One week ago, New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas stated, “He’s gonna be here,” in reference to a question about quarterback Aaron Rodgers while at a radio event in New York. The statement drew cheers from the crowd of fans, who are hoping to see the first Jets quarterback throw for 4,000 passing yards since Joe Namath.
If you anticipated that Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy would match Douglas’ enthusiasm while on the Packers’ yearly tailgate tour of Wisconsin this April, though, you’re sorely mistaken. When asked if the ball is in the Jets’ court on a potential trade of Rodgers, Murphy simply said, “I can’t get into that.”
Packers president Mark Murphy before leaving for the team’s annual bus tour of Wisconsin wouldn’t say whether he considers the ball to be in their court or in the Jets’ court when it comes to finishing the Aaron Rodgers trade.— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) April 11, 2023
That and more here: pic.twitter.com/JnMEUifyqk
Murphy also stated that he does anticipate “quite a few questions” about Rodgers while traveling across the state, but claimed, “I anticipate saying that there is no update.” For whatever it’s worth, the Packers’ tailgate tour will stretch through Saturday, so don’t expect a deal to get done this week.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky also couldn’t get Murphy to commit to saying whether or not a trade for Rodgers would get done before the summer, which is obviously very different energy than Douglas brought to the stage last week. That begs the question: Why are the two sides treating this situation so differently in public?
On the surface, it seems odd, but this is how the two sides of the trade would be acting if a pick swap of the 13th pick (owned by the Jets) and the 15th pick (owned by the Packers) was part of a trade package. If Green Bay were to choose a pick swap in the trade, rather than say an extra fourth-round pick, wouldn’t it serve the Packers better to wait until the Jets were on the clock at 13 to see if they actually want to move up in the draft? That was what I was told to think about when I asked a league source about the situation on Tuesday. The source also claimed that at least one team in the NFL is internally running mock drafts with Green Bay selecting at the 13th spot in the draft.
A pick swap would be interesting, particularly because of the player pool of prospects who should be available around the middle of the first round. The Chicago Bears could start a run of offensive linemen with the ninth overall pick, if a team doesn’t jump them in a trade-up and beat them to the punch.
Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr., Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Tennessee's Darnell Wright currently rank from 10th to 25th on the consensus draft board. There are only two other tackles, Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison and Ohio State’s Dawand Jones, who are listed in the consensus board’s top 67 players and just one more, Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron, inside the top 89 prospects.
This is all to say that by the time the Packers are on the clock in the second round, Green Bay could find themselves without a tackle option to take in the top 100, based on where they’re selecting in the draft. That would be a motivator to potentially slide up a few picks, and jump the tackle-needy Jets and New England Patriots in the process. Waiting until draft day only gives them more information on who could be available at 15 or 13, which comes at the opportunity cost of around a fourth-round pick on most trade value charts.
It has been reported that Green Bay has already scheduled a pre-draft visit with Wright, one of the top tackles in the class, A tackle wouldn’t be the sexiest pick, but with starting left tackle David Bakhtiari commanding a $40.5 million cap hit in 2024 and right tackle Yosh Nijman still yet to sign his one-year tender as a restricted free agent, I wouldn’t blame the team for looking in that direction a year before holes start to pop up at the position. The signs seem to be pointing in that direction, so don’t be surprised if the Packers turn in the 13th pick for an offensive lineman on draft day.