Trade talks for quarterback Aaron Rodgers between the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets have moved slowly, and the hangup appears to be additional protections on future draft-pick compensation in case Rodgers retires after the 2023 season, Yahoo Sports reported on Tuesday.
Talks have centered around the Jets trading a second-round pick in the 2023 and 2024 NFL Draft for Rodgers. However, New York wants the 2024 pick to be protected by team performance escalators. The Jets also want 2025 draft compensation returned in case of Rodgers’ retirement.
The Jets’ concerns about Rodgers’ retirement are well-founded. During a March 15 interview on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers said he was leaning toward retiring before his isolation retreat in February.
“I’ve got to admit, I went into the darkness 90 percent retired (and) 10 percent playing,” Rodgers told McAfee.
Those comments, made right before committing to play for the Jets, caused trade negotiations to become more complicated.
At the NFL owners’ meetings on Monday, Jets coach Robert Saleh remained confident Rodgers would be his quarterback in 2023. General manager Joe Douglas added that the two sides had had productive conversations, but there was no sense of urgency to get a deal done.
“I’m not hitting the panic button,” Saleh said. “I’m confident that things are going to work out. You guys know me. I’m a very positive person and optimistic, so I’m confident that things will go the way we’re hoping. But at the same time, it’s not going to eat at me.”
Previous reporting indicated the Packers sought the Jets’ 2023 first-round pick (No. 13 overall). However, on Monday at the owners’ meetings, general manager Brian Gutekunst said the No. 13 pick wasn’t required in a Rodgers trade.
Comments from Rodgers’ March 15 appearance on McAfee’s show also surprised the Packers. During the interview, Rodgers said he wished the team had communicated more directly with him. However, on Monday, Gutekunst said Rodgers was the one who had been non-communicative.
“Our inability to reach him or for him to respond in any way — I think at that point … I had to do my job,” Gutekunst said. “I was really looking forward to having conversations with Aaron to see where he fit into (our future), but there came a time where we had to make some decisions.”
With Rodgers on his way out, the Packers are pivoting to Jordan Love at quarterback. Love has played in 10 games and made just one start since being drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. On Tuesday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said the team needs to “temper our expectations” regarding Love.
There’s no deadline for Rodgers to get traded, but the Jets begin offseason activities on April 17, which run through the middle of June. Still, Saleh didn’t commit to Rodgers needing to be on the roster by then.
While the Jets are remaining calm, other quarterback options like Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr have already found new homes this offseason.