Aaron Rodgers trade won’t be easy for New York Jets, Green Bay Packers – New York Jets Blog
Rich CiminiESPN Staff Writer6:00 AM ET7 Minutes Read
Stephen A.: Packers must seek at least 2 first-round picks for RodgersStephen A. Smith says the New York Jets must be willing to give up at least two first-round picks to land Aaron Rodgers.
FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Aaron Rodgers wants to leave the Green Bay Packers and play for the New York Jets. The Jets want that too. The Packers are willing to make a trade happen.
So what is the obstacle?
It is a complex transaction, perhaps unprecedented. You’re talking about an all-time great quarterback with a massive contract. These factors alone would make it difficult. The fact that he is 39 years old and has already gone on record as saying he strongly considered retirement last month makes it more difficult to determine a fair price. He could leave within a year. That’s why the Jets don’t want to part with their 2023 first-round pick (13th overall). At the same time, the Packers don’t want to trade a franchise icon for second- and third-day draft picks.
Leverage is in the eye of the beholder. The Jets appear to be involved in Rodgers because they don’t see a viable option on their roster and the quarterback market is depleted. (Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson is available but has the non-exclusive franchise tag.)
The Packers are locked in because they appear committed to fourth-year quarterback Jordan Love and would like to move away from Rodgers. President Mark Murphy revealed the team’s hand recently, speaking of Rodgers in the past tense: “He had a great career here.”
An AFC executive called it “a unique situation”, saying he would wait for both sides to find common ground before ultimatums are issued.
Let’s examine the main questions surrounding the Jets-Rodgers-Packers saga:
Aaron Rodgers’ age (39) and contractual guarantees ($59.5 million for 2023) complicate trade negotiations. AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps Is there a sense of urgency for all parties to make a deal?
Not really. There are no financial deadlines on the immediate horizon, and the Jets don’t begin their offseason until April 17. Actual internships don’t start until the end of May. Mandatory minicamp is in mid-June.
“It’s in everybody’s best interest to get it done sooner rather than later,” said former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum, now an ESPN front office analyst. “Typically, you need a deadline. Maybe the offseason is the first deadline.”
Ideally, the Jets would like to have Rodgers in the building next month to get comfortable, begin the process of building chemistry with new teammates and help install a new offense. At the same time, it’s not the end of the world if he’s not there for voluntary workouts. After all, he already has a feel for the offense, having played under offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett with the Packers.
There is no guarantee that he will participate anyway. Rodgers, who has skipped the voluntary part of the offseason in recent years, was noncommittal about whether he would join the Jets, telling “The Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday that “it’s one step at a time. I I’m still on a contract [with the Packers].”
For Airmen, the benefit to getting a deal done sooner rather than later is the peace of mind just knowing their QB1 is locked. No stress, no headache.
So when is the first real pressure point?
It’s April 27 — the first night of the draft. If it gets to that point, the Jets will have leverage because the Packers figure to want compensation from a draft pick that will help them in 2023. If the Packers have to wait until 2024 to start reaping the benefits of a trade, it could be a diminished return, assuming the Jets improve their record and have a draft pick lower than 13th in 2024.
From a public relations standpoint, it probably wouldn’t be a great look for the Packers. Essentially, they would allow one of the most iconic players in franchise history to wind up while they pass on immediate project capital.
In the midst of all that, they have until May 1 to make a decision on Love’s fifth-year option (2024), which is $20.3 million, fully guaranteed. This is a mean-important term. If they commit to Love for 2024, the Packers could try to float the idea that it allows them to keep Rodgers for another year and go for Love in ’24. That would be a tough sell, considering their glowing comments about Love and Rodgers’ unwillingness to return. He made it clear in the McAfee interview that he is done with Green Bay.
Aren’t the Packers getting crushed in the cap waiting?
Not at all. Truth be told, there is a financial benefit to waiting.
Right now, Rodgers counts $31.6 million on the salary cap. If the Packers trade him before June 1, his cap hit hits $40.3 million — and they’ll have to keep him around for the entire season. If they wait until after June 1 to deal him, the cap hit will be spread over two seasons — $15.8 million this year and $24.5 million in 2024. That would give them about $25 million in cap space. addition for 2023 to improve other areas of the list.
In other words, if that pursuit drags on before the draft, the Packers will have no incentive to make a trade before June 1. And if they wait that long, what’s to stop them from delaying until the start of training camp in late July? It would be a blow to the Jets if they open camp without their presumed QB1.
When is the deadline for a trade to be done by then?
First game of the regular season (September 10).
Under his existing contract, Rodgers has a $58.3 million option bonus (fully guaranteed) that must be exercised before the opener. (The actual money is being distributed in two installments, the latter due by Sept. 30.) It’s hard to imagine the Packers paying that much money to a player they don’t want on the roster. If they don’t pay, the cap hit would be astronomical.
Can they swallow it hard, welcome it and pay the money? Technically, yes, but it’s hard to predict that will happen.
The chances of the match reaching this point are highly unlikely. If it does, the Packers will be in dangerous territory with no leverage. And, of course, Rodgers’ value to the Jets would be diminished because he would show up without any training camp. This scenario would make no sense to anyone.
What is reasonable compensation for Rodgers?
Everyone seems to have an opinion.
If the Jets remain steadfast in keeping their 2023 first-round pick, both teams will have to get creative to make it work. Could get a strong pick (or picks) in 2023, plus a conditional pick (or picks) in 2024 or 2025. Those terms could be based on individual and team performance and whether Rodgers returns for the 2024 season.
In 2008, the Packers traded Brett Favre to the Jets for a conditional 2009 fourth-round pick that upgraded to a third-round pick based on playing time. If the Jets had made the playoffs, it would have gone to a second round. If they had made it to the Super Bowl, it would have been a first rounder. They might be willing to do something similar for Rodgers.
Tannenbaum, who negotiated Favre’s deal for the Jets, said the fair compensation for Rodgers would be a 2023 second-round pick and a conditional 2024 second- or third-round pick.
There is always an opportunity for players to get involved. The Packers could use a wide receiver after losing Allen Lazard to the Jets. Matt LaFleur of the Packers coached receiver Corey Davis when they were together with the Tennessee Titans. Davis could be considered expendable with the arrival of Lazard.
There is also the thought that the Packers, in lieu of a first-round pick, could be looking for a player who was once highly rated on their draft board. The Jets have a few players they might like. With a glut of defensive ends, perhaps Jermaine Johnson — a late first-round pick in 2022 — would do the trick.
A key component in the discussions is the money left on Rodgers’ contract. In all, he needs $59.5 million guaranteed through 2023, and the Jets almost certainly want the Packers to pay some of that. The more the Packers agree to pay, the more compensation they will receive in the form of draft picks and, possibly, players.
“I still have that fire and I want to play and I’d love to play in New York,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “It’s just a matter of, you know, getting it done at this point.”
ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.