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Who Has ‘Leverage’ in Rodgers Deal; Jets or Packers

ESPN Fantasy Football

On Wednesday, Aaron Rodgers appeared on the Pat Mcafee Show to put all the speculation about his playing career to bed. During the interview, Rodgers spoke the words every Jets fan has been waiting for since the end of the season. “My intention is to play for the New York Jets.”

Now that it is known that Rodgers wants to be traded to New York, the question arises, who has leverage in negotiations, the Jets or the Packers?

The fact is both Jets general manager Joe Douglas and Packers counterpart Brian Gutekunst believe they are operating from a position of power and are playing a game of chicken to see who flinches first.

It’s fair to assume the Packers would like the Jets first-round pick this year (13th overall), but the Jets are hesitant to deal a first-rounder for a player who may only play one year.

Packers Leverage

The worst-kept secret has been that the Jets have been infatuated with the idea of acquiring Rodgers. Now that alternative options like Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo are off the market, it’s become a Rodgers or bust scenario.

In theory, the Packers can hold onto Rodgers until September, when he is due to get $60 million, or until the Jets get desperate and match the current asking price. The Packers could benefit financially by waiting to trade Rodgers post-June 1st. Trading Rodgers, now they would be taking on a $40 million cap hit this year, but after June 1st, the cap hit would be spread out over the next two years.

Jets Leverage

If the Packers continue to hold out for greater draft compensation, they may miss out on Jets picks in this year’s draft that could be valuable contributors in 2023. Also, by waiting and trading away next year’s first-rounder, it likely will end up being lower than this year’s 13th overall selection.

The Jets organization could also sell Rodgers not being a part of the early offseason program due to familiarity with Nathaniel Hackett’s offense. Hackett was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay during Rodgers back to back MVP seasons in 2021 and 2022. Therefore, the offseason will be used teaching the rest of the offense the playbook, not so much Rodgers. 

The not-so-ideal scenario for the Jets GM Joe Douglas allows negotiations to drag on until training camp. There, the Packers would be put in a position to do one of three things.

  1. Pay Rodgers his $60 million to be the backup QB while being a distraction to the team
  2. Cut Rodgers & lose him for nothing while taking on a $40 million cap hit
  3. Trade Rodgers to the Jets for much less than he’s worth

Neither side has true leverage over the other. As much as neither would admit, the longer the negotiations are strung out, the more distracting it becomes for everyone involved. Both sides have a strong interest in a Rodgers to Jets trade. Now, it’s a matter of meeting in the middle so everyone can put it in their rearview.

All 32 NFL owners, GMs, and Head Coaches will all be together from March 26th to the 29th for the annual League Meeting that will be taking place in Phoenix, Arizona. If a deal has not been reached by then, both teams will hammer out a deal during those few days.

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