Over the weekend, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the New York Jets have inquired about quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ availability after NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero jointly reported that the Green Bay Packers would accommodate a trade of Rodgers, should the quarterback request one. Rapoport and Pelissero also noted that multiple teams have called the Packers about Rodgers, but they did not list which franchises were picking up the phones.
First of all, it’s good for Green Bay that there are multiple potential suitors, which could drive up the price of a trade. Second, retirement is still on the table for Rodgers — as is returning as the Packers’ starting quarterback — if you believe his recent comments. During the entire Rodgers Watch 2023 saga, the four-time MVP of the NFL has stated that he’s going to make his decision before free agency, which will officially begin on March 15th. Unofficially, many offseason decisions will be made in meetings at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February.
The Super Bowl LVII @NFLGameDay Notebook with @MikeGarafolo and @TomPelissero: The latest on the future of #Raiders QB Derek Carr; #49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will have a strong FA market; #Packers QB Aaron Rodgers enters the darkness, but what next? pic.twitter.com/xkvt6cJs18— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 12, 2023
Until Rodgers makes his decision, we’re in somewhat of an information vacuum where rumors will lead the conversation. One trackable detail we can follow, though, is how the rest of the quarterback market is reacting with uncertainty around Rodgers looming. At the moment, the key name to watch is Derek Carr, who is technically under contract for the Los Vegas Raiders (for about the next 24 hours.)
According to Rapoport, Carr — who has a no-trade clause in his contract — will not accept a trade to another franchise and will force the Raiders to release him, making him a free agent. Carr has previously spent two days with the New Orleans Saints, who wanted him to rework his contract in a potential trade, per Pelissero. At 4 PM Eastern on Tuesday, $40.4 million of Carr’s contract will become guaranteed, creating a hard, expensive deadline for his likely release from the Raiders, at which point he would be a free agent and would be able to shop himself to any team in the league.
The list of teams that are interested in Carr could provide the roadmap for teams that would also be interested in Rodgers. According to Rapoport, the teams in the conversation for Carr’s services are the Carolina Panthers, the Tennessee Titans, the New Orleans Saints and “the New York Jets, if they don’t get Aaron Rodgers.”
The Panthers and Saints are NFC teams, which adds an extra layer to the decision-making for the Packers, who would have to play their former quarterback in-conference if they went through with a trade with either of those franchises. The Jets have already been linked to Rodgers — as have Carr’s Raiders — but the Titans are a new name to add to the list.
It’s worth pointing out here that Rodgers does own land in Nashville, along with a property in Malibu, California. The Titans’ starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is going into 2023 on the final year of his four-year contract with the team, which would pay him $27 million in cash should he play it out but would save Tennessee $17.8 million in cap space with a release.
The Titans looked like they were preparing for a future without Tannehill last offseason when they drafted Malik Willis in the third round of the draft, but Willis would eventually be benched for practice squad pickup Joshua Dobbs during a period when Tannehill was injured. The team’s general manager at the time of Willis’ selection, Jon Robinson, was also fired in a rare mid-season front office change in early December.
Keep an eye on the Carr sweepstakes. It’s a measure of interest in the quarterback market and could end up deciding where the Packers pick up a couple of draft picks from. At this point, Tennessee should be taken as a serious option based on their reported curiosity in the quarterback market.