We’re less than a week from the NFL Draft. More than a month since Aaron Rodgers all but broke the internet with his assurance that his “intention” is to play in 2023 for the New York Jets. When every Jets fan from Mike Greenberg to my Facebook friends all but clearing room in Florham Park for the Vince Lombardi Trophy because, sure, a 39-year-old malcontent who led his Green Bay team to a sub .500 record in 2022 is the last missing piece to taking over a conference already populated by Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow and Josh Allen, and will be able to knock out a $255 million quarterback of the defending NFC champions in Super Bowl 57.
And yet, here we are, a day after 4/20, and these kinds of updates flooded alerts yesterday. Such as Yahoo’s Kyle Madsen:
It appears the 49ers are ready to let go of quarterback Trey Lance. At least, that’s what Ian Rapoport’s report on the team fielding calls about the QB would indicate.
Rapoport’s report from “sources,” specified it was the 49ers receiving calls, not placing them. That would appear to be something coming directly from San Francisco. They’re letting teams know publicly that they’re open for business on the 2021 No. 3 overall pick.
General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan always say they’ll listen on any player. This is different though. This isn’t a team calling them about Deebo Samuel’s trade request. This is San Francisco trying to drum up interest in its talented, young signal caller with just four NFL starts under his belt.
And these aggregations from Heavy.com:
The Green Bay Packers appear to be in no rush to trade star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, and if a deal doesn’t get done before the 2023 NFL Draft, there are plenty of teams that could be interested in swooping in for a blockbuster deal.
With less than a week until the draft, both sides continue to be dug in on trade negotiations, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter sharing that there’s a very real possibility that negotiations drag on past the three-day event. That would mean that the Packers would have to wait until 2024 and beyond to take advantage of any draft assets they received in a potential trade.
The Packers are currently asking for a second-round pick this year and a first-round pick in 2024. However, Jets owner Woody Johnson has gotten cold feet after Rodgers shared on The Pat McAfee Show that he was leaning towards retirement this offseason.
If the Packers are more interested in getting draft picks immediately for the Jordan Love era, a handful of teams would make sense. Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon shared a list of four teams that could take advantage of the situation and make a move for Rodgers, citing the 49ers, Lions, Titans, and Commanders as potential landing spots for the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer.
Gagnon provided a couple of surprise teams when talking about potential landing spots for Rodgers, but the other two have already been discussed in rumors heading into this year’s draft.
The 49ers are the most obvious non-Jets contender for Rodgers, who grew up rooting for the team having grown up near the Bay Area. FS1’s Craig Carthon shared that the 49ers are ready to pursue Rodgers if a deal falls through, apparently being willing to offer multiple third-round picks this year along with a first-round pick in 2024.
Speculation has reached a fever pitch between Rodgers and the 49ers now that multiple teams have inquired about trading for San Francisco’s young quarterback in Trey Lance. With Lance possibly on the move and Brock Purdy recovering from an elbow injury, that leaves the 49ers with Sam Darnold as the likely Week 1 starter. For a team that’s built to win a Super Bowl right now, taking a big swing on Rodgers would make a lot of sense.
Woody Johnson has apparently spent enough time in TrumpWorld believing in false narratives and alleged leverage. Those draft picks are clearly valuable, especially considering how well the Jets did do in addressing other positions to build out a somewhat more competitive team in 2022 vs. the prior two seasons. But thinking that this those are reasons to play chicken with a Packers team that is clearly trolling the Jets at this point is perhaps as delusional as anything else he may have picked up during his sabbatical.
There is a bold move that remains that the Jets have somehow chosen to steer clear of, one that would give them far greater upside and long-term opportunities. One that might indeed be worth those draft picks.
Because not only is Aaron Rodgers currently still a Packer, Lamar Jackson is still currently a Raven.
And as that storyline swirls and stagnates, with the whole heat of the imminent Colts deal on hold, the emotional rumors of Beltway fans that somehow the newly sold Commanders might be able to keep him in the area, and indeed reports of the Ravens perhaps just digging in their own heels and trying to find a way to convince him to stay apart from his insistence on being paid as well as that Super Bowl quarterback in Philadelphia, if not the alleged assaulter in Cleveland, Johnson does have leverage.
He, and a great deal of the Jets’ fan base, simply remain too cheap and stubborn to even entertain it.
Sure, the price and the risk on Jackson would be steep. But a 26-year-old with money as motivation, not to mention the potential the New York market could offer, offers quite a bit of runway. From my purview, I’d rather invest in that drama than take a bite on Rodgers, particularly given the Packers’ resentment of how this process has unfolded, and their utter disdain for Johnson’s pettiness. A fresh start with Baltimore, with Joe Douglas given ammunition and money, could be a way for this fight to be fair.
The Packers still have Jordan Love, and if they truly do believe they need an option, Lance could indeed be viable. He’s big, he’s played in the climate in college (North Dakota State), and perhaps with his own fresh start and with youth on his side, he could, if nothing else, provide some juj to push Love to mature quicker. They are not as desperate as the Jets.
Because, so help you, Jets fans, if somehow Johnson blows this–and it appears that the chances of that have grown greatly in the last five weeks–and Jackson goes off the table, here’s what your team’s options are:
Oh, and perhaps, someone who might be released by the 49ers if they were to bring Rodgers in.
Sure, the Jets could conceivably find a way into this year’s draft’s bumper crop of quarterbacks. But were that to have been a real possibility, by now something would have emerged even as rumor.
I just can’t help but fear that no one in Florham Park has even given that a thought.
And the way it appears to be unfolding, it may be more than a summertime love-in for Rodgers in San Francisco. And the flowers in his hair won’t be the dandelions that will be growing in New Jersey this fall if the Jets wind up blowing this.
Forget the Alex Smith imagery at the left. Focus on the one on the right.
A week from now, it’s entirely possible you may wake up to it.
In which case, I sure hope you’ve saved a few herbs from yesterday.
If not, I hear there’s plenty of good places in San Francisco that can sell you some.