When NFL fans got out of bed the morning of Thursday, April 29, they had their eyes on the upcoming draft and were prepared for something wild and crazy to take place. As it turns out, that expectation has now morphed into something galactic, with news of contention between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers -- a relationship that is reportedly become so toxic . Several additional reports have since flooded in that either confirm the likelihood of a possible trade during the draft, and others that note there is zero chance it happens, but it's clear which of those two sides Patrick Mahomes lands on.
The former league and Super Bowl MVP reacted immediately to what's going on in Wisconsin, predicting an even more unpredictable 2021 NFL Draft than any could've foreseen prior to Thursday afternoon's bombshell.
"Well i see draft weekend is going to be pretty interesting," he wrote on Twitter, along with two crying-laughing face emojis.
You can bet the Packers aren't laughing, though, now shoved between a rock and a hard place. Their decision is now to either call Rodgers' bluff and potentially be left with nothing but an inexperienced Jordan Love at QB this coming season, or to ship the future Hall of Famer away in exchange for what would undoubtedly be trade package heavy enough to split the planet in two. And with rumors surfacing of Rodgers' alleged interest in the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders -- per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk -- there is now much to discuss within those organizations as well before going on the clock with the third-, ninth- and 17th-overall picks, respectively.
There's a rumor floating about that the Niners have already attempted to throw the kitchen sink at the Packers, but were turned down, and only weeks after paying a premium to the Miami Dolphins to move up into the No. 3 spot for a quarterback. A package that includes much of (if not all) they received from the Dolphins plus Jimmy Garoppolo and more (much more), could possibly be of interest now that the cat is out of the proverbial bag in Green Bay. For while they might've waved off the Niners interest initially, that was before San Francisco and the rest of the free world caught wind of Rodgers' refusal to return to the Packers.
Should the Packers strike a deal with the 49ers, they'd walk away with the No. 3 pick (at minimum) and possibly Garoppolo, but even without the latter, they'd be in position to grab someone like Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones -- essentially and instantly landing their QB of the future and competition for Love in the event he doesn't pan out.
As for the Raiders, their resolve in defending the potential of Derek Carr is again on the irons, and in the same offseason in which they opted to not give it a go at trying to pry away Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks after Wilson also named them one of his four preferred trade destinations. If they view Rodgers as better than Wilson, it's not inconceivable they'd consider offering up Carr in a package that includes their first-round pick and lots more, but they sit at No. 17 and that's far less attractive than No. 3. It doesn't mean the Raiders couldn't add future firsts and another premium player or two to sweeten the deal, however, knowing they'd be up against the Niners and Broncos.
And speaking of Denver, they are not out of the QB race in this year's draft even after trading to acquire Teddy Bridgewater from the Carolina Panthers. Bridgewater is expected to receive an amendment to his contract that makes him an unrestricted free agent in 2022, and the verdict remains out on if Drew Lock is the face of the franchise (hence the trade for Bridgewater). That said, if a player like Lance, Fields or Jones falls to No. 9, they could very well pull the trigger, or they could dangle that probability in the face of the Packers to land Rodgers -- guaranteeing they walk away with a top QB prospect and aren't left holding the bag at the position.
Will other teams around the league give it a go as well? Likely yes, and another intriguing option would be Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, who desperately need a QB of the future and are looking to possibly trade up from No. 15 to land one. As savvy as Belichick and Kraft are, and as much as they value experience in a QB, don't rule Rodgers out of any discussions in Foxborough until further notice.
Whatever happens or doesn't happen with Rodgers, as Mahomes noted, draft weekend just got a lot more "interesting." The question of which incoming rookie QB lands where just got a gargantuan plot twist, thanks to the Packers inability to appease one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and of all-time.