We have reached March 2 and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has yet to make a decision on the 2023 campaign.
Most believe he has it narrowed down to three choices, however. Retire, agree on a trade to the New York Jets — the only obvious suitor remaining after the Las Vegas Raiders reportedly pulled themselves from the bidding war on February 23 — or stay put in Green Bay for another season. Not so fast though, a former teammate and understudy of Rodgers believes an unexpected mystery buyer could end up stealing the whale of a QB away via trade, and this one might give NYJ supporters déjà vu.
During a Q&A with Sports Illustrated’s The Spun and reporter Tzvi Machlin on February 27, ex-Packers reserve quarterback Kurt Benkert was asked to give his final Rodgers prediction, but he didn’t go with one of the three “chalk” answers above.
“Aaron Rodgers is going to end up either a New York Jet or a Miami Dolphin,” Benkert began before coming to a bolder conclusion. “If I had to REALLY guess, I’d say the Miami Dolphins [because they] have the roster to win a Super Bowl and he could really enjoy some time in the warmth [and] defrost a little bit after all of these years.”
Don’t forget the tax breaks in Florida. After all, that’s part of the reason superstar WR Tyreek Hill left the Jets hanging just one year ago. If Rodgers does the same in 2023 and passes on New York for Miami, the contingent of fans that want him may pop their last blood vessel.
Dolphins Uncertainty Over Tua Tagovailoa Could Lead to Blockbuster Trade for Aaron Rodgers
When Dolphins general manager Chris Grier spoke with Will Manso and team reporters at the NFL Combine, he wasn’t willing to back quarterback Tua Tagovailoa 110 percent.
“I can’t lie and say no,” Grier replied after a question on durability concerns. Tagovailoa has already suffered multiple concussions throughout his football career — including three known concussions last season — not to mention previous finger and rib fractures, ankle issues, and a long-term hip injury in college.
Grier did add that Miami isn’t afraid to “do something long-term” with Tagovailoa at this time, but the response was hardly a strong vote of confidence. In terms of his fifth-year option — which would have to be picked up in May — the Dolphins GM sort of dodged the question, stating that they’re “still having all those conversations.”
Miami does not hold a first-round draft pick in 2023 after forfeiting one (tampering) and trading another (Bradley Chubb deal). However, they could elect to send the Packers future assets like a 2024 or 2025 first rounder if Green Bay was willing to accommodate that sort of timeline.
At the end of the day, it will come down to Rodgers. Being that he could choose to retire at any time, he holds all the cards — and that simple fact may just destroy this winter fantasy before the first day of spring.
Carolina Panthers Join Jets as New Suitor for Aaron Rodgers
The Carolina Panthers came up in Derek Carr discussions yesterday and today on March 2, they were also connected to Rodgers.
uSTADIUM tweeted out a report from ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on NFL Live, relaying: “The Panthers have also reached out to the Packers about Aaron Rodgers.”
Earlier, at the NFL Combine, Carolina head coach Frank Reich did note that the Panthers plan to do their due diligence on just about every quarterback option, so this update isn’t all that surprising, but it does add another potential buyer for the Jets to compete with.
Having said all of that, ESPN’s Panthers beat reporter David Newton also reported that “while the Panthers are meeting with Derek Carr in Indianapolis, their focus is more on mid-level (salary-wise) veteran quarterbacks.” Adding: “They already have had preliminary discussions with representatives of Sam Darnold, per sources. Darnold makes sense if they plan to draft a QB.”