NFL Free Agency is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, since every morning seems to feature the same exact news: that Aaron Rodgers wants to leave the Green Bay Packers to go play for the New York Jets.
Heck, he’s already demanded behind the scenes that New York sign his good pals from GB, Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard, to an already crowded Jets receiver room. Those signings by New York only confirmed rumors that have floated around for weeks that another A-Rod wants to call the Big Apple home. Then, this week he flat-out demanded that the Packers trade him to the Jets.
To the NFL world, this is a done deal — except, in reality, a deal is far from being made, since the Packers are reportedly ready to be sticklers in trade negotiations. Per NBC Sports, Green Bay wants a strong haul of draft picks in exchange for a recent back-to-back MVP. Here’s what they outlined as some of GB’s demands:
“Per multiple sources, the Packers want a first-round pick and more from the Jets for Rodgers. The Packers want more than a first-round pick as part of the base deal. They want protection in 2025, in the event Rodgers plays in 2024. And that’s more than the Jets believe they should surrender for a player the Packers no longer want.
“If the Jets are willing to offer something like a conditional package that would entail as much as a second-round pick this year and up to a second-round pick next year, the Packers would be nuts to not take it.”
Does Green Bay have the leverage here?
Hold on, NBC seems to suggest that Green Bay has little negotiating power here because neither Rodgers nor the Packers want anything to do with each other anymore, and the only team he’s willing to play for is New York. But maybe it’s actually Green Bay with all the leverage. Let’s address it.
The Jets already met his demands and are loading up in free agency without another semi-decent quarterback option. They’ve hitched their wagon to a guy that’s not even on the team yet! They have everything to lose and Green Bay has very little to lose. Sure, the Packers would love to get a huge haul of picks for Rodgers, but they have the bargaining power to wait NYJ out until that haul comes.
If the Jets try to low-ball Green Bay, they may just eat the Rodgers deal or let him retire — and they’d still be in the same position as if they traded him: likely tanking in 2023-24 and heading towards a complete rebuild.
This is one of the great quarterbacks of his generation we’re talking about here. Even at his ripe old age, Rodgers is worth several first-rounders. Green Bay would be foolish to accept a small offer just because Rodgers refuses to go anywhere other than New York. In fact, that stubbornness should work in their favor, since they have the Jets cornered. New York is building to win now and none of it matters if the Rodgers deal falls through. Meanwhile, the Packers are ready to rebuild whether they grab a few extra picks from New York or not.
Green Bay ought to swing for the fences, the boatload of picks and assets from NYJ. Don’t let them escape with a bargain on Rodgers, at least that seems to be the shrewd play.