Plenty has been reported about how the Green Bay Packers feel about quarterback Aaron Rodgers as Rodgers contemplates his upcoming decision of whether to retire or not. The most recent rumor, from NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, claims that the Packers “sure hope” that Rodgers doesn’t want to come back to the team as the organization is allegedly ready to turn the page and move on to the Jordan Love era.
Rodgers’ side of the story has been very, very quiet as of late, though. Outside of a 90-minute podcast that shined little light on his upcoming choice, Rodgers has been silent on social media and in the media since he took his four-day darkness retreat in Southern Oregon in February. Usually a regular on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesdays, Rodgers has missed the last two weeks of appearances — one due to the fact that he was on the retreat.
That all changed late on Monday night when we got a sliver of information about where Rodgers’ head is at about a week before the legal tampering period of free agency kicks off. According to Trey Wingo of Pro Football Network, Rodgers had conversations with the New York Jets on Monday — the team that seems to be an overwhelming favorite to trade for his services should he become available.
If this is true, Green Bay’s organization almost certainly gave the Jets permission to speak to Rodgers beforehand. Remember, we’re only one off-season removed from the Miami Dolphins being docked a first-round draft pick due to improper contact with quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton while they were still under contract with other NFL teams. If the Packers did give Rodgers permission to look elsewhere, there’s virtually no scenario in which the organization hasn’t already internally named 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love the team’s starting quarterback for the 2023 season as he enters the final year on his rookie contract.
The only deadline for Green Bay to trade Rodgers has been self-imposed by the quarterback, who stated that he wasn’t going to “hold [the Packers] hostage” ahead of free agency. Meanwhile, general manager Brian Gutekunst has until May 1st, just a few days after the 2023 NFL Draft, to decide if the squad is going to pick up Love’s 2024 fifth-year option to the tune of about $20 million per year.
At this point, the expected return for the 39-year-old quarterback should be around the ballpark of a first-round pick (either in 2023 or 2024) and a Day 2 selection. According to recent reports, the Denver Broncos were willing to part with more for Russell Wilson — even though Rodgers was their top choice in the 2022 offseason — than the then reigning back-to-back MVP, simply due to his age. The Jets own the 13th, 44th and 75th picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Wingo noted in his report that “nothing is imminent” on the trade front but that Rodgers is “open” to playing for New York. Last season, the Jets missed the playoffs mostly due to a struggling passing offense despite their above-average receiver room and offensive line. After the season, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur — brother of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur — was allowed to leave to become the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams and was replaced by the Jets by former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who Rodgers is famously close with.