One of the perfunctory, quota-filling, box-checking Sunday Splash! reports from divisional round weekend wasn’t really news at all. As is often the case.
There’s a very real possibility Aaron Rodgers will be traded!
Yes. Yes, there is. We knew that five days earlier, when Rodgers made it clear on Pat McAfee’s show that Rodgers believes he could be an MVP with another team — and when Rodgers basically read off a ransom note of players he wants the team to keep, or else. It was more than enough to get us to look at every possible landing spot for Rodgers, which obviously would happen via trade.
The question then becomes finding a trade partner for Rodgers. It needs to be a team he’s willing to play for. Even though he doesn’t have a no-trade clause, he made the 100-percent dead-on balls accurate observation last week with McAfee and company that no team for which he doesn’t want to play will be trading for him.
So what will Rodgers want? Where will he want to play?
Will he want to play for a team that is stacked at every position except quarterback? On the surface, why wouldn’t he? At a deeper level, that puts even more pressure on Rodgers to be the difference maker.
Maybe the play will be to go to a team that will have reasonable expectations, even if he’s on that team. Peter King suggested the Jets in his latest edition of Football Morning in America, a fitting repeat of the Brett Favre career arc. King also floated the Patriots and the Raiders.
The Packers will want compensation for Rodgers. The Jets gave up a conditional fourth-round pick for Favre, which could have (but didn’t) become a first-round pick. It’s hard to imagine Rodgers yielding much more than that; for the Green Bay front office, the value primarily comes from unloading his $58.3 million compensation package for 2023, and secondarily from, you know, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.
Also, it’s one thing to give up a pair of first-round picks for a young player. It’s quite another to give up major draft-pick compensation for a guy who is clearly on a year-to-year arrangement. Hell, there’s a chance (remote but still not implausible) that Rodgers would decide after the offseason program that he made a mistake, and that he shouldn’t continue his career at all.
Wherever he plays in 2023, he needs to be all in. He needs to be fully engaged. If he’s with a new team, it becomes even more important to be present and engaged. He’ll need to get to know his new teammates. More importantly, they’ll need to get to know him.
So, yes, it’s a real possibility that he’ll be traded. That’s not news. It’s obvious. He’ll either play for the Packers, retire, or play for someone else.