jordan Love (10) looks on during the third quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Packers probably want to see what they have in their 2020 first-round pick before deciding to move on from him or offer him another contract. In order to do that, Rodgers can’t be QB1 for the Packers, thus the reason why every NFL fanbase has photoshopped pictures of Rodgers in their jerseys.

So, where would a Rodgers trade take place? Well, if Schefter is to be trusted (and there is no reason at this time for him not to be), the partners would be limited to the 16 teams in the AFC. One such partner that has been getting a ton of steam recently is the same team that Brett Favre left Green Bay for back in 2008: the New York Jets.

And wouldn’t you know it, as of Thursday morning, Tom Pelissero announced that the Jets would be hiring Rodgers’ former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to take over the same role in New York.

Hackett spent the 2019-2021 seasons in Green Bay before taking the head coaching job with the Broncos in 2022, and with him at the helm of the offense, the Packers finished among the top 10 in points scored and total yards in both 2020 and 2021. Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs during these seasons as well.

Then, in 2022, the Packers offense crumbled to a shell of its former glory. Green Bay ranked 14th in points scored, 17th in total yards, and Rodgers put together some of his worst stats since becoming Green Bay’s full-time starter in 2008.

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Nov 27, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A reunion with his old OC in New York could be an enticing offer for Rodgers. Additionally, New York has some of the best young talent in the entire NFL right now. WR Garrett Wilson is up for an Offensive Rookie of the Year nomination while CB Sauce Gardner is a finalist for Defensive Rookie of the Year. One has to imagine that RB Breece Hall would have been up there as well had he not suffered a torn ACL midway through the season.

New York also has the draft capital to get such a trade done. They hold all of their own first-round picks in the upcoming drafts as well as all their Day Two picks. New York would certainly have to move some money around in 2023 to make it work as they currently sit around $2 million over the cap, but especially if the trade were to happen after June 1st, it’s more than doable.

All in all, it’s impossible to say what will happen with Rodgers this offseason. It doesn’t seem like he even truly knows what he wants to do yet. That being said, if a trade were to happen, the New York Jets make the most sense for both sides, and the hiring of Hackett only adds fuel to that fire.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.