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While Appealing, Brady’s History Shows Why Trading Rodgers Would Be Wrong Move

Why shouldn't the Green Bay Packers reload by getting a king's ransom in a trade of Aaron Rodgers? Look no further than Tom Brady.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – There’s a logical reason to trade Aaron Rodgers.

It’s been more than a decade since he led the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl, let alone won one. The Packers the last three seasons became the first team in NFL history with three consecutive 13-win seasons. They earned the highly coveted No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs – meaning homefield advantage and the only first-round bye – in back-to-back seasons. Rodgers is coming off back-to-back MVP seasons.

All of that meant exactly nothing in the playoffs. The run defense was terrible in the 2019 NFC championship. Kevin King was terrible in the 2020 NFC Championship Game. The special teams were terrible in the 2021 divisional game. But Rodgers wasn’t close to good enough in any of those games.

If the Packers couldn’t win the Super Bowl in 2020 or, especially, 2021, when they got some key players back from injuries and had a full house and miserable weather to host San Francisco, then maybe they’ll never win another Super Bowl with Rodgers.

Meanwhile, the Packers could trade Rodgers – and Davante Adams, while they’re at – and get three or four first-round picks (and another pick/player or two) in return along with an opportunity for a financial reset.

It’s an intriguing idea.

And it’s wrong.

Just because the Rodgers-led Packers haven’t won another Super Bowl doesn’t mean they can’t or they won’t.

The greatest case in point is Tom Brady.

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Brady was well on his way to becoming an NFL legend after capping the 2004 season with a third Super Bowl win in four years. He was merely 27 years old on the night New England edged Philadelphia 24-21 for Super Bowl ring No. 3.

But the Brady-led Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl in 2005. Or 2006. Or 2007. Or 2008. Or 2009. Or 2010. Or 2011. Or 2012. Or 2013. They reached the Super Bowl in a couple of those seasons, but Brady’s championship drought had reached a decade when, in 2014, the Patriots drafted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as the potential successor for the 36-year-old Brady.

That set the stage for the next act of Brady’s career. New England won a gift-wrapped Super Bowl against Seattle in 2014, then staged a comeback for the ages to stun Atlanta for another championship in 2016. The Patriots’ defense gave Brady another title in 2018. In 2020, Brady went to Tampa Bay, beat Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game and won a seventh Super Bowl in a rout of Kansas City.

A great quarterback gives his team a realistic opportunity to win the Super Bowl every season. Greatness – whether it’s as a player or as a team – isn’t guaranteed, though. Even with Brady’s legendary success, consider this: During that one-decade championship drought, Brady lost eight playoff games. He put 17 or fewer points on the scoreboard six times and 21 points in a seventh game.

A lot of things have to go right to win a Super Bowl, with Exhibits A, B and C being the Packers' last three playoff exits. The play of the quarterback, obviously, is at the top of the list. Brady didn’t deliver enough in key moments during his title drought. Just like Rodgers hasn’t delivered in key moments.

But with a great quarterback, there’s always a chance. There’s a chance to get hot in the playoffs, to make the big play, to rise to the occasion, to build a legend. Over the last six seasons, Brady is 13-3 in playoff games. He led his team to 30-plus points in 12 of those games. It was staggering, overwhelming success.

Without a great quarterback, you’re just a team that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t really relevant. You’re the Saints without Drew Brees. You’re the Broncos of the last several years. You’re the Bears of, seemingly, forever.

General manager Brian Gutekunst knows that. And that’s why he wants to keep Rodgers. That’s why he’s betting on Rodgers instead of draft picks.

No doubt he’s considered the opportunity to reload on the fly by trading Rodgers for a king’s ransom. But he also knows there’s no guarantee that next quarterback is on the roster (Jordan Love) or waiting in the wings (a 2023 first-round pick). His playoff failures notwithstanding, riding with Rodgers doesn’t just provide the best chance to win a Super Bowl over the next season or three. Rodgers probably provides the only chance.

“I think we’ve got as good a shot as anybody to win a Super Bowl next year,” Gutekunst said when asked why he wouldn’t trade Rodgers. “He’s the MVP of the league. That’s our goal. I think we have an opportunity to do it right now. That’s why.”