The NFL’s quarterback carousel is about to start spinning once again and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers is at the center of the discussion.
There are several possibilities for Rodgers in 2023, but the one that might be most palatable to the four-time MVP is finishing his career with the San Francisco 49ers. Rodgers was born in Northern California, played his collegiate football there, hoped to be drafted there and publicly pushed for a trade to San Francisco two years ago. The Niners have had Rodgers’ number in the playoffs across his entire career and find themselves back in the NFC Championship Game for the third time in four years, despite never having had a Pro-Bowl-caliber QB under center during that time.
The two pertinent questions are whether the Packers are willing to part with Rodgers and what the Niners could offer to get a deal done? Green Bay has indicated it wants Rodgers back in 2023, but the cost will be exorbitant and moving on would allow the team to wipe the slate clean. Starting fresh might incentivize Green Bay to target a player like former No. 3 pick Trey Lance, who the Niners will likely be interested in moving this offseason.
Green Bay Packers ‘Worst Landing Spot’ For Rodgers in 2023
If Rodgers is traded, the smart money is on a team like the New York Jets, which is ready and willing to spend at the position and has no real answers in-house. Still, a swap of Rodgers and Lance makes sense on several levels.
For the Packers, it saves the team money and clears the way for backup QB and former first-round pick Jordan Love to earn his shot as a starter. And it isn’t bad for Rodgers, either. Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report on Friday, January 27, pitched Green Bay as the worst possible destination of all for Rodgers in 2023.
All good things must end, and the relationship between the Packers organization and Rodgers sits at a crossroads. The two sides could try one more run. Why, though? Rogers’ play clearly diminished last season. The franchise already invested a first-round pick in his replacement, Jordan Love, with the need to see him on the field before his rookie contract expires.
Furthermore, Green Bay isn’t any closer today to a Super Bowl appearance than they were when Rodgers won back-to-back MVP trophies. With the post-June 1 trade, the Packers can see what [they have] in Love, add future draft assets and save $15.8 million toward this year’s salary-cap figure, per Over The Cap.
Despite Rodgers’ decline in play in 2022, he’s worth considerably more than Lance in a straight-up trade scenario. But the Niners were content on pushing Lance into a starting role this season before he was injured and lost for the year in Week 2, which still assigns the 22-year-old signal caller considerable value.
Instead of banking a handful of draft selections in exchange for Rodgers, the Packers could take a less traditional route and ask for Lance, a future second-rounder and another pick somewhere in the middle rounds this year. If Love doesn’t work out in Green Bay, Lance is a cheaper option with a similar skill set who the Packers can develop over the two years he has left on his rookie deal, along with a fifth-year team option. If Love proves to be the future, Lance would still possess meaningful trade value heading into 2024.
Big, Short-Term Bet on Rodgers Gets 49ers Closer to Super Bowl Win
A trade for Rodgers would be a potential boon for the Niners as they try to get over the hump and earn a Super Bowl ring in their current championship window. They are less likely candidates to take on Rodgers’ massive contract than a team like the Jets and also may be less inclined to spend that kind of money considering rookie Brock Purdy’s success this season/postseason.
But betting on Purdy, and Purdy alone, for the long haul is an unlikely move for a franchise with a roster as talented as the one in San Francisco. There’s no need to keep Purdy and Lance, which makes Lance expendable.
“While the San Francisco 49ers haven’t officially named Brock Purdy their starting quarterback for 2023, his recent performance points toward him taking over the spot on a permanent basis. As such, Trey Lance is no longer the future of the franchise,” Sobleski wrote. “It’s not yet time to give up on Lance, at least for the rest of the league.”
Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo is almost certainly on his way out of San Francisco as well, which creates a void Rodgers could fill as the starter with Purdy waiting in the wings as his eventual successor.