NFL trade rumors have centered around Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers for months with the reigning NFL MVP looking for a way to get out. With key dates in the NFL calendar approaching, the league is buzzing about what it might cost to land the future Hall of Famer.
Never in NFL history has the reigning MVP been traded the following offseason. But Rodgers, entering his age-37 season, wants out and is determined to force Green Bay’s hand. But as he threatens retirement, walking away after one of the best seasons in his legendary career, the Packers are doing what they can to avoid another ugly divorce with a franchise icon.
Sensing a disgruntled star wants out, rival clubs started making calls to the Packers. San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan inquired about the All-Pro quarterback before the 2021 NFL Draft and the Los Angeles Rams checked in on his availability in advance of the Matthew Stafford trade. But to this point, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst isn’t willing to entertain the thought of a league-altering trade.
But circumstances can change quickly. With the team’s mandatory minicamp approaching, Rodgers can send his first statement to the organization by holding out. If he’s committed to never playing in Green Bay again, he could stay away through training camp. There’s also the possibility that he walks away, pulling a Carson Palmer, then becomes the full-time Jeopardy! host.
With Rodgers, the Packers provide arguably the strongest threat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC and are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. If he doesn’t suit up and Jordan Love or Blake Bortles is under center the franchise is in immense trouble. So, if Rodgers sits out and the Packers are headed for a dismal season with a new quarterback, a trade could become an inevitable outcome.
Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson spoke to NFL executives about Aaron Rodgers trade value, with the focus on what kind of compensation Green Bay would receive in a deal. While a majority of the execs believe two first-round picks and additional draft capital is fair value, it seems the Packers’ asking price would be higher.
“I’ve heard that they wouldn’t consider anything less than three [firsts]. Not sure that’s realistic.”Anonymous NFL general manager on Green Bay Packers’ asking price for Aaron Rodgers, via Yahoo Sports
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Many around the NFL, from league executives to beat writers, thinks Rodgers is suiting up for the Packers in Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. The 37-year-old is known for being stuck in his ways and previous reports detailed that he is dug in on a trade.
More recently, there are signs of optimism out of Green Bay. Rodgers’ close friends and former teammates hinted that a resolution is possible, one that doesn’t involve Gutekunst being fired. Green Bay has also discussed a contract extension with Rodgers’ reps, something the MVP quarterback is seeking. Recent forecasts from those covering the team also foresee Rodgers staying.
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Both sides have some leverage to work with. Rodgers can put the franchise in a very difficult spot by sitting out. While the organization believes in Love’s potential, Gutekunst admitted he isn’t close to being ready to start. Realistically, this is a six-win team if Love or Bortles starts.
But Rodgers can also lose a lot by sitting out. Not only would he face fines for missing minicamp and training camp, but he would be required to pay the team back part of his signing bonus. If he sits out the entire season, it would cost him upwards of $30 million. While NFL careers rarely end on a player’s terms, this would be a stain on Rodgers’ legacy.
Even a trade might not provide the ending Rodgers wants. He doesn’t have a no-trade clause and as Brett Favre can attest, the Packers won’t trade their disgruntled quarterback to the team he wants. So, while Rodgers might have one team in mind, Green Bay can send him to a club with no shot at competing for the Super Bowl.
Ultimately, a resolution might be in everyone’s best interest. Rodgers has said he wants to retire as a Packer and this saga might have scared the franchise enough to give in.