NFL

2024 Aaron Rodgers isn’t the Packers’ 2025 problem

Last week, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported that the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets “aren’t far apart” on a trade of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but the catch is a potential 2025 conditional draft pick that the Packers would have to send to the Jets if Rodgers doesn’t suit up in 2024. In Robinson’s proposed trade, the Jets would give up a 2023 second-round draft choice and a 2024 pick that would be a baseline second-round draft choice and could kick up to a first-rounder if New York hosts a divisional playoff game and/or wins the division.

If Rodgers didn’t play in 2024, though, what are the Jets going to ask for? That second-round pick back in 2025? Do they know who Aaron Rodgers is?

On The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers stated that he was 90 percent sure that he was going to retire heading into his darkness retreat. Last week, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst claimed that he only started looking at options of where to send the quarterback after the team’s “inability to reach” him this offseason leading up to Rodgers’ darkness retreat. Rodgers didn’t show up last season to break in new receivers for the Packers, as he was seemingly too busy with his summer vacation in California, and probably won’t be there for anything voluntary in New York, either. This is after threatening to retire for three straight off-seasons.

Aaron Rodgers is a flight risk. He always has been. That’s why he is available. Why is this just now the Packers’ problem in the trade negotiations?

From the outside looking it, it feels like offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett — who previously coached in Green Bay — vouched for Rodgers, and Jets owner Woody Johnson became enamored with a shiny new toy. They didn’t have a plan for how to land Rodgers. Two powerful people in the organization simply wanted him and seemingly sold the quarterback on the idea that they can get the trade done. Now general manager Joe Douglas is trying to protect himself and his future draft picks, weeks after the last few viable free agent starting quarterbacks have already signed to other squads. In a week, who knows if New York will even be in a position to trade up for one of the four first-round quarterbacks in this draft, as the Arizona Cardinals are the only team in the top four who don’t have a quarterback need and could trade down — as we’ve seen much more commonly as a pre-draft move in recent years.

I love the idea of trading Rodgers for a pick that moves in a positive direction for the Packers with his success in New York. Packers fans can keep an eye on him for another year in a way that benefits their team and no one has to feel bitter about him in a different shade of green.

What’s insane to me is to ask for a pick for two years in the future — presumably a top-100 selection, too, if it’s holding up the deal — if a quarterback doesn’t return for his 40-year-old season in the NFL. Hackett, Johnson and Douglas, listen closely: Rodgers’ age and uncertainty about the future of his career are why he’s available. It’s why a four-time former NFL MVP could be traded for just two second-round picks, compared to the hauls that Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford brought for their original teams. It’s already baked into the price. Did they never think to consider that?

If we had truth serum to hand out, the number one thing I would like an answer to from the Jets organization right now is: “Who was the Rodgers you thought you were meeting in Malibu and has anything changed since then to make you doubt his commitment to football?” Despite the Jets being backed up into a corner at the quarterback position, they now want protections in case this shotgun marriage doesn’t play out the way they hope. Gutekunst is not new to Rodgers’ wishy-washy ways, which is probably why he’s hanging onto that 2025 draft choice for dear life. The staredown persists.

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