Let the Aaron Rodgers to Tampa Bay Buccaneers rumors begin with Tom Brady expected to announce his retirement in the coming weeks. This leaves the Buccaneers with a giant hole to fill at quarterback but could the team look to lure another star signal caller to Tampa for the second offseason in three years?
Rodgers’ future with the Packers is far from concrete and there is already some speculation that the Bucs would be a perfect landing spot for the star quarterback. During an interview with fellow Fox Sports analyst Nick Wright, Colin Cowherd suggested a trade proposal that has the Buccaneers sending Mike Evans and draft picks to the Packers as part of a blockbuster deal for Rodgers.
“I’ll throw this at you, Brady retires in two weeks, Aaron Rodgers says I want out, so Davante Adams is out,” the analyst detailed on The Colin Cowherd Podcast on January 27. “Aaron agrees to Tampa, Green Bay says we want Mike Evans, we’re not losing Davante and getting nobody. Tampa needs to cut money because Brady’s contract has a punitive salary cap hit if he doesn’t play, plus Aaron’s salary cap [hit]. The Packers get Mike Evans and J.P.P. [Jason Pierre-Paul], but they’ve been looking for an edge rusher for years. Between the two, it’s $30-33 million of salary.
“Green Bay gets J.P.P., Mike Evans, two firsts up to three [draft picks] if Aaron plays a third year, which has always been something you’ve talked about. Two [picks] guaranteed, up to three if he plays a third year. If he retires after two, you get two minimum, even if he retired after a year. Three if he stays for three [years].”
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Are the Buccaneers Willing to Mortgage Future for a Rodgers Trade?
One note on Cowherd’s suggestion, Jason Pierre-Paul is a free agent so the Buccaneers would have to send another defender in the deal. Would the Buccaneers be willing to give up multiple first-round picks plus their franchise receiver for a 38-year-old quarterback? Rodgers threw for 4,115 yards, 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 68.9% of his passes in 2021 indicating the star still has plenty of good football left.
The Packers quarterback has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $134 million deal and is slated to have a $26.4 million salary in 2022. The Bucs could opt to turn over the offense to second-year quarterback Kyle Trask and build for the future. Yet, even head coach Bruce Arians admitted the Buccaneers may be willing to get aggressive in the quarterback market if Brady retired.
“I’d be comfortable if it is [a quarterback on the roster],” Arians explained during his January 24 press conference. “I like what we have, but again, you never know what’s behind Door No. 2. We kind of went down that road two years ago and there was Tom Brady. We’ll have to wait and see.”
The Bucs Could Explore Adding Rodgers or Winston, Says Analyst
There are a lot of moving parts in a major deal like this as the Buccaneers are not going to swing for the fences unless Rodgers wants to be in Tampa. The Packers would need to be willing to move on from Rodgers, and the Buccaneers would have to assess the risk of giving up long-term assets for a short-term solution.
Cowherd is not alone in seeing Tampa Bay as a viable destination for Rodgers. CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr also suggested that Rodgers and Jameis Winston are two top options for the Buccaneers if Brady retires.
“There will be options for the Buccaneers via free agency or trade if Brady doesn’t return,” Kerr explained on January 24. “Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers could be available given their current situations with the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers while Jameis Winston is the top free agent available. Winston spent a year with Arians in 2019, throwing for 5,109 yards with 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions before the Buccaneers moved on from him when they had an opportunity to sign Tom Brady in free agency.”