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Aaron Rodgers Trade: Brian Gutekunst won his staredown with the Jets

The Packers received up to the equivalent of a third overall pick in exchange for the 39-year-old quarterback

NFL Combine Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

On Monday — just minutes after ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced to the world that quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be traded to the New York JetsGreen Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst admitted to the local press that there were doubts, at times, that a deal would actually get done. Over one month after Rodgers announced to the world that his “intention” was to play with the Jets in 2023, Gutekunst finally won his staring contest with New York owner Woody Johnson on the week of the draft.

According to the reporting of Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson, this is the timeline of the Jets’ offers for Rodgers and why the trade took so long to agree to.

Trade Offer 1

Per Robinson, the Jets’ original offer to the Packers included New York’s sole second-round pick at the time (43rd overall) and a 2024 first-round pick. According to the report, Johnson took this trade off of the table when Rodgers told Pat McAfee that he was “90 percent retired” going into his darkness retreat. This was the same interview in which Rodgers publicly stated that he wanted to be a Jet. If not for these words, New York could have announced this trade weeks ago and probably would have saved themselves some draft value along the way.

Trade Offer 2

Following the apparent news to Johnson that Rodgers had contemplated retirement, the Jets’ new offer was significantly reduced. By this point, New York had already traded receiver Elijah Moore to the Cleveland Browns in a deal that landed them the 42nd overall pick, a second second-round selection in the 2023 draft. According to Robinson, the Jets’ new offer to the Packers — as recently as two weeks ago — was a 2023 second-rounder (either 42nd or 43rd overall) and a 2024 second-rounder (which could convert to a first-round pick depending on team benchmarks.) In exchange, though, the Packers would have to give up a top-100 selection back in 2025 if Rodgers did not suit up for the Jets in 2024, which in certain scenarios meant that Green Bay would only have netted around a second-round pick worth of value in the trade for the four-time MVP quarterback.

Shortly after Robinson’s report, rumors began to spread that the Jets and Packers had not talked since the owners’ meetings. You can understand why that would be the case, as the second alleged offer from New York was closer to Green Bay receiving nothing for Rodgers than what was on the table before the quarterback’s appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. Gutekunst held firm and it ended up being fruitful for the general manager. On Sunday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the two sides were talking again, which led to the Jets giving up plenty more assets to get this deal done ahead of the draft.

Accepted Trade Offer

In the end, these were the terms of the trade on the deal that the Packers accepted for Rodgers:

Packers Receive

  • Jets 2023 1st-round pick (#13)
  • Jets 2023 2nd-round pick (#42, originally from Browns)
  • Jets 2023 6th-round pick (#207)
  • Conditional 2024 draft pick — 2nd rounder that increases to a 1st-rounder if Rodgers plays at least 65% of snaps in 2023

Jets Receive

  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Packers 2023 1st-round pick (#15)
  • Packers 2023 5th-round pick (#170)

While the first-round pick is still a conditional graduation of a second-round pick, it comes with a much lower bar to clear than in the Jets’ second trade offer. In the second offer, the second-round pick would only convert to a first-round pick if New York — as a team — did something like win the AFC East or a home playoff game. In a division with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, even with Rodgers under center, that’s something closer to a gamble than something you can bank on. With the new clause simply being Rodgers seeing the field on 65 percent of the offensive snaps, there’s a significantly higher chance that the Packers actually get that 2024 first-round pick. With Rodgers’ history playing through injury, including a broken toe and broken thumb in recent seasons, it would take a catastrophic injury for Green Bay to only receive a second-rounder in the next draft.

This deal also completely got rid of the idea of a 2025 draft pick going back to New York if Rodgers didn’t suit up in 2024, which obviously added a lot of value to the Packers. Even after his appearance on McAfee, Rodgers continued to hint that he’s only committed to the Jets for a single season, which only stressed the importance of this aspect of the trade.

Ultimately, Gutekunst essentially got the same package that was agreed to in Offer 1. As long as Rodgers is on the field consistently in 2023, the only changes to the deal are the 2023 first-round pick swap and the 2023 second-round pick moving up one spot in exchange for a pick swap of compensatory fifth- and sixth-round picks, which arguably breaks in the Packers’ favor anyway.

According to the analysis done by Brad Spielberger of Over The Cap and Pro Football Focus — a friend of Acme Packing Company who once worked with the Minnesota Vikings — the net equivalent value that the Packers received in this trade ranges from the seventh overall pick to the third overall pick, depending on if the 2024 selection is a first-round draft choice or not. In all likelihood, it will be.

A few weeks ago, the potential of Green Bay only netting just a second-round pick for Rodgers, if all the conditional broke the wrong way, was very much on the table. Gutekunst bet that Johnson would blink and came up as the big winner on Monday.