Where will Aaron Rodgers play in 2023?

Where will Aaron Rodgers play in 2023?

Fantasy football player analysis tips and advice

Where will Aaron Rodgers play in 2023?


Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was granted permission to speak with the New York Jets regarding a trade earlier in the week, and now we play the waiting game as his future is shrouded in mystery. If he says yes, there is no doubt the Packers will ship him off to the Big Apple.

Rodgers is known for taking his sweet time with decisions, and some recent commentary on his part alluded to retirement still being in play. However, there’s just too much money on the line for him to hang ’em up, it would seem.

Speaking of finances, only 10 teams have less projected cap space than the Jets as of Friday afternoon, and it would require the front office to get creative should No. 12 opt to leave. It’s not a deal-breaking factor, though we may see the release of wide receiver Corey Davis ($10.5 million in savings) and edge rusher Carl Lawson ($15.4M savings) as obvious ways to save space. The remaining money can be found through restructuring and minor cap casualties, such as the announced departure of WR Braxton Berrios ($5M savings). Furthermore, Rodgers’ deal could be reworked, depending on how eager he is to leave Green Bay.

With legal tampering opening Monday, expect to hear something from Rodgers’ camp by the close of the weekend. It’s not a certainty, however, since he marches to his own beat. It would behoove both decisions — stay or go — for him to address it prior to the opening of the window to negotiate with external free agents.

Aside from merely wanting a fresh start in the twilight of his career, Rodgers has some incentive to leave Titletown. The Jets boast a pair of talented wideouts in Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore, and if Rodgers is on board, don’t be shocked to see free-agent receiver Allen Lazard join his friend. Perhaps the aforementioned Davis returns on a renegotiated deal to offer a possession asset. Signing wideout Adam Thielen would make a great deal of sense, too. Toss in RB Breece Hall (knee) for another dynamic weapon, assuming all goes well with his recovery.

The offensive line is not as strong as what protected him in Green Bay, though its potential is apparent with the likes of Alijah Vera-Tucker, Laken Tomlinson, Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown set to return. Tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin also provide adequate outlets as well as blockers.

New York’s new offensive play caller is Nathaniel Hackett, a longtime coach and friend of Rodgers. The defense is blossoming but may have to ascend with maturation of young talent as several veteran leaders are set to hit the open market. The defense still boasts a star-caliber player at all three levels, highlighted by Quinnen Williams, C.J. Mosley and Sauce Gardner.

It’s easy to understand why leaving a winnable division to join a crowded AFC East in a more difficult conference could sway Rodgers to stay, but ultra-competitive types view that as a challenge, not a deterrent.

One of the toughest aspects to gauge is whether the situation awaiting him in New York is enough to lure Rodgers away from the only pro team he has ever known and a fan base that is as loyal as it gets.

Legacy can be a telling motivator.

For as aloof and independent as he has come across at times, the California native spoke on the issue in 2020, on the Pat McAfee Show. “My thing is, legacy is really important, and having the opportunity do it all in Green Bay would mean a lot to me,” Rodgers said. “I understand kind of the track record of our squad, there have been times where we’ve had veteran players and they finished elsewhere. And I get it.” He added, “I’d like to make that decision easy for them, and the only way to do that is to keep playing at a high level and give them no choice but to keep bringing you back because you’re the best option and give them the best chance to win.”

The latter part of the quote is more interesting to me, because Rodgers played his worst ball in 2022 since taking over as the starter in 2008. It wasn’t all on him, but there’s no justifiable way anyone can ignore the dramatic rise in mistakes, even if they’re willing to overlook the dip in production due to personnel deficiencies.

Rodgers’ relationship with Green Bay’s front office has been in shaky for the past few years, and the team isn’t going to put up much of a fight to keep him if they’re willing to let him explore a trade. One could argue they’re confident he’ll stick around and are just appeasing him, which is fair, but there also is incentive to see Jordan Love start a full season as well as clear some of the debt load from the exorbitant contract extension he signed. Trading Rodgers will create $15.83 million in 2023 dead cap and another $24.48 mill in ’24 … less than ideal from Green Bay’s perspective, but it’s not prohibitive.

Okay, with all of those factors considered, does Rodgers make the jump to New York? I think it’s going to be a yes. I’ll go as far as saying the future Hall of Famer will retire before playing another down in a Packers jersey.


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