ESPN’s Diana Russini said as much on Thursday, February 24 when she reported that several franchises have put together trade packages for the NFL’s four-time Most Valuable Player (MVP).
“Aaron Rodgers will be informing the Packers of his decision soon, per league sources,” Russini wrote. “I’m told there are multiple teams with offers on the table but, of course, nothing can happen until the Green Bay Packers allow a trade.”
To be clear, Rodgers won’t be traded simply because he says he doesn’t want to return to Green Bay. But the reality that Rodgers is perhaps the most valuable trade chip in recent NFL history coupled with the fact that he could walk for nothing at the end of this season if the Packers retain him against his will most likely means the team will move the QB if he explicitly asks to be traded.
Precisely where Rodgers will end up and what Green Bay will receive in return is less certain should a trade actually go down in the coming weeks. Several of the possibilities have been discussed ad nauseum, like Rodgers to the Denver Broncos for a handful of high draft picks or Rodgers to the Las Vegas Raiders in return for Derek Carr and some draft capital.
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Packers Trade Swapping Rodgers For Cardinals Murray Makes Sense on Both Sides
Conventional wisdom indicates that if the Packers do end up moving on from Rodgers, the smartest thing to do is to trade him somewhere in the AFC. If he lands with the Broncos, the Raiders or the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay would never have to worry about facing Rodgers in the postseason outside of a hypothetical Super Bowl matchup.
But the Packers owe it to themselves and to their fans to get the best bang for their buck if they’re planning to move on from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play. Looking through that lens, Murray would make more sense as the centerpiece of a trade than any other asset mentioned throughout the last several weeks of Rodgers trade speculation.
Murray has been in the league just three seasons, winning the NFL Rookie Of The Year Award in 2019 and earning back-to-back trips to the Pro Bowl in the two seasons since. He is not as good as Rodgers, yet, but if he stays relatively healthy Murray could play for another 15 years. Eventually, he might reach Rodgers’ level. In fact, he might surpass it.
Sending Rodgers to Arizona makes an NFC foe better, but not significantly better considering how good Murray already is. Rodgers would still be faced with the prospect playing the San Francisco 49ers twice every season, perhaps his greatest professional nemesis, and the defending champion Los Angeles Rams twice as well.
All told, the risk of sending Rodgers to the NFC West Division means the risk of him upending a Packers’ future postseason campaign becomes greater, but the return of Murray arguably makes that extra risk worth it — and then some.
Murray’s Feuding With Cardinals Could Facilitate Unexpected Packers Deal For Rodgers
Of course, it is a long shot that any deal swapping Pro-Bowl quarterbacks will happen between the Packers and the Cardinals, as neither team is keen to let their respective signal callers depart. But both QBs seem like they want out, or at least would be happy enough elsewhere. and saying no could prove difficult for both franchises.
The Cardinals have a ready-made Super Bowl roster and Rodgers is one of the best options in NFL history to lead it. The Packers have a lot of talent but need to do some roster reshuffling this offseason. Building for the future with one of the best five quarterbacks in the game, who is also likely to keep getting better for the next several years, makes an incredible amount of sense for Green Bay.
Adam Rank of NFL Network reported on February 17 that he could see the Cardinals moving on from Murray because of the friction between the team and its quarterback, and because of the kind of trade package Murray could bring back.
“I like [Murray] to move because the Cardinals won games without him last year. He would bring in a huge bounty of picks,” Rank wrote.
Meanwhile, the entire NFL universe knows Rodgers was asking out of Green Bay last offseason. And while the team was wildly successful in the regular season yet again in 2021, their playoff run was also cut short of the Super Bowl for the third straight year despite earning a bye week in each of those campaigns.
Despite all of this, a Rodgers for Murray deal remains a long shot. But it isn’t crazy, and it certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility.