As reports mount regarding the possibility that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be traded and/or the question of whether the Packers will refuse to trade him to an NFC team, there’s one very important thing to remember.
Aaron Rodgers holds all the cards.
He has a fully-guaranteed compensation package of $58.3 million in 2023. If the Packers want to avoid that obligation, they need to trade him where he wants to go. If that’s in the NFC, so be it.
Rodgers has the ultimate hammer. He can tell the Packers, “I’m not leaving.” He can force the Packers to pay him all that money, even if they’d rather turn the page to Jordan Love.
As Rodgers said on Tuesday, none of the machinations matter until he decides whether he wants to play. Then comes the question of whether he’ll play for the Packers or someone else. Then comes the question of whether, if not the Packers, where will he play?
If Rodgers has a new team that is willing to pay him and to give the Packers whatever they want for Rodgers (and they’d be wise to be reasonable), the only question is whether Rodgers wants to play there.
As Rodgers acknowledged last week, it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t have a no-trade clause. No one will trade for him if he doesn’t want to play there. And if he makes it clear that, for example, there’s only one team for which he’ll play and if that team is in the NFC, the Packers will have to decide whether to send him to that team or to welcome him back, even if they’d rather not.