Just hours ahead of the 2021 NFL draft, ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped a bombshell related to NFL MVP and Green Bay Packers superstar Aaron Rodgers that the New England Patriots and the rest of the league should be interested in this year and for 2022.
According to Schefter, sources say Rodgers has grown so “disgruntled” with the team that he has asked to be traded.
Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers is so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team, league and team sources told ESPN on Thursday.
More on NFL Live now….
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 29, 2021
NBC Sports’ Tom E. Curran laid out a scenario that would see the “patient Patriots” having a legitimate shot to acquire Rodgers in 2022 if they don’t pull off the improbable blockbuster move for him during the NFL draft:
[Tom] Brady beat back the Garoppolo challenge with Super Bowl wins but the Patriots didn’t fold their tent and commit to him. That was their mistake. Is that a cautionary tale for Green Bay? If it is and the Packers decide to move Rodgers, would Belichick be interested? Would it be an admission that the team stubbed its toe with Brady? Or has the team improved sufficiently in key offensive areas so that it makes sense to spend on a player like Rodgers? Brady is the greatest jockey of all time, but he wasn’t winning any races with that nag of an offense the Patriots had in 2019 or 2020 and he knew it. What happened with Brady will happen with Rodgers just like it happened with Rodgers’ predecessor, Brett Favre and Brady’s predecessor, Drew Bledsoe. It’s not going to happen this year. But if you’re the Patriots, you want to keep your options open as long as you can until the answer is revealed. And the answer isn’t in trading up in this draft.
Rodgers to the Patriots Has Been Discussed Before
Before the Patriots splurged on free-agent talent this offseason, the speculation around Rodgers landing in New England had already begun. Back in January, USA Today’s Henry McKenna talked about the possibilities:
The Patriots have leverage with [Bill] Belichick at the helm and they have a ton of cap space to work with. New England is returning key players who opted-out last season and there’s a slew of talented free agents that would immediately be interested if Rodgers were to be traded. It’s far-fetched at the moment and strings would have to be pulled, but that won’t stop the speculation from fans and media throughout the offseason.
With Rodgers unhappy, as Schefter reported, the speculation looks a little more legitimate. The Patriots would seemingly be the kind of organization that would appeal to Rodgers, although one could suggest he’d also be inclined to join Packers rival the Chicago Bears as a way to try to stick it to his former club twice a year.
Social Media Reacts to the Rodgers Rumors
As you might expect, social media went nuts with the speculation. Queue the here-comes-Belichick GIFs:
Aaron Rodgers is unhappy with the Packers and doesn’t want to return to the team.
Bill Belichick: pic.twitter.com/4u8O19rRQN
— Myck Miller (@MyckMiller) April 29, 2021
Everyone seems to think Patriots fans will be over the moon if the team has a chance to bring Rodgers to Foxborough.
Patriot fans seeing Aaron Rodgers may be available. pic.twitter.com/MSCZNTW6Nk
— RealJayH (@RealJayH) April 29, 2021
Others forecast the mega-event that would be the Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers regular-season matchup featuring a Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers head-to-head battle.
Can you imagine Brady returning to face New England in Foxboro with Belichick having Aaron Rodgers rocking 12 in a Patriots uni? BRUH
— Matt (@MattyNitro) April 29, 2021
More importantly, Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Bezan explained the Patriots wouldn’t have an issue fitting the future HOFers’ contract on their books.
Fitting Aaron Rodgers' contract is not a problem.
Rodgers’ compensation salary = $15.2M minus the $850k salary of the player he displaces from the Top 51 list equals $14.15M decrease in the Patriots salary cap space number.
Issue = cap space for rest of the season https://t.co/UtxfFv2xtR
— Cap Space=$15,582,717 (@patscap) April 29, 2021
We’ll be watching this situation closely for the next week or until we know exactly what the Patriots will do at the quarterback position.
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