Aaron Rodgers Trade Destinations

One way or another, it’s going to be a long offseason for Packers fans. If Rodgers and Adams stay, there will be a litany of contract restructuring and extensions along with a lot of hard to swallow releases. If they leave, the same thing will happen but there will be far less optimism at the end of the tunnel. Let’s focus on that part of the equation and evaluate what the Packers may get from a potential Aaron Rodgers trade.

San Francisco 49ers

Trade Assets:

  • Brandon Aiyuk
  • Trey Lance
  • Arik Armstead
  • 2nd and 3rd Round picks

There’s an easy connection here. Shanahan was in on the Stafford trade, he called about trading for Rodgers last year, and he was dissatisfied enough with Trey Lance’s practice performance that he allowed Jimmy G to lose the NFC Championship game for San Francisco. Obviously, there were more inputs into that loss, but it was close enough that a good QB probably would’ve led the 49ers to a win.

The problem here is San Francisco’s lack of trade assets. I doubt Deebo, Bosa, or Warner are on the board. I can guarantee the Packers have no interest in Jimmy G. My guess is Packers admin wants early first round picks and defensive starters or established wide receivers for Rodgers. The 49ers can do that with Arik Armstead, but I doubt the rest of those assets will mean much to Gutekunst.

As far as Trey Lance goes, he certainly has top 5 Qb potential, but the Packers aren’t going to give up on first round pick Jordan Love after one poorly game planned start.

Las Vegas Raiders

Trade Assets:

  • Derek Carr
  • Trevon Moehrig
  • Maxx Crosby
  • Clelin Ferrell
  • First round picks

The Raiders have a lot of buzz for some reason, but I don’t see it. I’m sure the Packers like those three defensive players, but, Derek Carr, really? Why on earth would the Packers commit to a several year, $40mm/year, extension for a guy whose ceiling is probably the tenth best quarterback in the league and a first-round playoff exit. No thanks.

Maybe a trade works as a three teamer. Some poorly managed team wants Carr and sends picks to Green Bay, Green Bay sends Rodgers and maybe Adams to Las Vegas, and the Raiders also send a couple players and picks to Green Bay. Even then, does Rodgers want to go to a situation where his best receiver is a 5’10” slot guy and there might not be a single pro-bowl level player on the defense? Not gonna happen.

Carolina Panthers

Trade Assets:

  • Derrick Brown
  • Brian Burns
  • Jaycee Horn
  • First round picks

I think the Panthers are the dark horse. They’ve got young defensive talent to send to Green Bay. Their owner is obsessed with procuring a plus QB. They hired a former Rodgers QB coach as OC. They’ve got young talent at WR for Rodgers to throw to. They can build up even more assets by trading McCaffrey.

So, what would the trade be? I’d guess one or two of the former first rounder defensive guys — they all have talent but didn’t perform well last season — and the sixth overall pick. That’s a lot but remember the Packers will likely tag and trade Davante Adams to whatever team Aaron Rodgers goes to. If they move Burns and Robbie Anderson and then make some other moves the Panthers could be working with $20mm of space after the trade to fix their offensive line.

This trade works well for Green Bay. Brian Burns and Rashan Gary on opposite sides of the line is terrifying for opposing offensive lines – and Mike Smith won’t let Burns run himself out of the play every third rush. If the Packers also swap Adams and Robbie Anderson as part of the trade, it starts the rebuild of the Packers receiving core with a young fast player who Gutekunst has shown interest in. That sixth overall pick will almost certainly be turned into several other high picks to potentially use on a receiver.  

Denver Broncos

Trade Assets:

  • Jerry Jeudy
  • Patrick Surtain
  • Albert Okwuegbunam
  • First round picks

The Broncos have been the most rumored destination since this whole debacle started. Like the Panthers, they’re a strong defensive team that is desperate for a QB and they hired a former Rodgers coach this offseason.

The trade would probably be a couple firsts and Jeudy plus maybe Albert O and a couple seconds. It would be fine, but really the best-case scenario is…

Green Bay Packers

Team Assets:

  • Rashan Gary
  • Jaire Alexander
  • David Bakhtiari
  • Adrian Amos
  • Kenny Clark
  • Elgton Jenkins
  • Za’Darius Smith or Preston Smith
  • Eric Stokes
  • A whole draft full of picks

All along, the best scenario for both Green Bay and Rodgers is just staying put. He knows the offense. He has chemistry with the receivers. They have a ton of potential all-pro level players. He’s lived here for 17 damn years.

Why would he go to Denver, which literally runs the same offense, has a less experienced coordinator running the same defense, and will have to sell the farm to get him? Maybe a year ago when he was pissed at the administration for not re-signing Micah Hyde or whatever, but now?

Rodgers has made a point to compliment LaFleur and Gutekunst in most of his public interviews over the past few months. He’s talked about building a relationship with the administration and appreciating the amount of input he has. Would he really throw a fit, get what he wanted, talk the whole season about how much he loves the city and team, and then ask out? That makes no sense.

On the Packers’ side, I don’t buy that there is a world where it makes sense to dump the double reigning MVP to try to use an unproven guy and hoard a bunch of draft picks like a dragon stowed away in a cave somewhere far from the playoffs.

The best case is to run it back. It will be hard. It will probably make the team bad a few years from now. But you don’t get the assets to even make a super bowl that often. We’ve had two of the top 10 QBs of all time since 1992 and we’ve been to three super bowls and won two. Kick the can down the road. Pay a special teams coordinator millions of dollars. Load up on void years and restructure everything in sight. Just give me a few more years of potential super bowls before we spend the next 20 hoping for a 10-7 season.

Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.

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