With Aaron Rodgers confirming on Wednesday that he wants to play for the New York Jets in 2023, you might be wondering why a trade hasn't happened yet, and apparently, you can blame the Green Bay Packers for that.
For most of the past week, the assumption was that Rodgers was holding up the trade process, but as it turns out, it's actually Green Bay, at least that's what Rodgers had to say during his Wednesday interview on "The Pat McAfee Show."
"I haven't been holding anything up at this point," Rodgers said. "It's been the compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me and kind of digging their heels in."
At this point, it's not completely clear what the Packers want in return for Rodgers, but based on multiple reports, it seems that they're looking for at least two draft picks with one of those being a first-rounder. Basically, the big holdup here is that the two sides can't agree on what the compensation should be for Rodgers.
If you're the Jets, the problem with giving up a potential first-round pick is that they have no idea how much longer Rodgers will be playing. If he goes to New York and retires after one season, then the Jets will feel fleeced if they give up a first-rounder.
On the other hand, the Jets have almost no leverage here. The Packers know that the Jets are all in on Rodgers, so they can basically tell New York, "Pay our asking price or we're not going to trade him any time soon."
Yes, the Packers will eventually trade Rodgers no matter what, but they could conceivably milk this thing out until August if they wanted. The Packers are in no hurry to trade Rodgers and from a salary cap standpoint, it would actually be beneficial to Green Bay to trade Rodgers AFTER June 1. When the Packers trade Rodgers, they're going to take a $40.3 million dead cap hit, but if the trade comes after June 1, then that hit will be split over two seasons with $15.8 million coming in 2023 and $24.5 million in 2024 (Numbers via OvertheCap).
So what should the two sides do? I went ahead and saved them both a lot of time by coming up with the perfect trade package.
Let's take a look:
- Jets get: Aaron Rodgers.
- Packers get: 2024 conditional second-round pick, 2025 conditional fourth-round pick.
On the surface, Packers fans might hate this deal, but the conditions will definitely make it better for Green Bay.
So what are the conditions here?
- 2024 conditional second-round pick. If the Jets make the playoffs in 2023 and Rodgers plays at least 50% of the offensive snaps during the season, then the 2024 conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round pick. The Jets have the NFL's longest active drought without a playoff berth -- they haven't been to the postseason since 2010 -- and if Rodgers ends that, then New York should be more than happy to surrender a first-rounder. The other upside for the Jets here is that if they make the playoffs, that means in the worst-case scenario, they'll only be giving up the 19th overall pick.
- 2025 conditional fourth-round pick. As for the 2025 conditional pick, this one is a little more complicated. If Rodgers decides to retire and doesn't play in 2024, then this stays a fourth-round pick. If Rodgers plays in 2024 and the Jets make the divisional round, this becomes a third-round pick. If they make the conference title game, it becomes a second-round pick and if they make the Super Bowl, it becomes a first-round pick.
In this situation, the Jets could end up surrendering two first-round picks, but if that happens, no one in New York would care because it would mean the Jets would be back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1968.
For the Packers, they're getting two picks no matter what and the fact that they'll get a first-round pick if the Jets make the playoffs in 2023 should be enough to get them to pull the trigger.
There is precedent for the two sides to trade a conditional pick. As a matter of fact, that's exactly what happened when the Packers traded Brett Favre to the Jets in 2008. Fifteen years ago, the deal was for a fourth-round pick that became a third-rounder if Favre took 50% of the snaps. If Favre got the Jets to the playoffs -- and played 70% of the snaps -- it became a second-round pick. If Favre got the Jets to the Super Bowl, it became a first-round pick.
In the end, the Packers got a third-round pick out of the deal. Both sides seemed happy with that deal back in 2008 and it feels like making another deal involving conditional picks is once again the way to go.