Green Bay’s four-time MVP quarterback will embark on a darkness retreat at the end of the week that will immerse him in sensory deprivation as part of a quest for clarity as to what he should do next, both professionally and personally. However, he might step into the black with one set of options and emerge four days later to find those options have been severely limited.
That is because the Las Vegas Raiders released quarterback Derek Carr on Tuesday, February 14, after he announced he would use his no-trade clause to veto a deal to the New Orleans Saints. Carr is now on the free agent market and can agree to a new contract with any team he chooses as early as March 15.
Just as Tom Brady’s exit from the NFL’s quarterback carousel increased Rodgers’ options, and thereby his trade value, Carr’s choice to jump on that same carousel is going to limit the power of both the Packers and Rodgers to control interest in his services as well as the price at which they can be procured. NFL reporter Jeff Darlington explained the situation during a recent appearance on ESPN’s morning program Get Up.
“This is essentially free agency before free agency,” Darlington said, per uStadium’s Twitter account. “Derek Carr can feel out the market and it could force teams like the [New York] Jets to decide if they want to wait out Aaron Rodgers or go and sign Carr.”
Carr’s Raiders Exit Could Change Timeline For Both Rodgers, Packers
The Jets have been the primary suspects to get trade talks for Rodgers cooking, particularly after the team reached out to Green Bay about the QB’s availability on February 12, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
Packers President Mark Murphy said three days before that he expects Rodgers to have a decision for the team, and Green Bay to subsequently have a decision on its offseason direction, by sometime in early- to mid-March, per Dianna Russini of ESPN. However, the recent developments involving Carr’s free agency are almost certain to create one of two outcomes:
- More urgency on the part of Rodgers and the Packers to speed up their timelines.
- Less of a market for Rodgers due to Carr’s decisions, robbing both Rodgers and the Packers of vital leverage in any future trade negotiations.
“It puts urgency on Rodgers now. He wants to go into his darkness retreat but the Packers and Rodgers have to figure this out fast,” Darlington continued on Get Up. “Because if the Jets decide they just want to go Derek Carr’s direction, no longer is the compensation available to get that trade market going for Aaron Rodgers. So we are in it now — pure chaos begins as soon as Derek Carr decides he wants to play out the market and not just go to one team.”
Packers’ Best Bet For Return on Rodgers Pits Jets, Raiders Against Each Other
Somewhat ironically, the Packers may be able to leverage the Raiders’ new need for a quarterback against that of the Jets, thereby creating a bidding war and the best possible trade return Green Bay is likely to see.
The teams in Las Vegas and New York are both in big markets and boast solid rosters, but each also underachieved last year — in large part due to disappointing quarterback play. Both franchises are in competitive AFC divisions, which means they each need to look higher-end at the quarterback position to maximize the windows they have created as potential contenders.
Green Bay can stomach dealing Rodgers out of the division and the conference far easier than they could were they to strike a deal with an NFC contender like the San Francisco 49ers.
The Raiders were expected to take a hard run at Brady, while the Jets would have likely at least inquired, but now that option is gone. And while the Raiders have the No. 7 overall pick and the Jets hold the No. 13 overall selection, it is unlikely either team will be able to trade into the top five and snag one of the best quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class. In the Jets’ case, they may not even be interested in such a move.
Carr’s entrance into free agency hurts Rodgers’ trade value in most scenarios, and thereby hurts the Packers. However, a quick decision on the part of both Rodgers and Green Bay to pursue a trade could actually turn Carr’s new situation to their favor, though only if they play it exactly right or catch a little bit of luck in the interim. For instance, Carr signing with the Saints or the Carolina Panthers outright, leaving the Jets and the Raiders both scrambling to make their best possible offers for Rodgers.