After nearly two months of speculation and waiting, the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets finally completed the trade that will send Aaron Rodgers to Broadway. GM Brian Gutekunst made the announcement on Monday afternoon and the Packers got a fair haul in return for the future Hall of Famer while the Jets got the player who they feel can make them contenders in 2023.
The Packers will receive the following:
The Jets first-round pick in this year’s draft (13th overall)
A second-round pick in 2023 from the Jets (42nd overall)
A sixth-round pick in 2023 from the Jets (207th overall)
A conditional second-round pick in 2024. It will become a first-round pick if Rodgers plays at least 65 percent of the Jets offensive snaps in 2023.
The Jets will receive:
QB Aaron Rodgers
The Packers first round pick in 2023 (15th overall)
The Packers fifth round pick in 2023 (170th overall)
The final deal was a compromise but from a Packers perspective, Gutekunst managed to accomplish a few things by holding out for fair compensation from the Jets.
First, the Packers ended the ongoing Rodgers drama. The countdown had started when the quarterback emerged from his darkness retreat and made the announcement on Pat McAfee’s show. The threat of being stuck with Rodgers on the roster or having him hang around the team as a distraction was not something the organization wanted.
The drama really started in 2020 when the team drafted Jordan Love in the first round which clearly surprised and angered Rodgers. Since then, there was a lot of tension between Rodgers and the front office. That has now been eliminated.
Next, Gutekunst also moved up two spots in the first round of this year’s draft. This gives the Packers a better chance to select a particular player they have their eyes on whether it’s wide receiver Jaxson Smith-Njigba of Ohio State, one of the talented tight ends in the draft, an edge rusher, an offensive tackle or any other player.
The Packers could still trade back and get a little more for that pick now that it’s two spots better. The Packers move increases the value of the Packers first round pick and that’s a positive.
The Packers also did not have to give the Jets anything in return if Rodgers only plays one season before retiring. That was reported as an issue the Jets were stuck on, but Gutekunst managed to hold out and there is no condition that will give the Jets anything in return in 2025 or in any draft.
This makes sense though because the Jets knew what they were getting when they wanted Rodgers. He’ll turn 40 in December. Every year since 2021, Rodgers has threatened to retire or complained about his relationship with management. He said he’s on the “back-nine” of his career in the summer of 2017. If they wanted Rodgers, they had to take the uncertainty about his future and eventually, the Jets did back down. The Jets may have gotten a verbal commitment from Rodgers that he’ll play more than one season, but we don’t know what was discussed between the quarterback and his new team.
In return, the Packers gave the Jets a fifth-round pick and got a sixth-round pick in return. It does help the Jets a bit on day three, but it’s not a big sacrifice for the Packers.
The Packers also got favorable conditions on the 2024 conditional pick. The Jets can say they didn’t give up a straight first-round pick and they will only give up the first-round pick if they get a healthy, solid season out of Rodgers. The deal is fair. If the Jets get a solid season out of Rodgers, they will owe the Packers a first-round pick in 2024. But if the Jets are right and Rodgers is still an elite quarterback, it will be a late first-round pick.
The Packers can do no worse than a pair of second-round picks for Rodgers and will likely get a second in 2023 and a first in 2024. The best-case scenario for the Packers is that Rodgers plays the entire season, but the Jets falter and the Packers get a pick in the early or mid-first round next season.
Because this deal was done before June 1st, the Packers will have all the dead cap money associated with Rodgers’ contract count against this year’s cap. That means Rodgers’ contract will completely off the Packers books after the 2023 season.
In the end, Gutekunst and the Packers stuck to their guns and got a fair and reasonable haul for Rodgers. The Jets got their quarterback and the Packers got picks to help Jordan Love in his first and second seasons as a starter.
Now it’s official and the post-Rodgers Era begins.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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