What did Aaron Rodgers learn from Brett Favre? That defeaning hard count to trip up the defense was a Favre staple. Maybe Favre taught Rodgers what a nickel defense was, just in case he didn’t know either. Rodgers himself says he was able to see the Ol’ Gunslinger’s leadership style and learn from it. I’d imagine if Favre taught Rodgers how to chug beer, Aaron would probably be better at it.
What Rodgers definitely learned from Favre: How to completely hi-jack the Green Bay Packers offseason. For the second year in a row, it has turned into the Aaron Rodgers show. There’s been enough leaks and reports to conclude Rodgers is most likely on the move this offseason, so I compiled a list of five Aaron Rodgers trade destinations.
What Are Some Potential Aaron Rodgers Trade Destinations?
There’s a litany of issues that come with trading Rodgers this offseason.
1) He carries a high base salary ($26.5 million) and wants to become the highest-paid player in the NFL.
2) The Packers have a strong roster and are closer to a reload than a rebuild.
3) Green Bay will have to eat a $26.85 million cap hit if they trade Rodgers while only saving $19.3 million. They’re currently $29.8 million over the cap.
4) Aaron Rodgers isn’t always the easiest player to deal with, so you’re not going to be able to ship him to the New York Giants or Washington Commanders if he doesn’t want to go there.
As Charles Barkley so eloquently said “I think he’s the pretty girl that you gotta tell her she’s pretty every day… Like, I told you five days in a row you good. I gotta tell you every day, apparently.” Oof, even the basketball world is dunking on Rodgers.
On draft day last year Adam Schefter dropped the bomb that Rodgers was so disgruntled he might not want to return to the Packers. This offseason, the news is rolling out sooner and slower. First, there was the leaked request to become the highest-paid player in the NFL on February 24th. Then on March 5th, it was reported Rodgers had a specific list of three teams he would like to be traded to.
Why the Denver Broncos make sense: It’s the place Aaron Rodgers wants to go. They have boatloads of cap space ($39.2 million), a top 10 pick, and five picks in the first three rounds. They check a lot of the boxes that would make the trade easy for both teams.
Even their passing offense was more efficient than most would expect: 11th overall according to Football Outsiders Pass DVOA. This is pretty impressive when you factor in the Broncos quarterback situation last year. That should only get better under new coach Nathaniel Hackett, who was Rodgers’ offensive coordinator the past three seasons. A solid receiving corps is already in place as well. I’m sure Jerry Jeudy is salivating at the potential pairing with Rodgers after watching his deep connection with the inferior Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Why the Broncos wouldn’t make sense: Their defense is a little further away from Super Bowl contention than I think most realize. While they were third in points allowed, they were disappointing everywhere else. PFF ranked their pass rush as 31st in the league and they were 21st in coverage. ESPN’s Pass Rush Win Rate ranked them dead last. That was with one of the best defensive minds in football as their head coach. They’ve also been near the bottom of the league in takeaways the past three seasons. I know Bradley Chubb was injured, but he’s often injured or inconsistent.
Aaron Rodgers won a Super Bowl with a top-five defense, and then went 10 years with average to below-average defenses. We know the success the Packers had during those years. If the Broncos trade away the haul of draft picks it’ll take to land Rodgers and fill their cap space with his contract, will they be able to put together the defense necessary to do for Rodgers what Denver did for Peyton Manning? It’s certainly an interesting idea for the possible Aaron Rodgers trade destinations.
Why the Tennessee Titans make sense: Rodgers with Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones? That seems unfair. They also have one of the few contracts with Ryan Tannehill that you could trade straight across and make the money work (obviously with a pile of picks thrown in). A capable quarterback from a similar system would be something the Packers are interested in, especially after Jordan Love failed to inspire confidence in his few showings this season.
Why the Titans wouldn’t make sense: Neither team has cap space and I’m not sure the Packers would be ecstatic bringing over Tannehill’s $29 million salary. Yes, it would be great knowing you have a capable quarterback, but we saw Tannehill without King Henry and it wasn’t pretty. While he’d still have a couple of great running backs to run play-action off of we’ve seen he’s not the guy to bring you deep into the playoffs. Not at that price tag anyway without a perfect team around him anyway.
As for Rodgers in Tennessee, they don’t have great pass protection (ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate – 24th, PFF’s Pass Block Grade – 27th), and that’s before you account two of their better offensive lineman are aging free agents. Play-action cures a lot of that and Rodgers is great at the quick-strike offense we he needs to be. But going from one of the consistently great O-lines to this Titans one might be too much of a shock.
Why the Pittsburgh Steelers make sense: Mike Tomlin has a history with surly quarterbacks. Tomlin has a history of thriving in drama altogether. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, contract disputes, locker room disputes, you name it, Tomlin’s dealt with it. The drama Rodgers brings might actually be preferred cause at least you know he’ll make it onto the field come game day.
While the O-line is lacking, you have a good trio of weapons in Najee Harris, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool. Similar to Jeudy in Denver, Claypool would be over the moon with a quarterback who can sling it deep with precision. Not facing a loaded box every game would do wonders for Harris as well. He was electric in college and it’d be fun seeing more than the occasional flash. They also have a solid defense and spectacular pass rush to boot.
Why the Steelers wouldn’t make sense: The Steelers O-line issues are well-chronicled over the past few years: they’re 31st in Pass Block Win Rate according to ESPN. If you bring Rodgers in, will you have the ability to fix things upfront for him? Mind you Rodgers is a lot less statue-like than Big Ben, but Roethlisberger got the ball out as fast as anyone and was still sacked 38 times. I trust Tomlin to field a competent team as much as anyone but you’d need to mend things upfront.
Why the Cleveland Browns make sense: The first team on my list that isn’t on Rodgers’, and they’re a match made in heaven. Not only do they have the cap space for Aaron’s contract but Baker Mayfield would be a nice return for the cheeseheads. Cleveland also has a very well-rounded roster. They’re at risk of losing Jadeveon Clowney, David Njoku, and Ronnie Harrison but they have enough depth all over to handle those losses. Their O-line is legitimately good too!
A change of scenery may be all Mayfield needs. The Packers run a similar quarterback-friendly offense as Kevin Stefanski and the Browns as well. Despite Mayfield rolling into every game with more injuries than Mr. Glass, the Browns still had the 14th most efficient offense according to DVOA. It’s scary to think what a healthy Rodgers could do in that offense.
Why the Browns wouldn’t make sense: You know what isn’t scary? Cleveland’s pass catchers. One of the most underwhelming groups in the entire NFL. Donovan Peoples-Jones flashes as a deep threat. Then I’d take all three of their running backs before another receiver on this roster. That includes the disgruntled Jarvis Landry. That would be a blessing in disguise for Rodgers and the Browns though as it wouldn’t give him anyone to lock onto. You have to trust the open guy if you can’t trust anyone else.
Why the Miami Dolphins make sense: $61 million in cap space, solid all-around roster, one first-round pick this year, and two next year. They have the means to acquire Rodgers, a fun target to pair him with, in Jaylen Waddle (two if they can retain Mike Gesicki), and their new coach comes from the same Shanahan tree Rodgers is playing in now. They could conceivably improve their roster after adding the MVP quarterback.
It’s a trade that works out fantastic for the Packers if they bring Tua Tagovailoa back. Love and Tagovailoa could have a proper camp battle. Tagovailoa would also see what it’s like to play behind a top offensive line and not one made from paper mache. The Packers will be in cap trouble this season and maybe next, but if they fill out the right pieces until they get some breathing room it’ll be a quicker rebuild than most other teams that lose their hall of fame quarterback. Like the Browns, this is a trade destination I’m interested in that didn’t make Aaron’s list.
Why the Dolphins wouldn’t make sense: They better pray they have money leftover to repair the roster. No 38-year-old quarterback would enjoy taking snaps behind bowling pins. ESPN, PFF, and Tagovailoa (probably) agree, this is the worst O-line in football. I don’t want to make excuses for him because he’s had two seasons, but even if he wasn’t coming off a dislocated hip it’d be hard to look confident behind that line. Dolphins also lack quality running backs. Lucky for them, it’s never been easier to find running backs with late draft picks.
Of The Aaron Rodgers Trade Destinations, Which Should He (and the Packers) Choose?
The Dolphins, Broncos, Steelers, and Titans have the most fun weapons for a high-flying ariel attack. Although only one of those teams can currently block. Nothing is saying he can’t stay in Green Bay either. The issue is: by the time Green Bay recovers from the cap hell that puts them in, there’s no guarantee he’s still Aaron Rodgers. He can go to the desert and do all the enemas he wants, that won’t turn him into Tom Brady. The Packers would be better off looking towards the future if it’s Super Bowls they’re looking for and not disappointing playoff exits.
The Aaron Rodgers trade destinations that would maximize both his and the Green Bay Packers success are the Browns, Dolphins, and Broncos.