The early days of an NFL offseason are a time when wild trade proposals are allowed to roam free, but they don’t get much more ridiculous than the latest one ESPN mocked up for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
With reports and rumors abound about Deshaun Watson’s future with the Houston Texans, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell took a look at all 31 other NFL teams and came up with 17 “that could at least plausibly consider” trading for the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
While he pegged teams like Miami, Carolina and San Francisco as top candidates, the Packers narrowly made the cut as his 17th and final potential trade partner, suggesting a four-team deal that would see Green Bay ship away both of its first-round quarterbacks to land Watson.
Here’s what Barnwell proposed:
Packers send: QB Aaron Rodgers (to 49ers), 30th overall pick in 2021, QB Jordan Love (to Texans)
49ers send: 12th overall pick in 2021, 2022 first-round pick (to Texans), 2022 second-round pick (to Packers), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (to Patriots)
Texans send: QB Deshaun Watson (to Packers), 2022 fourth-round pick (to 49ers)
Patriots send: 142nd overall pick (to 49ers)
The Packers tear up their quarterback room in one fell swoop. They’re shipping out their top two passers in Rodgers and Love and the 30th overall pick; in return, they’re getting Watson and a second-round selection. Watson gives them a championship-caliber quarterback now and for years to come. If they are going to move on from Rodgers, getting a superstar entering his prime seems like the best way to do it. If this trade happens as depicted, I’m retiring from my job.
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Would Packers Consider Trading Rodgers & Love?
As improbable as Barnwell’s trade proposal might seem, there is actually some sense in what he wrote about the Packers’ future plans.
Regardless of how much Brian Gutekunst and Matt LaFleur liked Love when they traded up to take him in the first round of 2020, the opportunity to land a “championship-caliber” quarterback in his prime doesn’t come around often. And if their intentions are truly to move on from Rodgers in the next few seasons, then pulling the trigger on a proven talent would seem to be much safer than waiting to see on a quarterback who took no snaps during his rookie season.
As for the Rodgers angle of things, the Packers have been adamant about wanting to see him back in Green Bay for the 2021 season and still have him under contract for the next three years. He will also almost certainly be named the 2020 NFL MVP, giving them more reason to stick with him for the long haul and allow him to finish out his career with the Packers. Again, though, if the Packers are determined to find a replacement for Rodgers, shipping him away while he can still return the most value would be advantageous.
Don’t forget, the proposed deal would also give the Packers an additional second-round pick for the 2022 NFL draft. They have found some excellent talent in that round in the past decade, including Davante Adams, Kenny Clark, Randall Cobb and Elgton Jenkins.
And yet … it is probably not worth holding your breath waiting for such a deal to come to life.
Why Proposed Watson Deal Would Fail
Maybe Gutekunst will inquire about Watson if he does indeed force his way out of Houston (which still isn’t guaranteed), but the Texans will have no shortage of suitors for their prized player, several of which will surely possess better draft capital than the Packers. It is also reasonable to assume those suitors would be more desperate than Green Bay, which houses a future Hall of Fame veteran and a first-rounder heading into his second year of development.
But even setting aside the price of doing business for Watson, the Packers simply might not want to go the distance on such a transaction. Rodgers was on fire during the 2020 season, throwing 15 more touchdown passes than Watson and leading his team to its second consecutive NFC title game, this time as the No. 1 seed. Whether it was enough to convince the Packers to further commit to him remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t seem to have accelerated plans to show him the door.
As far as we know, the Packers are still high on Love, too. The former Utah State quarterback drew some criticism from the media during first public showings in training camp, then spent his entire rookie season as the No. 3 quarterback behind Rodgers and backup Tim Boyle, but nothing said publicly has suggested the Packers are unhappy with their top 2020 selection.
Interestingly enough, Barnwell admitted the Packers would have fallen into the category of “teams that wouldn’t be interested” in Watson prior to Sunday’s postgame. Rodgers had made some vague comments about the “uncertainties” of his future, leading media types to wonder whether it signaled a possible separation was coming. Once Rodgers clarified his expectations were to play in Green Bay for 2021, though, scenarios — like this one — start to seem far less realistic.
“There’s no way in heck Aaron is not gonna be on the Packers,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy told WNFL in Green Bay. “He’s going to be the MVP of the league, might have had his best year ever. He’s our unquestioned leader, and we’re not idiots.”