The Wall Street Journal had an article this week about the long-expected Green Bay Packer- New York Jet trade that will send Quarterback Aaron Rodgers to New York. Although I think all consider the trade all but certain to occur, the Journal noted that the trade details were “complicated,” citing Mr. Rodgers’ “age, his recent performance, his possible retirement and the enormous sum of money he’s due.” The Journal also opined that the Jets – although described as “utterly desperate for a quarterback,” have leverage over Green Bay “if the Packers want to recoup picks this year.” The NFL draft begins on April 27.
I’ve found a surprising unanimity of sentiment among the Packer faithful about Mr. Rodgers’ imminent departure – in sharp contrast to the rancorous split of opinion in the Packer Nation when the team decided to move on from Mr. Rodgers’ predecessor, Brett Favre. Virtually to a person, the Packer fans with whom I’ve talked credit Mr. Rodgers for his wonderful performance over these last many years; most acknowledge that technically, he was even better than Mr. Favre; they will not begrudge it if he goes to New York and wins another Super Bowl; and that he is a weird guy. A random comparison regarding relative fan affection for PGA giants Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus comes to mind: golf fans knew that the reserved Mr. Nicklaus was technically better than Mr. Palmer, but always loved Mr. Palmer more due to his classy, yet competitive, lay-it-all-out-there demeanor; Packer fans acknowledge that Mr. Rodgers, a cool Californian, was better, but will always remember Mr. Favre, a Wisconsin kind of guy – and notwithstanding his peccadillos since leaving the team – more fondly.
That said, if I were Packer General Manager Brian Gutekunst, I would wait the Jets out. If the Jets do have, as the Journal stated in its piece, “a playoff caliber roster – except for the huge void at quarterback,” it is they who have to win now. They should provide the Packers two first round picks for Mr. Rodgers, although such might not happen until after the draft. Mr. Rodgers – like legends John Elway and Peyton Manning who won Super Bowls late in their careers – is no longer capable of carrying a team on his back every week, but certainly retains the skill to dominate a few games during a season when his team finds nothing else is working.
As for the Packers, although they seem very likely to complete the trade before the draft in the win-now culture of the NFL (indeed, the trade may be announced as I post this 😉 ), I don’t think they should. Mr. Gutekunst presumably believed when he drafted Utah State Quarterback Jordan Love in 2020 that Mr. Love had the right stuff to follow in the tradition of Messrs. Favre and Rodgers. Mr. Love may be the finest man in the world, but all current indications are that in drafting him, Mr. Gutekunst whiffed, completely whiffed. (If you need evidence: the team wouldn’t have paid Mr. Rodgers $50 million last season if it considered Mr. Love, even after having had two years in Green Bay, to have been remotely ready to start.) The issue at this point seems not to be whether Green Bay is destined to revisit the NFL hinterland, but how best to make its return as brief as possible. If Mr. Gutekunst could secure 2024 and 2025 first round picks from the Jets for Mr. Rodgers after the draft, the stockpile of first round picks will serve Green Bay well as it builds for the future. Even if Mr. Love plays well, this is probably a lost year for the Green and Gold; they have a lot of gaps, and recall that neither Mr. Favre nor Mr. Rodgers made the playoffs in their respective first years as starter. That said, it is the extremely rare team that can win a Super Bowl in this era without an elite quarterback, so if Mr. Love doesn’t play well, those picks could could be packaged to move up in the 2024 draft for Mr. Gutekunst to try, try again. (If he whiffs again, he won’t be around for a third try.)
‘Nuff said. As always, fun to take a break from the ongoing domestic and global issues which we face.
4 thoughts on “On Aaron Rodgers’ Transition”
To say that Rodgers is an enigma only begins to tell his story of his extraordinary talent in these late years of his amazing career and his sometimes bizarre personality. So what do the Jets reasonably expect from him that would warrant two first rounders? I don’t know but I think it’s as likely as any scenario that he will MVP again and promptly retire. That ought to be enough but I’m not sure who thinks so but me.
Hey, Dan! I agree with the potential for an MVP scenario — and if the Jets are as good as the pundits seem to think, a Rodgers MVP gives them a true shot at the title. That should warrant two first rounders :). Stay well!
The Jets are crazy if they send the Packers one, let alone two first rounders for Rodgers. He is a future Hall of Famer? Absolutely. But he has become a pain in the ass, with all his whining and demanding and inner analysis bullshit. Plus there is no guarantee he will play for more than one year and, except when he plays the Bears, is not performing at the levels he used to. Plus his exorbitant salary creates huge salary cap issues…ask what’s his name, Devonte Adams. If Rodgers was worth two first rounders, there are 8 NFL teams in desperate need of a QB. I don’t see any of them fighting to make the Packers an offer.
LOL. A friend and more rabid Packer backer than I am commented before you [I think I’ll die without knowing whether anybody but me can see the comments I get 😉 ] that he thought Rodgers might have another MVP left in him — as do I — so there is certainly room for disagreement :). We’ll see what happens. At his age and salary, is Rodgers worth two first round picks for any team that doesn’t believe that with the right QB, it would be one of the top favorites to win the Super Bowl THIS YEAR? Clearly not. If the Jets believe they have all the other pieces to go all the way, I think he would be. It depends upon how much confidence they have that all the other pieces are in place (that’s a BIG assessment for a team that has won so little for so long). Is there a team that wouldn’t give 2 first rounders to win a Super Bowl? I think they would.
Hope retirement is treating you well!