The trade of Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets is still on hold. The 2023 NFL Draft is roughly two weeks away and the two teams have yet to settle on fair compensation for the 39-year-old, four-time NFL MVP who declared last month that he wanted to continue his career with the Jets.
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, the two teams had more or less agreed to the terms of the deal even before Rodgers announced his intention to play in New York on the Pat McAfee Show. The Jets were willing to send the Packers a second-round pick in 2023 and a first round pick in 2024 for Rodgers.
But after Rodgers said on McAfee he was “90 percent” leaning towards retirement before his darkness retreat, Jets owner Woody Johnson got cold feet and thought one season of Rodgers was not worth the agreed upon price. He wanted some compensation in case Rodgers retired after the 2023 season and did not want to give up a number one pick in the trade in 2024 without some conditions.
This is frustrating for the Packers who thought they had a deal worked out. Johnson suddenly panicked and didn’t feel comfortable with the deal his team had agreed to.
This is a little absurd if you think about it. Why? Because we are talking about Aaron Rodgers here and with Rodgers, you get the whole package. On the field, you get a four-time league MVP who has taken his team to the postseason 11 times in 15 years as a starter and injuries were a reason for a couple of those misses. Rodgers is one of the most gifted passers in the history of the game.
But off the field, you get drama. Whether it’s possible retirement, his vaccination status, his public conflicts with the front office, his refusal to show up for non-mandatory OTAs, his relationship with his family, who he’s dating or just his weekly appearances on McAfee’s show, Rodgers is always going to make headlines and he’s not shy about sharing his opinions and trying to control the narrative.
As Packers president Mark Murphy once said, Rodgers can be “a complicated fella.” Love him or hate him, agree with him or disagree with him, you’d have to live under a rock to not know Rodgers is always in the news and creating controversy and that is all part of the package when you have AR-12 on your team.
Johnson also had to know Rodgers has said he’s “on the back nine of his career” and has thought about retiring. Oh, and when did Rodgers say he was on the back nine of his career? That was in 2017, six years ago.
Any 39-year-old football player may be in his last season no matter how good he’s been during his career. Father Time is undefeated, and Tom Brady is the exception to the exception to the exception and not the rule. The Jets organization should have known darn well what they were getting, both the good and the bad.
Now the Jets are in a bind. Their backup plan if the Rodgers trade doesn’t happen is Ryan Tannehill. That is a big step down in quality from even the mediocre 2022 Rodgers. The fan base will be angry and the promise of contending in 2023 with Rodgers will not take place.
In addition, their reputation for keeping their word in negotiations will be damaged and that will hurt them when they try to make future trades.
The Packers can wait out the Jets. They don’t have to pay Rodgers’ bonus until September, so they lose no money by waiting on the deal. The Packers have their 2023 quarterback on their roster in Jordan Love, the Jets do not. The Jets will also lose valuable time Rodgers will need in training camp to have Rodgers work with his new receivers and offensive linemen and to prepare for the new season. Plus, as time goes on, Jets fans will put more pressure on the team to close out the deal.
Meanwhile, the Packers will have more cap money available for this season if they don’t trade Rodgers. If the Jets don’t step up and agree to a fair price for the future Hall of Famer, the Packers can trade Rodgers to another team and Rodgers will either have to play for that team or retire. The Packers may even get more in return if other teams like the San Francisco 49ers get involved.
The pressure will fall on the Jets first. The Packers can play chicken with the Jets until they really feel the pressure. The Packers don’t need to act until September. GM Brian Gutekunst should wait out the Jets and tell them if they don’t pay a fair price for Rodgers, they will have to find another quarterback. Hopefully, it all gets done on or before draft day. The Packers should stand firm and make the Jets meet their price.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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