Proposal Sees Packers Trade Rodgers to AFC East For Draft Haul

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Getty QB Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

The Green Bay Packers have suffered through a brutally tough season but are fast approaching an offseason full of possibilities.

That’s the rosy perspective of the situation facing the organization come mid-February and beyond. Another way to look at it is as a period of tough decisions that will impact the future of the franchise for the next 5-10 years. No matter how you choose to frame it, Aaron Rodgers is going to be at the center of everything the Packers do and will inevitably be the first domino to fall as they execute their offseason plans.

Jay Glazer of FOX NFL Sunday told The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on Friday, December 2, that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Rodgers retired. Heavy pro football insider and three-time NFL general manager Randy Mueller wrote on Thursday that it is hard to fathom a scenario in which Rodgers isn’t playing in a Packers uniform in 2023. And Jeff Howe of The Athletic on Wednesday explored several trade possibilities for Rodgers, deals which he believes would likely to net the Packers at least a couple of first-round draft choices.

Howe mentioned several teams that could fit the bill of trade partner where Green Bay’s quarterback is concerned, though the New York Jets are arguably the best fit with a young, dynamic defense and a quality run game to boot.

NFL Insiders Say Packers Can Trade Rodgers For Multiple First-Round Picks

Aaron Rodgers

GettyQuarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers looks on before a game against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report agreed with Howe that if the Packers decide to move Rodgers, the QB could still likely command a couple of first-rounders in trade. The issue is the dead money left on Rodgers’ massive contract after this season.

Rodgers is due to carry a cap hit of $31.6 million in 2023, which isn’t terrible. The problem is that his contract will have $99.8 million in dead money remaining. The Packers’ willingness to trade Rodgers would almost certainly hinge on another team’s ability to take on the bulk of that.

Given the fact that Rodgers is 39 and the Packers appear to be eying a rebuild, they could be open to moving him.

If an otherwise playoff-ready team believes it is a quarterback away … it could entice Rodgers to play and be willing to bet that he can return to MVP form.

Rodgers Can Put Jets Over Top, Draft Picks Can Help Packers Reset

Mike White

GettyQuarterback Mike White of the New York Jets looks to pass during the first half of a game against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Jets just last week benched quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in 2021, in favor of Mike White. While White comported himself well in a 31-10 beatdown of the Chicago Bears, New York has played his tune before and found it to be something of a one-hit wonder — the novelty of which wears off rapidly.

Neither Wilson nor White appears to be the long-term answer for the Jets, though Rodgers might be the solution in the short-term. The franchise is in as good of shape as it has been in a decade but plays in the AFC East, arguably the best division in all of football. The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are both bonafide Super Bowl contenders set at quarterback for the next 10 years, while the New England Patriots continue to compete around the remnants of the NFL’s last great dynasty.

Forget about the Super Bowl for a second, the Jets might need MVP-level Rodgers just to win their own division either of the next two years. Meanwhile, moving Rodgers makes considerable sense for the Packers, especially if they can pull two first-round draft picks back in return.

Knox noted that Green Bay can save $16 million against the 2023 salary cap, even if they pay out all of Rodgers’ guarantees for the year, by trading him after June 1. The Packers have former first-round quarterback Jordan Love, who showed out against the Philadelphia Eagles last weekend in the second half, ready to step into a starting role.

Green Bay can pick up Love’s fifth-year option and keep him under contract for the next two seasons, after which the team can extend him to a new contract or use the franchise tag to lock him up for a third year. In the meantime, the Packers can revamp the roster with the help of two first-round picks from New York. That could include packaging multiple first-rounders to move up in an attempt to select a player like Bryce Young of Alabama or C.J. Stroud of Ohio State in a QB-heavy draft, if Green Bay is so inclined.

The Packers may decide to hold onto Rodgers, which would position them best for a playoff run next season. However, trading the quarterback opens up a world of options for Green Bay to set the organization up for both its short- and long-term future.

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