GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers could trade Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday. They almost certainly won’t, but that’s the day when there are big salary-cap savings to be gained by backing down to the three-time MVP quarterback.
According to OverTheCap.com, a trade of Rodgers on Tuesday (or before) would have resulted in $5.646 million in cap savings (but $31.556 million of dead money on the cap). A trade made on Wednesday (or beyond) would result in $22.85 million in cap savings (but $14.352 million in dead cap).
There is no reason to believe the Packers are going to trade Rodgers on Wednesday, though, with the latest evidence coming on Monday, with a source telling The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman that the Packers “will not” trade Rodgers.
That’s exactly what general manager Brian Gutekunst said following the first day of the draft, when ESPN reported Rodgers no longer wanted to play for the Packers.
With Offseason Practices Complete, Packers Embark on Uneasiest of Vacations
With 40 days until the start of training camp, the men in the middle of the mess are Matt LaFleur and Jordan Love.
What’s Point of Having Five Quarterbacks?
With four quarterbacks on the practice field on Tuesday, only Jordan Love took reps during competitive periods.
The Tall Tale That Is the Packers’ Receiver Corps
The 33rd Team projected the top six receivers for each team and assembled that group’s average height.
Here are four reasons why a trade won’t happen on Wednesday.
1. The Packers hope to save the relationship
As one high-ranking NFL team executive pointed out, “You play with fire, you get burned. He’s smart enough to know they did kind of hedge.”
The Packers got burned and now they’re trying to put out the fire. There is absolutely no doubt which quarterback gives the Packers the best chance of taking the next step after getting knocked out in the NFC Championship Game the past two seasons.
“Aaron definitely knows how we feel about him, how he’s such an important part to our football team, such an important part to our organization,” coach Matt LaFleur said last week during OTAs. “We’re just going to continue to try to work through this and, hopefully, can get him back in the building at some point.”
2. Maybe silence is golden
The NFL Draft was supposed to be about finding the pieces to get the team over the top. Instead, before the first round, ESPN.com reported Rodgers no longer wanted to play for the Packers. Before Day 2, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Rodgers would consider retirement. Before Day 3, a source within Rodgers’ camp told Yahoo that Rodgers wouldn’t return to the team unless the Packers fired Gutekunst.
The good news from the team’s perspective is the stream of juicy gossip has stopped. If all the bridges had been incinerated, logic would indicate that would have been fed to the likes of Schefter and Rapoport. That hasn’t happened. In fact, other than a trolling tweet from actor Miles Teller while on vacation with Rodgers, it’s been incredibly quiet.
So, to paraphrase Jim Carrey’s character in Dumb and Dumber, maybe there’s a chance for reconciliation. And if there’s a chance, then there’s no reason to make a trade anytime soon.
3. Who will blink first?
Let’s say both sides are dug in and committed. The Packers aren’t going to trade Rodgers and Rodgers isn’t going to show up. Something’s got to give, true, but that breaking point is much closer to Aug. 1 than June 1.
Both sides have a trump card. There’s no law that says the Packers have to give Rodgers what he wants. If the plan was to hand the team to Jordan Love at some point in the future, then the future is now. The game will go on, no different than after the Packers parted ways with Brett Favre in 2008. Lambeau Field will be full of fans to watch Love (or Blake Bortles). The team might lose money at the Pro Shop but it would gain money via the recouping of signing and roster bonuses. On the other hand, it would be a disservice to the greater good of the franchise to give Rodgers a perpetual vacation and not accumulate assets with a trade.
So, which side will blink? Rodgers is stubborn but he’s also sensitive.
“I don’t think he does,” one team executive said when asked if the quarterback has the stomach to not report at some point during training camp.
4. They won’t set Rodgers up for success
Let’s say Rodgers makes it clear he’s not going to return to Green Bay. Period. End of conversation.
“If you get to the point where he’s like, ‘Listen, I’m not coming in regardless. I don’t care what you do. You guys can fire everyone. I just don’t want to be there. I’m not showing up,’” said a high-ranking NFL team executive. “If it gets to that point that the guy doesn’t want to be there, I’m of the mindset that if you don’t want to be there, OK, we’ll move on.”
But “that point” doesn’t have to be reached on Wednesday, this week or this month. If you’re the Packers, you’d want to wait as long as possible to make a trade for two related reasons.
First, you’d want to minimize the acquiring team’s chances for success to maximize the value of the draft picks that were part of a trade. Second, you’d want to minimize Rodgers’ chances for success. This wouldn’t be about only wins and losses. This would be about legacies. Gutekunst and team President Mark Murphy forever would be known as part of the front office that traded the reigning MVP and future Hall of Fame quarterback. Now, imagine that legacy should Rodgers win a Super Bowl for some other franchise.
Among the list of key dates in the Rodgers saga, June 2 isn’t among them. Nor is the mandatory minicamp, set for June 8-10. Rather, it’s July 27 (the reporting date for training camp), July 31 (the expected date for the first practice) and Aug. 29 (the day after the final preseason game – Rodgers hates preseason games – and two weeks before the season-opening game at New Orleans on Sept. 12).