According to Mike Greenberg of ESPN, the issue at hand is New York’s 13th overall pick in the first round of this month’s NFL Draft. The Packers covet that selection in return for their 15-year starter and four-time MVP, but Rodgers wants the Jets to hold onto the pick and eventually use it to fill a position of significant need.
“I’ve heard that [Rodgers] has sent signals to the Jets that there is no reason for them to rush, that he’s not coming until May anyway so they’re not missing out on anything right now,” Greenberg told the Pat McAfee Show during an April 12 appearance. “So they should hold out as long as it takes and that ultimately they won’t wind up having to trade the No. 13 pick in the draft, which is what I think this ultimately comes down to.”
“I think this is all about the Jets wanting to draft an offensive tackle at 13 and Aaron Rodgers wanting them to draft an offensive tackle,” Greenberg continued. “They will just hold out until the draft, and they think the Packers will eventually say, ‘We’ll take slightly less than we want because we want pieces to put around, or in front of, Jordan Love this year, not wait until next year.’”
Jets Run Risk of Overplaying Hand in Rodgers Trade Holdout
While Greenberg’s logic is sound, the version of events he presented to McAfee on Wednesday is not necessarily how things will play out.
The NFC North Division is among the most winnable in the NFL in 2023, with the Chicago Bears in full rebuild mode, the Minnesota Vikings taking a likely step back amid serious restructuring of multiple units of the roster and the Detroit Lions continuing to run out Jared Goff under center.
Winning is always good for business and a winning season the year Rodgers departs would be a boon for Green Bay and its fans, not to mention a boost to Love’s status as the franchise quarterback moving forward. But even the holiest of cheeseheads would probably agree that a Super Bowl run is a stretch for the Packers next season, even if everything works out perfectly.
Green Bay has six picks in the first five rounds of the upcoming draft and 10 selections in total, and that is before any trade is executed with New York. An extra second-round selection a couple of weeks from now isn’t likely to tip the scales meaningfully for the Packers in one direction or another when it comes to winning in 2023.
Interest in Rodgers Surfaces in 49ers, Ravens Organizations
What’s more, Jets general manager Joe Douglas told Boomer Esiason last week definitively that Rodgers is “gonna be here,” as in the quarterback will land with the organization one way or another.
If the Packers aren’t dead set on pulling a 2023 draft asset back for Rodgers, they can wait until September before his contract does any meaningful damage to next year’s balance sheet. The Jets, however, can’t afford to wait nearly that long.
New York has already signed former Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard to a four-year, $44 million deal. Meanwhile, both the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens have emerged as potential trade suitors for Rodgers. The prospective interest of those franchises, real or imagined, adds to the leverage the Packers have already amassed since Rodgers announced his intention to play for the Jets several weeks back.
Fans of both franchises should expect the waiting game around a potential trade to continue right up until the draft begins on Thursday, April 27. Which franchise ultimately wins the staring contest over Rodgers is anyone’s guess, but if draft day comes and goes without a deal getting done, the advantage has to go to the Packers organization.