The Green Bay Packers believe a trade concerning superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers is ‘very real’ with five franchises reportedly in the mix to make the blockbuster move.
In the final round of the regular season, the Packers welcomed the Detroit Lions to Lambeau Field knowing that a win over their NFC North rivals would ensure safe passage to the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs. However, the Lions - who had nothing but pride to play for - overcame Rodgers and the Packers as they secured a stunning 20-16 victory to eliminate the home side.
Rodgers finished the season with 12 interceptions - the most he threw in a single campaign since 2008, his first year as a starter - while he also failed to post a single 300-yard passing game for the first time in his career. The 39-year-old signed a monster new contract last offseason and is weighing up his options as he could either return to the iconic franchise, join a new team or retire from the NFL entirely.
Rodgers fuelled retirement speculation with non-committal answers in the post-game press conference after the heart-wrenching loss to the Lions, but there is a growing belief around the league that the four-time MVP could be traded to a new team. The veteran quarterback - who was drafted in 2005 before assuming the starting role from Brett Favre in 2008 - has refused to rule out joining a new franchise this offseason.
Neither the Packers or Rodgers are expected to make a final decision soon, but the team would not rule out trading him in the offseason. On Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter declared the Packers would indeed consider a trade if another team can afford Rodgers’ substantial salary.
“Make no mistake: Both sides are fully aware that a trade is a very real scenario this offseason for Aaron Rodgers,” Schefter said. “The Packers are expected to move on from certain players, which Aaron Rodgers probably will not like.
“The issue here will be the $110million left on his contract, and which team could afford it. But there is a real possibility that at some point this offseason, Aaron Rodgers is going to be traded.”
After Rodgers claimed his second successive MVP award in 2021, he signed a contract extension which made him the highest paid player in North American sports history on an annual basis. He will earn $50.27 million per year through the 2026 season, when he will be 43 years of age.
While general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have publicly stated they hope Rodgers will return for 2023, there are reportedly five franchises which could be interested in a trade that would see Rodgers leave the Packers after an 18-year stay. These include the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Las Vegas Raiders, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans.
The Titans appear to be an attractive destination, given their impressive form in recent seasons with star running back Derrick Henry excelling under head coach Mike Vrabel. New England Patriots star safety McCourty believes seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady could link up with his former teammate Vrabel in Tennessee.