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Zwiller: The (no longer) jolly Rodgers

| Monday, May 10, 2021

There are not a whole lot of things that can overshadow the NFL draft. However, Aaron Rodgers sure did get close to doing just that. ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported that Rodgers is “so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team.”

This didn’t come out of anywhere. Ever since the Packers drafted Jordan Love — not just drafting but trading up to do so — the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers has been strained. After head coach Matthew LaFleur made the controversial choice to kick an FG instead of going for it on a fourth and goal, people had speculated Rodgers’ potential departure. But those were only speculations, until last Thursday.

When the news broke, people assumed that the report would impact the draft. Indeed, the 49ers made an offer to the Packers, which included the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, but the Packers declined. In hindsight, this makes sense. If Rodgers were to be traded, it would have been a cap hit of $38.3 million. According to Over the Cap, if Rodgers is traded after June 1, that hit would decline to $21 million this year and add more of a blow to next year.

First things first: I took these trade ideas from a Bill Barnwell ESPN+ article about potential trades. I’m grading them based on my own evaluation system to grade these trades and try to figure out which package is best for the Packers.

Secondly, it is important to note two things. Draft picks will be a lot less meaningful, as we are a year away from the next draft, and they should be low picks. Second, the deal needs to come with a QB; the whole crux of this issue is that Love isn’t ready to be a starter in the NFL.

Titans:

Send Tannehill, 2022 1st Round, 2023 1st Round

Receive Rodgers 2023 4th Round.

My player system values Rodgers at 287 points, second to just Patrick Mahomes, who was 288. So, he’s not easily replaced. However, Titans QB Ryan Tannehill is a good start: he’s valued at 219 points. This is the highest valued player the Packers are offered, and I think besides Carr, he is the best fit scheme-wise that the Packers can get. In addition, if I’m honest, I don’t get why the Packers would be sending the 4th to the Titans; Rodgers is more than enough.

Raiders:

Send QB Carr 2022 1st, and 2nd Round picks 2023 1st

Receive Rodgers, and a 2023 4th Round Pick.

As I said earlier, Tannehill was the best QB on this list, but close behind is Carr at 204 points — still quite good. Carr is also younger than Tannehill and cheaper and becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent sooner than Tannehill, which allows the Packers to move on from him sooner.

Browns:

Send QB Mayfield, TE David Njoku, 2022 and 2023 1st Round Picks

Receive Rodgers and CB Josh Jackson.

This is one I have mixed feelings about. Of course, the picks have the same problem as all of them; they will be low picks, without a doubt. And my system values Baker Mayfield at 136: Not the worst QB on here but certainly not the best. He is currently cheap, and there is a case to be made that he could develop into the Packer’s QB of the future; I think he could do well with LaFleur. I like adding Njoku (even if he is valued only at 18, which is OK for skill positions) as it helps the Packer’s offense. The Browns certainly won’t miss him if they get Rodgers: That offense with a solid run game and weapons aplenty certainly would be terrifying.

Giants:

Send Two 2022 1st Round Picks, 2023 1st, WR Darius Slayton

Receive Rodgers.

I think this is my least favorite of them all. Slayton, by my estimation, isn’t worth a ton, just 30 points. The main problem is that apart from Slayton, the Packers don’t get a QB in return. I don’t think the Packers particularly want Daniel Jones, but they also don’t want to start Jordan Love so soon, so I think they would take him to let Love develop off to the side. I also don’t believe that this trade makes the Giants a Super Bowl contender, something that the rest of these trades do boast.

Miami:

Send 2022 2023 First Rounders, 2023 5th to Packers, Tua Tagovailoa to the Steelers.

Steelers send to Packers 2022 first, Miami receives Rodgers, 2023 fourth Round pick from the Packers

I lied before; this is the worst package. I do like the number of picks the Packers get back, but they get no immediate help in return. They need to receive a QB to make the trade viable because it is evident that Jordan Love isn’t field-ready. As much as I like the idea of Rodgers in Miami, I simply don’t see a trade that works for the Packers.

WFT:

Send 2022 and 2023 First Round and Second Round Picks, QB Fitzpatrick DL Matt Ioannidis

Receive Rodgers

This feels weird to say, but this might be the one I buy into. Fitzmagic had a better statistical performance than Baker Mayfield and Fitzmagic would be the cheaper option. Even better, Fitzmagic would be an unrestricted free agent the following season, which would allow the Packers to let Jordan Love be their starter. Matt Ioannidis is an excellent addition to the Packers D-Line, valued at 47 points suitable for a defensive piece.

Broncos:

Send CB Patrick Surtain Wr Tim Patrick QB Drew Lock 2022 & 2023 Firsts

Receive Rodgers and CB Eric Stokes

I know Bill Barnwell said that this was the most exciting offer the Packers can get, but I’m a little more cynical. I like the CB swap for the Packers. Tim Patrick being valued at 52 points is good. But the sticking point is Lock. I don’t think he is going to be good in the future: this season proved that. Instead, why not send Teddy Bridgewater (185) and let the Broncos retain Lock as their cheap backup option. It would allow them to continue to cultivate Lock while allowing Rodgers to be the mile-high star. Neither Teddy nor Lock are franchise pieces, but I would argue that Teddy fits what the Packers need more while Lock is essentially Jordan Love to me.

So, as weird as it might be to say, I like the Washington Football Team deal the best. It gives Washington a stellar offense to go with a rising defense. It also provides the Packers a short-term but competitive QB. Rodgers may remain in-conference, but the picks help to make up for that.

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About Thomas Zwiller

Thomas is a freshman currently in attendance at Holy Cross College, and is a communications and business major. He is from Saint Joseph MI, and went to high school at Saint Joseph High School SB, playing both varsity football and hockey. Please feel free to contact him about all things NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, particularly if you're a stathead.

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