The Green Bay Packers have remained adamant they are not trading veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but it seems the Denver Broncos could try their hand at changing their mind over the next few months.
While breaking down the latest on Rodgers’ dispute with the Packers on ESPN’s Get Up on Tuesday, NFL insider Diana Russini divulged that league sources he expressed a general feeling of doubt about the reigning NFL MVP returning to Green Bay in 2021. Furthermore, she mentioned the Broncos as the team “most interested” in trying to land him this offseason, even hinting they could make a significant trade offer.
“I can just tell you around the league, there aren’t a lot of people who have belief that Aaron Rodgers is going to return to the Green Bay Packers,” Russini said Tuesday on ESPN’s Get Up. “The Denver Broncos continue to be the team I hear that are going to be the most interested and are going to put the most in front of the Green Bay Packers to try to make this trade go down.”
"The Denver Broncos continue to be the team I hear that are going to be the most interested [in Aaron Rodgers], and are going to put the most in front of the Green Bay Packers to try to make this trade go down."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 4, 2021
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Russini: Packers Are ‘Absolutely Deflated’
The Broncos have seemed to be a plausible landing spot for Rodgers since the reports emerged last week that he wants out of Green Bay, but the Packers have thus far only rebuffed trade interest and insisted they have no plans to move on from Rodgers. Unfortunately, it might not matter what they want if Rodgers remains dug into his position and leaves them with an ultimatum: trade me or watch me retire.
“I’ve had some conversations with the organization as well and the sentiment there and the feeling I get at this point is deflated,” Russini added. “They are absolutely deflated at this point as we know they’ve been trying to fix this, trying to mend it, but for them, they know this is up to a very strong, smart quarterback named Aaron Rodgers who is going to do whatever Aaron Rodgers wants to do.”
Retirement Would Cost Rodgers $23M
The consensus among NFL insiders seems to be that Rodgers is currently dug into his position and could stubbornly stay that way. Should that end up being the case, and the Packers decline to trade Rodgers, he could attempt the same strategy as Carson Palmer employed in 2011 and retire until they get an offer they cannot refuse.
That path, of course, comes with financial consequences for Rodgers. The veteran quarterback would be required to pay back his $11.5 million signing bonus this year along with next year’s bonus of the same amount if he remained retired in 2022. He could also incur league fines if he decided to hold out of this year’s training camp before playing the retirement card.
Still, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, NFL retirement has become a “serious consideration” for Rodgers as his rift with the Packers has grown. He would be giving up a large sum of money, but he is also one of the country’s most recognizable sports with numerous other ventures, including a possible opportunity to host Jeopardy. Would it really be so wild if Rodgers and Packers can’t compromise?