Aaron Rodgers is officially starting his four-day darkness retreat on Friday. By the time that journey begins, there may not be much for him to think about.
Tuesday was an action-packed day for the Raiders and their quarterback situation. The release of Derek Carr stole the show, but there were also updates on other quarterbacks in play for Las Vegas in 2023; most notably, Aaron Rodgers.
With Brady now retired, Rodgers has leaped out as the front-runner at QB1 for the Raiders next season – by a wide margin. There’s one problem; competition is tight for Green Bay’s All-Pro signal caller. Or, is it?
As it stands, two of the top three favorites to land Rodgers this offseason are the Raiders and Jets. The third-of-three is the Packers, in a scenario where the veteran quarterback stays put. Tuesday quietly gave an update on everything.
The latest on Aaron Rodgers
The first came in the morning, when Ross Tucker gave his thoughts on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers during his podcast.
“Packers are open [to a trade] if that’s what [Rodgers] wants — That’s what the Packers want. The Packers want to trade him, and they’re hoping that Rodgers is willing to play ball,” Tucker said. “It seems abundantly clear that the Packers want to move on,” he added.
It’s important to note this wasn’t intended to be taken as a quote from Green Bay’s front office, but rather Tucker’s view on the situation. Even still, Tucker becomes the latest of many NFL personalities to be fully convinced the marriage is over.
Such a change makes a lot of sense. Firstly, Green Bay would get Rodgers’ backloaded contract off their books, automatically voiding his ’24, ’25 and ’26 years upon a trade. In these years, Rodgers’ cap hit starts at $40.7 million, rises to a jaw-dropping $59.3 million, then sinks slightly to $53.4 million. With these years now void, the Packers leave it all behind them.
The second logical reason behind trading Rodgers is the presence of Jordan Love.
With the 2022 season now wrapped up, Love is on the final year of his rookie deal – although, as a first-rounder, his contract comes with a fifth-year team-option. This means time is running out, and the organization’s window to see what the 24-year-old is capable of is closing.
Green Bay understands trading Rodgers makes sense
No one is more aware of the logic behind an Aaron Rodgers trade than Green Bay themselves. Earlier in the calendar year, while the ’22 season was still unwinding, Adam Schefter gave an update on the situation. Per Schefter, league sources fully believe(d) the Packers “prefer” to move on from Rodgers, with intentions of starting the ‘Jordan Love-era’.
On Wednesday, Colin Cowherd went on his show to give his latest take on the situation. In the midst of it, Cowherd dropped a line that went unheard by many ears.
“Green Bay would love to send him to the Raiders, I’m told, because it’s a tough division,” he stated, prior to alluding to the connection between the Packers’ and Raiders’ front offices. At the end of the segment, Cowherd concluded he believes the Silver and Black makes more sense for Rodgers than the Jets, or any other potential suitor.
For more on why this is a match made in heaven for both the Raiders and Rodgers, click here.
New names pop up in the Jets’ QB search
Although Las Vegas has remained the favorites to land Rodgers, the Jets haven’t been far behind. Like the Raiders, the Jets were thought to be all-in on Rodgers – until Tuesday, when a New York reporter expanded on the situation.
According to Connor Hughes, an NFL insider for SNY, the Jets have notable interest at QB elsewhere. “Don’t sleep on Ryan Tannehill,” Hughes notes. “There’s a feeling around the NFL that the Jets are much higher on him than some want to believe,” he adds.
The Jets hired Todd Downing as a passing-game coordinator on Monday. Downing served as the offensive coordinator as the Titans in both 2020 and 2021. working with Tannehill both years.
Raider Nation, that name might ring a bell. Downing worked with Derek Carr and the Raiders from ’15-’17, serving as the team’s quarterback coach and offensive coordinator. Now that Downing is with the Jets, you might believe Carr is a realistic option in New York. Per Hughes, you’d be right.
Beyond Tannehill, Hughes mentions that Carr is the “consolation prize” in New York, should the Jets miss out on Rodgers. Per Hughes, these backup options exist because there’s a legitimate fear Rodgers may not want to join the team. “The concern in Florham Park is that Rodgers might not want the Jets as much as the Jets want him,” he goes on to say.
The big question: Are the Jets concerned Aaron Rodgers might not want to be a Jet because he doesn’t like the team, or is there a different reason? Perhaps a deal between the Raiders and Packers for Rodgers is all but done, and New York is well aware. The answer will come when the 39-year-old emerges from his four-day darkness retreat.
*Top Photo: Benny Sieu: USA-TODAY