Draft week started off with a bang, as Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets finally announced a blockbuster trade that sent star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Jets in exchange for a package of draft picks. Now everyone has an opinion about who won the Rodgers trade. While the overall terms of trade were certainly a surprise, there are reasons to believe that both teams may have come out as winners. Here’s why:
The Packers won:
While losing a first ballot hall of fame player like Rodgers is never easy, the Packers did receive a package of draft picks to help them build for the future quickly. The Jets swapped first-round picks with the Packers (GB moving from 15 to 13), one of their second-round picks in 2023, as well as a potential first round pick in 2024.
These picks are particularly valuable, as they will give the Packers the opportunity to add premiere young talent to their roster as soon as this week. This is especially important given the team’s aging core of players and the need to start thinking about the future. Green Bay needs talent that is affordable and contractually controllable. The Packers now have additional resources to acquire that talent and determine if Jordan Love is next in line to be a franchise quarterback.
In addition to the draft picks, the Packers also received the relief of getting rid of Aaron Rodgers’ contract. The contract, barely a year old, was going to drown the Packers and annihilate their salary cap for years to come. After the trade, the Packers will have the contract fully off their books after this season. This trade is one of the first steps which will allow the Packers to start righting the financial ship.
The final reason why the Packers likely feel like they won is that the conditions attached to the 2024 first round pick are extremely achievable. Rodgers only needs to play 65% of snaps for the pick to transfer to the Packers, a number that he will easily hit, if healthy. The coup for Green Bay is that the pick is not tied to the Jets’ 2023 performance.
The Jets won:
The Jets have been in desperate need of a franchise quarterback for many years, and landing Aaron Rodgers instantly changes the trajectory of their franchise in 2023. Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he brings a level of experience and leadership that the Jets have been sorely lacking. He should be a game-changer for their offense and help them compete for a championship this season.
In addition to Rodgers’ impact on the field, his presence could also have a positive effect on the team’s culture. The Jets have struggled with dysfunction and lack of leadership in recent years, but Rodgers’ strong personality and work ethic could help change that. He will demand excellence from his teammates and could help create a winning culture in New York.
The Jets may also feel that they came out as winners because they didn’t have to sell off their draft picks this year in order to pull off the trade. They still have 2 top 50 picks to add more talent to an already talented roster. While giving the conditional first round pick in 2024 likely stings, if they make a championship run nobody in the Jets facilities will be losing any sleep over it.
While the actual trade of Aaron Rodgers to the Jets was not a surprise, there are reasons to believe that both teams may have come out as winners. The Jets landed a franchise quarterback who could help them compete for a championship this season, while the Packers received a package of draft picks and salary cap relief to build for the future. Only time will tell how the trade will ultimately impact both teams, but for now, it’s clear that both the Jets and the Packers have reason to be optimistic about the future.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.