Aaron Rodgers may or may not be back with the Packers in 2022. The star quarterback has made that clear since the end of the 2021 season, and despite plenty of public insistence that he’s in good standing with Green Bay brass, recent reports indicate the reigning MVP is legitimately torn about where he wants to play. Not only that, but ProFootballTalk reported Saturday that the Packers already have prospective trades lined up with specific suitors — the Broncos, Titans and Steelers — in the event Rodgers formally requests to be moved.
A year after the Rams sent Jared Goff and three draft picks, including two first-rounders, to the Lions in exchange for Matthew Stafford, what might Denver, Pittsburgh and Tennessee have on the table for a potential Rodgers blockbuster? Here’s one look at possible packages:
Potential offer: 2022 first-round pick (No. 9), 2023 first-round pick, 2022 second-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, WR Jerry Jeudy
Why it makes sense for Broncos: Denver gives up potential early-round gambles on QB prospects for one of the best QBs already in the game. New coach Nathaniel Hackett already has a history with Rodgers. Jeudy still has lots of value as a potential WR1, but with Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant in tow as pass catchers, A-Rod wouldn’t be entering with a bare cupboard. By the time Rodgers is done (2024-2025?), they will have replenished picks to reset at QB.
Why it makes sense for Packers: Besides swallowing the hard pill of accommodating their star QB’s wishes, Green Bay gets an inexpensive 22-year-old starting receiver for a position without many long-term prospects. More importantly, the Packers add two firsts to give them four total, including at least one in the top 10, over the next two years. That, plus the Day Two picks, allows them to either add pieces around Jordan Love, re-invest at QB, or both.
Potential offer: 2022 first-round pick (No. 20), 2023 first-round pick, 2024 conditional first-round pick, 2023 third-round pick
Why it makes sense for Steelers: With no clear answers at QB after Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, the Steelers give Mike Tomlin the best passer he’s ever had, going bolder than usual to capitalize on a playoff-ready defense. Pittsburgh can still invest in mid-round QBs while Rodgers looks to return them to title contention, and the price tag isn’t necessarily as scary as it looks, with one first-rounder guaranteed to be later (2022) and the others subject to how far Rodgers takes the Steelers.
Why it makes sense for Packers: Brian Gutekunst gets a trio of first-rounders for a 38-year-old QB who could be close to retirement, giving himself three years worth of extra ammo for a big swing under center, either through the draft or the veteran market. And that’s if Jordan Love doesn’t pan out.
Potential offer: 2022 first-round pick (No. 26), 2023 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, 2022 third-round pick, QB Ryan Tannehill
Why it makes sense for Titans: Having seemingly reached the ceiling of the Tannehill-led offense, the Titans give their reigning No. 1-seeded lineup a major upgrade at the most important position, instantly boosting their title odds. They offload Tannehill’s lucrative deal — he’s due $38.6 million in 2022 — in the process. While this kicks the can down the road in terms of long-term QB help, they weren’t necessarily primed to make a premium investment until 2023 anyway.
Why it makes sense for Packers: Coach Matt LaFleur gets a ready-made, playoff-caliber placeholder at QB from his old friends in Tennessee, with the financial flexibility to move on after 2022. Not only that, but the two firsts and pair of Day Two picks allow Green Bay to either build around or plan for a reset at QB, with both Tannehill and Jordan Love under contract.