Speculation is running rampant that the New York Jets will try to trade for Aaron Rodgers this offseason. But the reality of completing a deal with the Green Bay Packers to acquire the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback is complicated.
We know the Jets are committed to adding a veteran quarterback to stabilize the position after two subpar seasons from Zach Wilson, who’s expected to remain on the roster in 2023. What we don’t know, though, is a much longer list.
Everybody in sports media has you being traded.
"Everybody is entitled to their opinion"@AaronRodgers12 #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/4qHSVkLY1G
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 24, 2023
How interested are the Jets in trading for Rodgers? Does their hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator signal the Jets want to reunite him with Rodgers after three successful seasons together with the Packers (2019-2021)? Do they believe Rodgers is the better option over Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo?
It appears Sauce Gardner thinks acquiring Rodgers is a good idea. And Joe Namath made his pro-Rodgers take known, too. But the Jets stud corner and Super Bowl legend don’t get to make the final call here.
We also don’t know if the Packers are ready to cut ties with Rodgers and hand the reins over to Jordan Love. Nor do we know if Rodgers plans to continue playing, if he’d approve a trade if the Packers don’t want him or if he’d want to play for the Jets.
"If the Packers got the right package I think they could do a deal for Aaron Rodgers"@RapSheet #PMSOverreactionMonday pic.twitter.com/91zOaakVWE
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 23, 2023
General manager Joe Douglas will most definitely check in with his Green Bay counterpart, Brian Gutekunst, early and often to monitor the Rodgers situation. Figuring the Packers would only consider dealing Rodgers to an AFC team (if they trade him), the Jets would still need to make a very competitive offer because several AFC teams, including the Las Vegas Raiders and Tennessee Titans, would likely be in the running.
That said, let’s look at two options the Jets could offer the Packers in a trade for Aaron Rodgers.
2: Jets include 2023 first-round pick in trade for Aaron Rodgers
The Packers must ask for at least one first-round pick in any potential deal involving Rodgers, a four-time MVP and one of the greatest QBs of his generation. Whether they get one unconditionally remains to be seen.
Rodgers will turn 40 next December, his play dipped in 2022 and he’s due a ton of money on his contract. He could easily retire after this upcoming season and the Jets would be left with some serious dead money on the salary cap, without their quarterback. For those reasons alone, New York might shy away from including their No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Packers would counter that Rodgers would absolutely be a difference-maker for the Jets and help them reach the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Remember, the Jets likely would have ended their playoff drought this season if they received even league-average quarterback play.
Green Bay would also be sure to mention that they’d be on the hook for a massive dead cap hit by trading Rodgers, so would need that No. 13 overall pick to even begin thinking about making this trade. In fact, the Packers likely would start the conversation by asking for two first-rounders, considering that haul was part of the packages the Detroit Lions got from the Los Angeles Rams for Matthew Stafford in 2021 and the Seattle Seahawks received when they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos last offseason.
It’s tough to imagine the Jets trading two first-rounders for the aging Rodgers, though. So, if they include their 2023 first-round pick (No. 13 overall), I think the Jets could also send second and fourth-round picks in the 2024 draft to the Packers, perhaps tying some conditions to that second-rounder. And perhaps they would need to swap the fourth-round selection with a third-rounder.
Douglas doesn’t like to deal draft picks, but these parameters would be a fair trade for each side.
1: Jets include conditional first-round pick in 2024 NFL Draft in trade for Aaron Rodgers
This is the path the Jets most likely would want to take, holding on to the No. 13 overall pick this year and attaching conditions to their first-rounder next season. Those conditions could range from the Jets reaching the playoffs in 2023 or to Rodgers starting a certain number of games or even getting named to the Pro Bowl. And another condition could be Rodgers retiring at the end of next season.
In any of those cases, that first-round pick could become, say, a second-round selection.
This strategy may appeal to the Packers, as well. They will be crushed with a huge dead cap hit in 2023 if they trade Rodgers, so that will impact signing free agents and draft picks. Perhaps they’d prefer to take a first and a second in 2024, along with a second in 2023.
Green Bay also needs another wide receiver. Would Elijah Moore be intriguing? If so, maybe those four assets could land Rodgers and a Day 3 pick in 2024 for the Jets.
Like the above scenario, this deal seems fair for both sides.