Super Bowl champion rumored to be backup plan if Jets’ Aaron Rodgers trade fails
The New York Jets and Green Bay Packers are reportedly continuing their talks about trading four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The 39-year-old announced last week it is his intention to play for New York.
But, as Rodgers mentioned and the situation clearly states, a trade has yet to be agreed upon. So, while Rodgers does want to play for a different team for the first time in his NFL career, it’s not yet done.
In the case the Jets can’t find common ground with the Packers, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio said New York had a possible backup plan in place well before Rodgers made his decision to return to the NFL and seek a trade.
Matthew Stafford #9 of the Los Angeles Rams throws a pass during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 6, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback Matthew Stafford had been rumored to be available via trade considering the team’s struggles last season after winning it all the year before.
While the Rams have said Stafford is a pillar of their organization and someone to build around, Florio claims that the team "would have welcomed" the idea of a trade for him, and the Jets would have been a top contender to do so.
"The Rams would have (we’re told) welcomed the opportunity to trade Stafford," Florio wrote for Pro Football Talk. "If Aaron Rodgers hadn’t decided to join the Jets, Stafford could have become the Plan B, if he would have been willing to go to New York."
Rodgers is still the Jets’ top priority, but again, there’s the chance that a trade doesn’t go through. However, ex-Philadelphia eagles team president Joe Banner told the New York Post Sunday that Rodgers does have leverage in this situation.
"For me, the Jets can wait without any risk or consequence," Banner told the paper. "The Packers, by waiting, risk that, for some reason, the Jets would not be interested, and then they have no one [to trade with], which really ruins their team for two, probably three years.
"Believing the Jets will do something that will reflect impatience is not leverage. That’s just hoping they’re stupid. Leverage is putting the Packers in a position where they could lose the only interested team, which creates a complete disaster for them."
Aaron Rodgers warms up before a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on Dec. 19, 2022. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Rodgers noted on "The Pat McAfee Show," where he announced his intention to play for the Jets, the Packers indicated to him after his darkness retreat that they wanted to move in a different direction at quarterback. Jordan Love, who Green Bay drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to eventually replace Rodgers, is likely the guy they move on to.
That being the case, Rodgers’ cap hit of $31.62 million this year is the highest number on the books. Taking him back, especially after he told the world his intentions were to play in New York, would not only be a bad look but would also hurt their financials as they aim to build around Love.
"If I’m the Jets, I’m getting him for as little as I can, and I am absolutely not putting a one at risk, no matter what," Banner said.
It’s also unknown what type of trade package it would take to land Stafford, as Los Angeles wants him back under center next season. It was a down year for him with just 2,087 yards and 10 touchdowns to eight interceptions while going 3-6 as a starter until an injury sidelined him the rest of the year.
Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after the Packers beat the Bears on Sept. 18, 2022.
The year prior, though, Stafford led the Rams to the Super Bowl with 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns in the regular season, going 12-5 in the process.
There's still time to get the Rodgers trade done, but when that will happen remains a mystery. But it's worth noting the NFL Draft is in late April, and if draft picks are being sent to Green Bay, the Jets would like that done sooner than later to make sure their draft plans are intact for that weekend.
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