On the night of the first round of the NFL Draft, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Aaron Rodgers requested a trade out of Green Bay as he had no interest in returning to the Packers in 2021. While this rocked the football world, it should not come as a surprise as this had multiple layers as to why he was unhappy in Green Bay. First, it starts with the front office not giving him any weapons at the wide receiver position in the draft. In fact, the Packers have not drafted a wide receiver in the first round since 2008 when they took Jordy Nelson. Secondly, drafting Jordan Love in the first round in 2020, which was seen as Rodgers replacement, did not sit well with Aaron. In fact, Rodgers said after that draft, “My general reaction at first was surprise, like many people. I am not going to say that I was thrilled by the pick.” You can understand why he was not thrilled by that pick because the Packers were sending a message to him saying we think you are on the decline and we are looking ahead to the future for our team. However, this did not age well because Rodgers went on to win the MVP award this past season. It also did not help the Packers case since they did not communicate at all before they made the Love pick. This also did not sit well with Rodgers as communication is big in the NFL with players. It is also worth noting that Rodgers said after the Love pick, “My desire to start and finish my career with one team, just as it has with many other players over the years, may not be a reality at this point.”
The teams that have had interest in Rodgers include the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders. The Niners reportedly already reached out to Green Bay on draft night but were quickly shot down even though Rodgers wanted them to accept the offer which would have included the third pick in the draft. Rodgers would have also wanted to end up in the Bay Area considering that he is from Northern California so he could be closer to home. The Denver Broncos as of right now are the favorites to land the reigning MVP as Denver has multiple weapons at wide receiver including Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. On top of that, they have a top defense in the league which is something that Green Bay has not had in a long time. Another team that Rodgers reportedly has interest in are the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders currently have Derek Carr on their roster at quarterback, however it would not surprise me if Jon Gruden went all in to try to get Rodgers. In fact, when Gruden was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he said, “One of the greatest regrets in his lifetime” was when he did not draft Rodgers back in 2005. Another team that has been thrown around lately are the New Orleans Saints who are currently looking for a new quarterback after Drew Brees retired. However, I do not see this happening as Green Bay does not want to trade Rodgers to another NFC team and would rather trade him to he AFC that way they would not have to play him in the playoffs at least until the Super Bowl. This is also partly why they did not trade him to San Francisco. In addition, there have been some reports that Rodgers would consider retiring to take the role as the new Jeopardy host as he hosted some episodes from April 5th-16th. However, I do not see him retiring as he still has a lot left to prove on the field.
There are two important items to keep in mind if or when trade talks start to pick up. One, Rodgers has full control over where he gets to go and secondly, a trade will most likely not take place until after June 1st because if the Packers trade him before then they will have a $37 million cap hit. Whereas, if they wait until after June 1st then the Packers will be able to spread the dead money over multiple years instead of it all being charged in 2021. While the Packers are not taking any trade calls, it might be a different story when Rodgers decides to sit out during training camp and they are left with no other choice but to trade him.