Prepare yourself. The report you're about to read was almost certainly leaked by a Green Bay Packers source in an effort to boost Aaron Rodgers' trade value. You have been warned.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported on Tuesday that the Packers might be willing to wait to trade Rodgers until the 2023 NFL Draft, a scenario the NY Jets would obviously not prefer.
Florio points out that Rodgers has a $58.3 million option bonus that can be exercised at any point between now and Week 1, meaning the Packers aren't in any particular hurry to trade their star quarterback.
On top of that, Florio notes that Rodgers is rarely present for the early phases of the offseason program anyway, so his absence wouldn't exactly be felt. Why would the Packers wait? One word: leverage.
The Packers are aware that the Jets would prefer to get a deal done as soon as possible. If they insist they're willing to wait, the Packers could force the Jets to pay a premium to facilitate a trade.
There's one problem with this theory, however. The Packers are bluffing. It absolutely doesn't benefit them to wait either.
The NY Jets and Packers should both be determined to make an Aaron Rodgers trade happen
It's no coincidence that the Jets and Packers have been two of the least active teams in free agency this offseason. That's largely a result of the ongoing stalemate with the Rodgers situation.
The Jets need to know exactly how much of Rodgers' contract they will be taking on in order to make corresponding moves (cuts, restructures, etc.). They also would like Rodgers to officially commit so that they can get to signing free agents to pair with him.
The Jets' motivation to get a deal done as soon as possible is obvious, but the Packers also have the same motivation for similar reasons.
The Packers really need clarity on what's going on with Rodgers so that they can begin to make moves in free agency. The compensation is just one part of a Rodgers trade — the financial element of it is arguably even more important.
Green Bay needs to know how much of the $59.5 million Rodgers is owed in 2023 that they are eating. That impacts various restructures the team is waiting to enact and will determine which free agents they could target.
Both the Jets and Packers are in a holding pattern until a Rodgers trade is facilitated. Sure, Green Bay theoretically can wait until the draft, but they'd be hurting their own situation by doing so.
This report reeks of the Packers just trying to gain leverage in a situation where really neither team has any. The Jets need the Packers as much as the Packers need the Jets.
For that reason, I'd expect these two teams to work out a trade as soon as it's feasible. This situation shouldn't drag out into the draft. For everyone involved's sake, let's hope that's not the case.