Aaron Rodgers trade won’t be easy for New York Jets, Green Bay Packers – New York Jets Blog

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Aaron Rodgers wants to leave the Green Bay Packers and play for the New York Jets. The Jets will too. The Packers are willing to make a trade happen.

So what’s the wait?

It is a complex transaction, perhaps without parallel. You’re talking about an all-time great quarterback with a massive contract. These factors alone would make it difficult. That he is 39 years old and has already gone on record as strongly considering retirement last month makes it more difficult to determine a fair price. He could pass away in a year. That’s why the Jets don’t want to part with their 2023 first-round draft pick (13th overall). At the same time, the Packers don’t want to trade a franchise icon for second- and third-day draft picks.

Exploitation is in the eye of the beholder. The Jets are apparently boxed in on Rodgers because they don’t see a viable option on the roster and the quarterback market is depleted. (Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson is available but has the non-exclusive franchise tag.)

The Packers are wrapped up because they seem committed to fourth-year quarterback Jordan Love and want to move on from Rodgers. President Mark Murphy revealed the team’s hand recently, speaking of Rodgers in the past tense: “He had a great career here.”

An AFC executive called it “a unique situation” and said he expects the two sides to find common ground before the ultimatum is issued.

Let’s examine the key questions surrounding the Jets-Rodgers-Packers saga:

Is there a sense of urgency for all parties to reach an agreement?

Not really. There are no financial deadlines on the near horizon, and the Jets don’t begin their offseason program until April 17. Actual practices don’t start until late May. The mandatory mini-camp is in mid-June.

“It’s in everybody’s best interest to get it done sooner rather than later,” said former NFL executive Mike Tannenbaum, now an ESPN front office analyst. “Usually you need a deadline. Maybe the offseason program is the first deadline.”

Ideally, the Jets would love to have Rodgers in the building next month to get comfortable, to start the process of building chemistry with new teammates and to help install a new offense. At the same time, it is not doomsday if he is not there for the voluntary training sessions. After all, he already has a feel for the offense, having played under offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett with the Packers.

There is no guarantee that he will participate anyway. Rodgers, who has skipped the voluntary part of the offseason in recent years, was noncommittal on whether he would join the Jets, telling “The Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday that “it’s one step at a time. I’m still under contract [with the Packers].”

For the Jets, the benefit of getting a deal done sooner rather than later is the peace of mind just knowing their QB1 is locked up. No stress, no headache.

So when is the first real pressure point?

It’s April 27 — the first night of the draft. If it comes to that point, the Jets will have leverage because the Packers will have compensation that will help them in 2023. If the Packers have to wait until 2024 to start reaping the benefits of a trade, it could be a diminished return, assuming the Jets improve record and has a lower draft pick than 13th in 2024.

From a PR standpoint, it probably wouldn’t be a great look for the Packers. Essentially, they would leave one of the most iconic players in franchise history twisting in the wind while missing out on immediate draft capital.

In the midst of all this, they must make a decision by May 1 on Love’s fifth-year option (2024), which is $20.3 million, fully guaranteed. This is a crucial deadline. If they commit to Love for 2024, the Packers could try to float the idea that it allows them to keep Rodgers for one more year and go for Love in ’24. It would be a tough sell, considering their glowing comments about Love and Rodgers’ unwillingness to return. He made it clear in the McAfee interview that he is done with Green Bay.

Aren’t the Packers getting crushed on the cap by waiting?

Not at all. Truth be told, there is a financial benefit to waiting.

Right now, Rodgers counts $31.6 million against the salary cap. If the Packers trade him before June 1, his cap hit will balloon to $40.3 million — and they’ll have to carry it all season. If they wait until after June 1 to trade him, the cap is spread over two seasons — $15.8 million this year and $24.5 million in 2024. That would give them about $25 million in additional 2023 cap space for to improve other areas of the roster.

In other words, if this staredown drags past the draft, the Packers will have no motivation to make a trade until June 1st. And if they wait that long, what’s to stop them from delaying until the start of training camp at the end of July? It would be a blow to the Jets if they open camp without their presumptive QB1.

When is the hard, must-have-it-done deadline for a trade?

The first game of the regular season (September 10).

Under his existing contract, Rodgers has a $58.3 million option bonus (fully guaranteed) that must be exercised before the opening game. (The actual money will be distributed in two installments, the latter due by Sept. 30.) It’s hard to imagine the Packers paying that much money to a player they don’t want on the roster. If they don’t pay, the cap hit will be astronomical.

Could they swallow hard, welcome him back and pay the money? Technically, yes, but it’s hard to predict that happening.

The chances of the distance reaching this point are very unlikely. If it does, the Packers will be in dangerous leverage-less territory. And of course, Rodgers’ value to the Jets would be diminished because he would show up without training camp. This scenario would make no sense to anyone.

What is reasonable compensation for Rodgers?

Everyone seems to have an opinion.

If the Jets remain steadfast in keeping the 2023 first-round pick, the two teams will have to get creative to make it work. It could take a permanent pick (or picks) in 2023, plus a conditional pick (or picks) in 2024 or 2025. Those terms could be based on individual and team performance and whether Rodgers returns for the 2024 season.

In 2008, the Packers traded Brett Favre to the Jets for a conditional 2009 fourth-round pick that was upgraded to a third-round pick based on playing time. If the Jets had made the playoffs, it would have gone to a second round. If they had reached the Super Bowl, it would have been a first-rounder. They may be willing to do something similar for Rodgers.

Tannenbaum, who negotiated the Favre deal for the Jets, said fair compensation for Rodgers would be a second-round pick in 2023 and a conditional second- or third-round pick in 2024.

There is always a chance that players could be involved. The Packers could use a wide receiver after losing Allen Lazard to the Jets. The Packers’ Matt LaFleur coached receiver Corey Davis when they were with the Tennessee Titans. Davis could be considered expendable with Lazard’s arrival.

There’s also the thought that, instead of a first-round pick, the Packers could be asking for a player who was once ranked high on their draft board. The Jets have several players that could appeal to them. With a surplus of defensive ends, perhaps Jermaine Johnson — a late first-round pick in 2022 — would do the trick.

A key component of the discussions is the remaining money on Rodgers’ contract. In total, he has $59.5 million in guarantees for 2023, and the Jets almost certainly want the Packers to pay a portion of that. The more the Packers agree to pay, the more compensation they will receive in the form of draft picks and, possibly, players.

“I still have that fire and I want to play and I want to play in New York,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “It’s just a matter of, you know, getting it done at this point.”

ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.

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