Aaron Rodgers knows what he wants. After months of consideration and reflection, the future Hall of Fame quarterback publicly announced on Wednesday that he intends to play for the NY Jets in 2023.
It was the first direct indication of Rodgers' plans, although all signs had been pointing in that direction for a while. Rodgers has made up his mind; more importantly, he's told the world what he wants.
Rodgers wants to play in 2023, and he wants to play for the Jets. In doing so, he's given his future team significantly more trade leverage than they had before.
In reality, neither the Jets nor the Packers have had much trade leverage to speak of. The Jets have no Plan B behind Rodgers, while the Packers have no choice but to trade him. Both teams need each other.
However, Rodgers' public declaration, combined with his insistence that the Packers are the ones holding up trade talks, has certainly helped the Jets gain a little extra leverage.
Why the NY Jets now have more leverage in Aaron Rodgers trade talks
It's still in the best interest of everyone involved for the trade to become official as soon as possible. The compensation is one part of the deal, but the financial ramifications are perhaps even more important.
The Jets and Packers both don't know the exact financial implications of the trade until it happens. That limits both teams' ability to make moves in free agency and solidify their rosters.
The Jets are likely to make additional roster moves to create cap space (releases and restructures), and the Packers are the same. Both teams should be motivated to get a deal done.
Some have suggested that the Packers could feasibly drag this out to late April. In theory, as long as he's not on their roster by Week 1, they won't be on the books for his roster bonus.
But this ignores the fact that the Packers would be hamstrung by his salary in the meantime. They want a chunk of his salary gone as soon as possible. While the Packers are rarely major players in free agency, they still need to fill out their roster.
On top of that, the optics of engaging in petty negotiation tactics wouldn't be very well received by those in the NFL, especially when we're talking about essentially holding the best player in franchise history hostage.
The Packers can wait and try to force the Jets to blink first, but doing so doesn't serve to benefit them. It has the exact opposite effect.
And now that Rodgers has publicly made his intentions clear, they have no alternative. He's not coming back to Green Bay, and they can't threaten the possibility of retirement. There's also no other team involved.
The only outcome for this scenario is the Packers trading Rodgers to the Jets. That's it. Just that fact alone significantly limits any leverage they may have had.
Neither the Jets nor the Packers have much leverage in what is undoubtedly an unorthodox trade negotiation, but after Wednesday, the Jets probably have the advantage.