Rival Coach ‘Pushing Hard’ to Trade for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: Report

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

Getty Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The Green Bay Packers are doing everything they can to ensure that quarterback Aaron Rodgers plays in one of their uniforms next season, but they’re not the only NFL team pushing that agenda.

Several reports over the previous year note that the Denver Broncos have been interested in trading for Rodgers since the 2021 offseason. What was a pipe dream for Broncos general manager George Paton in April 2021 appears a realistic proposition now as the NFL barrels toward the beginning of its free agency period on March 16.

Presumably in an effort to help bolster their position in the Rodgers sweepstakes, Denver hired former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as its head coach in January. Hackett has since mentioned to multiple members of the organization his efforts to turn a hypothetical trade for Rodgers into a reality, per a February 14 report from Brendan Sugrue of USA Today.

“While the Packers are reportedly going to go all in to retain Aaron Rodgers, a trusted source says that Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett told members of the team he is pushing hard to trade for the defending MVP this offseason,” Sugrue wrote.

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Broncos Can Offer Packers Big-Time Draft Compensation for Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

GettyQuarterback Aaron Rodgers, of the Green Bay Packers, warms up prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on January 22, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The precise trade package the Broncos would be willing to offer for Rodgers is not known but it would center around draft capital — and a lot of it.

Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report took an in-depth look at trade scenarios involving Green Bay and Denver and came up with a proposal that would include multiple first-round picks. In his scenario, the Broncos would send their top selections in 2022 and 2023 to the Packers, as well as a 2022 second-round pick from Los Angeles Rams, and second-round and third-round selections in 2024.

Denver’s position in the top 10 of this year’s draft (pick No. 9) strengthens the offer on the front end. In return, the Packers would ship Rodgers and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Broncos.

Green Bay may also require the inclusion of either Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock, two quarterbacks on Denver’s roster who have each started multiple NFL games. The noted limitations of the two signal-callers throughout their careers, however, could position a team like the Las Vegas Raiders with draft capital and a Pro Bowl QB in Derek Carr to swoop in with a potentially more enticing offer for Rodgers.

Packers Doing All They Can to Keep Rodgers in Green Bay

Hackett/Broncos Hire

GettyDenver Broncos new head coach Nathaniel Hackett was formerly the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers will not give Rodgers up without a fight. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on February 13 just how far Green Bay is willing to go to retain the now four-time NFL MVP for the remainder of his career.

“Packers are prepared to go all in for Aaron Rodgers in 2022, spending as close to the cap this year and spreading it into future years as much as possible, per sources,” Schefter wrote. “Saints used this approach for Drew Brees and Green Bay willing to deploy that model to further entice Rodgers.”

The situation in Green Bay is complicated. The Packers have the rights to Rodgers’ contract through the end of next season. However, the QB’s cap hit is a troublesome $46.5 million, per Spotrac, and the team needs to cut approximately $50 million in salary to get under the cap.

Should Rodgers decide not to renegotiate and extend his deal, it would be difficult for Green Bay not to trade him. Even if the Packers kept Rodgers in spite of that, the QB could walk following 2022, leaving the Packers with nothing in return for their MVP signal-caller.

Furthermore, the Packers front office promised Rodgers during the offseason that they would trade him after this year, if that is still what he wanted. The team and the QB ironed out some of their issues during the course of a successful regular season, as Rodgers acknowledged that general manager Brian Gutekunst made genuine efforts to include him on “decisions that affect [his] job.”

However, Rodgers also noted after the team’s disappointing Divisional Round Playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers that he did not want to be “part of a rebuild” and spoke publicly to the many “tough decisions” the Packers face in free agency. Among those decisions are what to do with arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver in Davante Adams, who is set to become a free agent in March.

Whatever Rodgers ultimately chooses for his future, he vowed to make his decision final before the free agency period begins less than a month from now. Rodgers’ timeline has pushed teams like the Broncos into doing all they can to make themselves attractive destinations, such as hiring several coaches with ties to the QB from different points throughout his career.

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4 months ago

I don’t want any deal with the Raiders that will send D. Carr to the Packers. I don’t like having the cap problems, and the Packers can still win their division with a good QB with an accurate arm, and not a great QB. They’ll just need to use their draft picks wisely. Unfortunately, the Packers will probably need to trade D. Adams, because the next QB won’t be feeding him the ball like Rodgers did, and he’ll be demanding too much money. The Packers should be able to create a great team with all the extra draft picks from trading Rodgers and Adams. If they don’t, Gute should be history.

I don’t trust that Jordan Love is the answer to creating a Super Bowl team. His accuracy is horrible. Two years after drafting him, he’s still super raw. I’d rather take a chance with Bailey Zappe, or Carson Strong from the 2022 draft. Both of them have very accurate arms, that look to pass the ball before running with the ball. Strong isn’t too mobile, but I think that made him a smarter QB. Zappe isn’t that tall, but neither is Drew Brees.

I wouldn’t mind trading for Gardner Minshew from the Eagles, if the trade is reasonable. He was my top QB choice in the draft that he was in.

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