Although everything changed when Rodgers made an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on March 15.
“At this point I gotta admit I went into the darkness 90 percent retiring, 10 percent playing,” Rodgers exclaimed on the show. “That is where my mind was. I’m tired of this [and] I haven’t gotten back into my workouts yet and I thought that was what was best for me.”
Prior to that comment, the trade was going to be from Robinson’s “understanding” a 2023 third-rounder (No. 74 overall) and a 2024 first-rounder “straight up” for Rodgers.
Gang Green would have made that trade with the understanding that this was going to be a two-year window with Rodgers.
However, those Rodgers’ retirement comments “scared” Johnson, and the Jets altered the trade package.
“Suddenly Woody was like hey if this is just a one-year window then we aren’t giving up a one, I’m paraphrasing here, we aren’t giving up a one and another asset on top of that for what might be a one-year window here,” Robinson explained during an appearance on Wilde and Tausch’s ESPN radio show. “Whether that’s a three, two, or whatever. I think there were pretty extensive talks that kind of whittled it down into that zone right around the time of that visit. It wasn’t like the two parties were going into it blind, they felt pretty close and then things changed.”
Jets Changed the Trade Package to Protect Themselves in Aaron Rodgers Deal
At this current stage of negotiations, the Packers are seeking a 2023 second-round draft choice and a guaranteed first-rounder in 2024.
“The Packers are absolutely stuck on we got to get the first straight-up next year, nothing put on that we need your first next year,” Robinson continued on the Wilde and Tausch show on ESPN radio. “It’s just not happening, the Jets aren’t going to give up a straight-up first.”
The big reason the Jets don’t want to do it is because of what has transpired with the other big-time quarterback trades recently, according to Robinson.
Russell Wilson getting sent to the Denver Broncos and it turned into a total disaster. The Seattle Seahawks hold the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft because of that deal.
The Los Angeles Rams getting Matthew Stafford and that extra first-round pick became the No. 6 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft for the Detroit Lions.
In theory, if Rodgers only played one season for the Jets and things went south they would be put in a bad spot. Maybe A-Rod gets injured or the offensive line can’t protect him or maybe things just don’t click.
Rodgers would retire next offseason and the Jets wouldn’t have a first-round pick in 2024.
How that situation played out with Wilson in Denver gave Woody Johnson some “nervousness” according to Robinson.
“It doesn’t help that the Jets know like everyone else that next year you got two quarterbacks at the top of the draft (Caleb Williams and Drake Maye). Everyone that you talk to that is involved in scouting and personnel will tell you that those guys are going to be superstars and I think that is part of the nightmare scenario in Woody’s mind,” Robinson articulated on the Wilde and Tausch ESPN radio show. “What if this ends up being a super high pick and all of a sudden it’s not ours because catastrophe happens in 2023? We didn’t protect ourselves.”
Compromise to Aaron Rodgers Jets-Packers Problems
As is the case in any negotiation the true price is somewhere in between.
The Jets are comfortable giving up a first in 2024 if the team succeeds in 2023. Gang Green would like to make that 2024 pick conditional based.
If the Jets make the playoffs or reach a certain level like the AFC Championship game or heck even make the Super Bowl. Those kinds of escalators were built into the Brett Favre trade with the Packers back in 2008.
Green Bay could still land the top pick they’re seeking if everything breaks right. Even if the worst-case scenario occurred, the Packers in theory could essentially get a pair of second-rounders for Rodgers as a floor of that potential trade. One in 2023 and the other one in 2024.
Right now Green Bay has been willing to accept that offer. New York hasn’t been willing to relent on its side. We have a classic stalemate and we’ll see who truly has more conviction in its stance when the 2023 NFL draft arrives on Thursday, April 27.