FS1’s Craig Carton reported today on The Carton Show — alongside the likes of Mark Schlereth — that the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers have had conversations about quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Three weeks ago, Rodgers went on The Pat McAfee Show to announce that his “intention” was to play for the New York Jets in 2023. Rodgers stated that he was “90 percent sure” he was going to retire before he went on his darkness retreat to southern Oregon earlier this offseason. This was allegedly after the Packers were apparently poking around the league to see if teams were interested in the four-time MVP. According to general manager Brian Gutekunst, the organization only did so due to their “inability” to reach the quarterback leading up to free agency.
Since then, there have been grand debates of whether or not the Packers — who own Rodgers’ rights — or the Jets — who want Rodgers’ rights — have the leverage in a potential trade. According to the most recent report about compensation from Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson, the Jets are willing to part ways with a 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 second-round pick (which could turn into a first-round pick if New York reaches certain team benchmarks) if and only if the Packers would be willing to give up a conditional 2025 draft choice should Rodgers decide to retire after the 2023 season. So far, there has been no deal and the NFL draft is later this month.
According to Carton, San Francisco’s trade package involves multiple third-round picks in this upcoming draft and a first-round choice in the 2024 draft. For reference, the 49ers have three third-round picks in 2023, but no picks in the first two rounds due to trades for quarterback Trey Lance and running back Christian McCaffrey. Carton also stated, “The Jets are unaware that this third team has had conversations with the Green Bay Packers.”
The 49ers are ready to pursue Aaron Rodgers if the Packers deal with the Jets falls through says @craigcartonlive pic.twitter.com/U4a9EEZsVS— The Carton Show (@TheCartonShow) April 4, 2023
Is this a leak from the Packers organization to nudge the Jets into dropping that 2025 pick from their trade conversations? Carton doesn’t have a long history of reporting on Green Bay, so it doesn’t seem like he’s a likely source for leaks from the team. After months of the will he, won’t he, will they, won’t they drama surrounding Rodgers, though, it’s becoming hard to trust anyone who claims that they know what’s going on.
Obviously, it’s worth noting that Rodgers believed that he was going to get sent to the 49ers back on draft day in 2021, so this isn’t the first time that he’s been linked to the team. Growing up in Chico, California, Rodgers has never shied away from the fact that San Francisco was his hometown team growing up. The 49ers also have a loaded roster at the skill positions, with notable names like Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey on the squad.
A trade of Rodgers to San Francisco would take a leap of faith from at least one party involved or someone going back on their word. Would the 49ers be willing to trade for Rodgers without his commitment? Would Rodgers be willing to break his commitment to the Jets? These questions are still unanswered, as it seems more likely by the day that this never-ending drama is going to come down to the weekend of the 2023 NFL Draft.