As was the case with the drawn-out negotiations, the finale of Aaron Rodgers’ trade can be summed up in a similar fashion.
Everything is very complicated.
The Jets acquired Rodgers on Monday with the 15th pick in the NFL Draft and fifth overall (170th). The Packers had the 13th and 42nd picks, a 6th rounder (No. 207) and a conditional second-round pick in 2024. He’ll become a first-choice player if Rodgers plays at least 65 percent of his picks this season.
Essentially, the Packers moved ahead with two first-round picks (No. 15 to 13), added a second-round pick and potentially next year’s first-round pick, while the Jets landed a long-awaited quarterback, an interchange (moving) pick from the round. VI through V) and some injury protection in case Rodgers misses roughly six games or more.
In a quick league poll among five general managers, executive directors, and assistant coaches, three declared the Packers the winners of the deal. Someone called it a victory for the planes. Another described it as a win-win.
“I thought Green Bay had all the leverage,” said one coach. “If Rodgers retires, they’re fine. If they keep him at QB (and he retires), they’re still fine. But if either of those things happen, the Jets are messed up.”
“The planes have given up a lot,” one executive added.
While the Jets have their first bona fide quarterback since Brett Favre in 2008, the concern for New York is sustainability. Rodgers turns 40 in December, and he’s seriously considered retirement for the past two seasons, so it’s reasonable to think that this will happen again a year from now. His numbers also slumped in his first season without star wide receiver Davante Adams.
Another executive said, “(Rodgers is) a running back who doesn’t want to be (with the Packers) and might retire this year if things don’t go well.” “I could see this explosion in the faces of the planes.”
An intangible component of that equation would be Rodgers’ drive to prove the Packers wrong for parting ways and shifting toward quarterback Jordan Love, not so different from how Tom Brady bounced back from a relatively pedestrian final season with the Patriots to lift the Buccaneers into Super Bowl dimension.
And just like how Brady responded with better receivers and tight ends in Tampa, Rodgers has the opportunity to do the same at the Meadowlands with Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard and Mikul Hardman. He also joins a team with a defense that earned them the fourth-fewest points in the league last season.
“The Jets are scary with him up there,” said a coach who believes the Jets got the better end of the bargain. “I didn’t think New York would get that much money for it. I thought it would cost a lot.”
The perceived uncertainty around price was related to effectiveness in the negotiations. of the five CEOs and coaches surveyed athlete, Three of them believed that the Packers had the upper hand, while two believed that neither side had any leverage, complicating matters.
That’s because the Jets are all in on Rodgers over free agent options Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo, and they’ve decided that 2021 number one player Zach Wilson needs a season working as a backup. All of these decisions made perfect sense, but the belated trade negotiations put the planes in an impossible spot. They didn’t have a reasonable plan (b) if the package decided not to budge.
All along, the Packers knew Rodgers was done in Green Bay when he announced on The Pat McAfee Show in March that he intended to join the Jets. The Packers, who have essentially fixed their cap on Rodgers’ remaining days, needed to reset the books ASAP and will consume nearly $40 million in Rodgers’ dead money in 2023.
If this situation continued any longer, the repercussions of the cap would probably have bled into 2024. They had to make a decision before a one-year reset turned into a two-year disaster.
So the Packers moved into a new era and added draft resources to support love and the list of numbers to get younger fast. The Jets, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, are hoping Rodgers will have enough to turn them into contenders overnight.
We’ll see, said an executive. “It’s a really tough division.”
It is not just limited to East Asia. The Chiefs are a perennial powerhouse with two Super Bowls and three AFC titles in the past four years, and the Bengals have been one of the best teams in the league over the past two seasons. The Jaguars and Chargers are on the upswing, while the Ravens, Steelers, Browns, Titans, Broncos, and Raiders could do better in 2023 if a few things go their way.
The conference will be tight, and it will be a duty to knock out the AFC class. If Rodgers delivered a banner, the trade would be an incredible success.
“What is the future plan for the planes?” Thinking executive.
Barring the sheer face plant or catastrophic injury, there’s also a lot to be said for a team that sets a goal and crashes to achieve it. It sends a message to the locker room and others across the league that they’re not afraid to take risks, but don’t discount the importance of the following results.
There can also be a spin-off to the trade. Rodgers and Wilson are friends, so the veteran’s mentorship will help Wilson as he works through the adversities of his early career. No, the Jets didn’t trade with the idea of finally getting Wilson on track, but that would be a silver lining rather than the team’s immediate success.
There are a lot of assumptions that can’t be answered until teams hit the field. Did the Packers make the right love call on Rodgers? Will the Jets do enough to justify investing in an almost retired quarterback?
Right now, the committee believes the Packers won the deal, but there are obvious ways that score could develop or change over time, making the move very complicated.
(Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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