Has four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers played his final game with the Green Bay Packers? It’s starting to look more and more like that is the case. No, Rodgers isn’t going to retire off the worst season of his career because he’s owed about $59 million in salary for the 2023 campaign. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that the franchise prefers to move on from Rodgers, just as it once did with Brett Favre, and would only send Rodgers to the AFC. Let’s take a look at this analysis for your NFL bets.
Packers Now Likely To Trade Aaron Rodgers To AFC Team
The Packers have Jordan Love waiting in the wings and could turn to him sitting behind Rodgers for three years since being a first-round pick in 2020. Rodgers didn’t reach 4,000 passing yards for the first time since 2017, when he only played in seven games. His 12 interceptions were the most since he threw 13 in 2008, and his 26:12 TD:INT ratio was the worst rate of his career.
Rodgers said last week that he is “open to all honest and direct conversations” with the Packers and that a trade “wouldn’t offend me, and it wouldn’t make me feel like a victim.” Rodgers also noted in the interview that a possible trade, at this point, is “conjecture” until he decides what he wants to do “moving forward for myself.”
Rodgers has $59.465 million guaranteed if he plays in 2023, as part of the three-year, $150 million contract extension he signed in March. It carries a salary-cap charge of $31,623,570 for next season. The contract as it currently exists makes it difficult, but not impossible, for Rodgers to be traded, in large part because the Packers would be stuck with massive amounts of dead money on their salary cap.
The Packers are projected to be about $16 million over the salary cap and once Rodgers’ option bonus is exercised, he’ll have a cap hit of $31.6 million in 2023. The deadline for that option is March 15, which is the first day of the new league year.
“There’s a lot of teams, because of COVID, that are strapped, and you’re seeing with a lot of different contracts, they’re pushing more money out in deals,” Rodgers said. “They’re creating void years to allow for an easier cap hit, so there would have to be some adjustments, for sure.”
By far the leading candidate to trade for Rodgers is the New York Jets, who have a Super Bowl-caliber defense and some terrific young skill position talent led by running back Breece Hall and receiver Garrett Wilson, an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate.
To add fuel to the fire, the Jets have hired Nathaniel Hackett as their new offensive coordinator. While Hackett was a bust in 2022 as head coach of the Broncos, before that he was the OC in Green Bay and has a good relationship with Rodgers. Like so many offensive coordinators who have failed badly as head coaches, there’s an argument to be made that the Denver debacle doesn’t account for what Hackett is. Some guys are simply meant to be coordinators. Rodgers is on record saying he thought Hackett was simply a bad fit in Denver.
Under Hackett, the Broncos averaged only 15.5 points per game, their lowest total since 1966. His brief tenure was marked by the sharp decline of quarterback Russell Wilson. Coach Robert Saleh said Hackett was a “home run” hire for the Jets. Rodgers could make it a grand slam. The Jets are “committed” to acquiring a veteran quarterback, Saleh told reporters during the press conference announcing Hackett’s hiring. Even former Jets great Joe Namath, in a radio interview, said he’d be willing to let Rodgers wear his famous No. 12, which has long been retired.
Fifteen years ago, the Jets made the biggest trade in franchise history, acquiring a legendary, late-30s quarterback from the Packers with the hope of energizing the franchise. Brett Favre led them to an 8-3 start in 2008, but he hurt his arm and the whole season fell apart. The 2023 Jets are in a similar situation.
There will be other veteran options in the quarterback market for New York, such as Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo, but Rodgers, 39, is an all-time great (career record: 139-66-1) with tremendous box-office appeal.
If you are wondering, the Packers don’t play the Jets in the 2023 regular season. Green Bay is currently +3000 to win Super Bowl 58 in February 2024 and the Jets +4000. Clearly, those both would change dramatically with a Rodgers trade.
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