Green Bay Packers Should Take the High Road with Rodgers Trade
Now that the cat is officially out of the bag and Aaron Rodgers has confirmed the poorly kept secret about him wanting to play for the New York Jets in 2023, the ball is in the Green Bay Packers court to get that deal done. However, there are some reports that claim the Packers are asking for more compensation than the Jets are willing to pay.
If that's true, then the Packers should do the former face of their franchise justice by lowering that asking price.
I'm not saying the Packers don't have a lot of leverage with this. They have Rodgers under contract through 2024 and the Jets lack of secrecy about their desire to have him as their QB1 this fall, combined with the possible free agent alternatives already being signed by other teams puts Green Bay in the catbird seat, especially since they have until the start of the season to trade him and avoid paying him a significant bonus.
What I am saying is, even though the Packers do have that leverage, they should just agree to whatever fair offer the Jets make them. And I say that because it wasn't Rodgers who gave up on the Green Bay Packers, it was the other way around.
Obviously, there's always going to be some he said/they said when it comes a situation like this and because of that, I'm not going to base the above opinion on Rodgers' interview. Instead, I am going to base it on one undeniable fact, after years of not using high draft picks or free agency to surround him with Super Bowl-caliber talent and instead relying on Rodgers hoist the team on his shoulders, they rewarded him by drafting his replacement, Jordan Love, in 2020.
And this isn't a situation like what happened when Rodgers was drafted when Brett Favre was still on the team. Rodgers was a projected first overall pick who dropped in their laps. Green Bay made a very deliberate effort to get Love, including trading up to draft him, even though Rodgers was still playing at a high level and was, at least publicly, committing to playing for the team for at least a few more years. He even ended up winning back-to-back MVP titles after that draft pick was used.
Everything that has happened between Rodgers and the Packers' organization since that point comes down to that slap in the face. This includes Rodgers needing extra time each offseason before committing to another year and, my personal theory, his reluctance to take a game or two off last season despite his thumb injury - something that could give the team an excuse to keep him on the bench if Love performed to expectations.
Despite the media criticism of Rodgers, and to be fair, he doesn't do himself any favors, this impending divorce is at minimum, 75% the team's fault. For the second time in team president Mark Murphy's reign, the team is parting on ugly terms with a future hall of fame quarterback. If they hope to have Rodgers enter that hall as a Packer, they should make his exit as painless as possible, even if they don't get everything they think they deserve as part of that trade.