Aaron Rodgers vs. Green Bay
It has been the biggest news story in the NFL 2021 offseason. A will they won’t they between one of the most storied franchises in NFL history, and one of its best quarterbacks ever to don the green and gold.
Rodgers informed the Packers that he wanted out of Green Bay at the beginning of the offseason, and Green Bay, understandably so, has been very hesitant to make the trade. Trading away the reigning NFL MVP isn’t a move any franchise would be ecstatic to make. If the Packers trade Rodgers the only QB’s they have left on their roster is veteran Blake Bortles, and three unproven QB’s in 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love, as well as 2018 UDFA Kurt Benkert, and 2019 UDFA Jake Dolegala.
Rodgers hasn’t made an appearance at the Packers mandatory training camp further fueling the rumors that he will sit out regular-season games if he is still in Green Bay. The Packer’s window to win a Super Bowl with their current roster is closing, and trading Rodgers away wouldn’t hold that window open any longer.
On the opposite of that though is Jordan Love. The Utah State product that the Packers traded up to take in the 2020 NFL Draft. Should Rodgers stick to his guns, and not suit up this year for Green Bay, then Love is the most likely option to start the season under center. While not having Rodgers under center would be an understandable blow to the efficiency of that offense, it could be interesting to see how Love plays after just a year of learning from one of the best to play the game.
Rodgers has said that he has interest in going to a few different teams in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers, the Denver Broncos, and the Oakland Raiders. While the 49ers are an intriguing offer they don’t seem very probable. They have Jimmy Garoppolo and just drafted Trey Lance with the third-overall pick in the 2021 draft. So San Fransisco making a trade for Rodgers would be highly unlikely.
Denver doesn’t have the weapons available to Rodgers to make his going there make much sense. Their offensive line isn’t the best in the NFL, but it is better than Las Vegas. However, they don’t have the offensive weapons that Vegas has.
Denver only has second-year receiver Jerry Jeudy as an offensive weapon. Plus, Denver’s defense isn’t what it was when 2021 Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning was there. Rodgers wouldn’t be able to count on the defense to keep him in a game, maintain the lead he had built, or dig him out of a hole.
Denver also has less to offer in the way of a trade for Rodgers. Their QB room is worse than Vagas’, not by much, but it is. The Raiders at least have Derek Carr to offer up, while he isn’t a great QB, he does offer a better option than Blake Bortles should things with Jordan Love not work out.
On the flip side of that, Aaron Rodgers in Jon Gruden’s offense could be really fun to see.
One of Rodgers biggest complaints in Green Bay was their inability or just their choosing not to, get any offensive weapons for him. Every draft Rodgers would wait patiently for the Packers to pick and would hope they would draft him another receiver to throw to, and every year in the first round they would let him down.
Las Vegas, however, has shown the ability to draft offensive playmakers in the first round. They drafted Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 draft, and then Ruggs in 2020. In Vegas Rodgers will have younger talent to play alongside for the end of his career, but, the offensive line is not as good as what he has in Green Bay.
In previous seasons Rodgers has had injury issues, that offensive line, and the defensive lines he will face in the AFC West will wreak havoc on Rodgers. The speed Rodgers will have in Las Vegas, plus the coach he’ll be under could be beneficial. Add in the supporting cast of receivers and running backs gives Rodgers a revolving door of weapons to have on the field with him.
His biggest problem in Green Bay was that aside from star-receiver DeVante Adams he didn’t have anyone else to throw to. If Adams was covered Rodgers had to hope someone else would come down with the pass he threw, most of the time though they wouldn’t.
The Raiders receivers though have shown that they can catch passes when given the opportunity, the biggest thing holding the Raiders back is their quarterback play. Nothing against Derek Carr, but he just isn’t an elite talent, and he hasn’t shown the ability to manage the game like Alex Smith did during his storied and historic career.
Rodgers to the Raiders is intriguing for a couple of other different reasons. The Raiders have the best defense out of the three teams Rodgers brought up. The only place they may be lacking is cornerback, but they have a star safety in Jonathan Abrams, an above-average linebacking corps, and a very good defensive line. This is a defense that can help maintain a lead late in the game, can bail Rodgers out of a late-game mistake (something Rodgers seldom does), or can keep Rodgers and the offense in a game late.
The speed of Henry Ruggs at wide receiver and Josh Jacobs coming out of the backfield will give Rodgers the help he needs to keep him upright. He has shown that while him having time in the pocket helps, as it does with any QB, he doesn’t need to have a long time to make plays. As long as he has playmakers and speed, he can make things happen.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of Rodgers to the Raiders is the match-up between Mahomes and the Chiefs, and Herbert and the Chargers. While not getting to see Mahomes and the Chiefs go up against Rodgers and the Packers in a Super Bowl would be a disappointment, getting to see them go head-to-head twice a year is a nice consolation prize. Herbert is an up-and-coming talent in the NFL too, and showed flashes of being a franchise guy in Los Angeles last season, so seeing them face-off would be a great match-up as well.
The primetime games alone that Rodgers going to Vegas would bring would be worth it to the NFL on its own, and you can be sure that Jon Gruden is chomping at the bit to work with an all-time great like Rodgers too. So, the Raiders being able to come up with a worthwhile trade for the Packers to accept is the only thing holding this back from becoming a reality. That being said, the only way this trade happens is if Rodgers refuses to play, and Green Bay deals him just to be rid of the headache. Don’t look for that to happen until at least a few weeks into the regular season.