The Denver Broncos didn’t take a quarterback early in the 2021 NFL Draft, hoping they could pull off an Aaron Rodgers trade. It now seems increasingly likely that their draft-day gamble could pay off.
When news first broke that Rodgers wanted the Green Bay Packers to trade him, the Broncos and San Francisco 49ers instantly emerged as front-runners to land the reigning NFL MVP. After the 49ers drafted Trey Lance, Denver found itself in the driver’s seat for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
On paper, the Broncos are close to being a Super Bowl contender. A busy offseason helped address needs in the secondary and with Vic Fangio still calling plays, Denver will have one of the NFL’s best defenses in 2021. Offensively, the Broncos have a solid offensive line and a young, talented cast of weapons to thrive. All that’s missing is a great quarterback.
According to NFL insider Benjamin Allbright, Denver is atop Rodgers’ wish list for preferred destinations. Furthermore, Allbright believes there’s a better than 50-50 chance a blockbuster trade happens.
Packers’ general manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed after the 2021 NFL Draft that one general manager reached out to him about a trade, but wouldn’t provide specifics
NFL Network’s James Palmer reported the Broncos started formulating a trade offer for Rodgers in Round 1, but put that on hold when Green Bay made it clear there would be no deal. With Rodgers determined to get out of Green Bay, the situation could change quickly.
Will the Packers trade Aaron Rodgers?
Rodgers, notorious for holding a grudge, remains disgruntled over Green Bay selecting Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL Draft and the franchise’s unwillingness to offer him a long-term deal. As a result, the 37-year-old wants out and that sentiment doesn’t seem to be new.
The reigning NFL MVP can skip voluntary workouts next month without issue, but not attending training camp would incur daily fines. Furthermore, if he retires or refuses to play for the Packers next season, it would cost him almost $30 million and the team would recoup significant money.
It’s the only leverage he has to play and it will likely be used. Both Gutekunst and Packers’ CEO Mark Murphy publicly stated that a trade won’t be considered. But if this saga carries over into training camp, creating distractions and making the adjustment to starting even more difficult for Love, a trade might be the best option.
The Broncos are the team everyone is watching. While John Elway isn’t running the show, new general manager George Paton wants an upgrade over Drew Lock and could make an aggressive trade offer to try and convince Green Bay.
- Green Bay Packers trade: Aaron Rodgers
- Denver Broncos trade: Courtland Sutton, 2022 first- and second-round picks, 2023 first- and third-round picks
Denver would provide Rodgers everything he is looking for in a new home. He’d move further west, the Broncos might offer him a contract extension and the supporting cast is in place to contend for a Super Bowl. As for Green Bay, a deal with Denver keeps Rodgers out of the NFC and this deal would give them pieces to help build around Love.
While no trade is imminent, it’s become increasingly clear what team is the overwhelming favorite to land Rodgers if he is moved. One thing is for certain, both the AFC and NFC would swing dramatically if a deal happens this summer.