Where art thou, Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers' decision on his future has been one of the most talked-about topics in the NFL in recent months. Rodgers, who is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league, winning four league MVP’s, has been with the Green Bay Packers for his entire career. His potential departure from Green Bay has been rumored since the 2020 NFL draft, after the Packers selected quarterback Jordan Love.

Since the end of the 2023 season, Rodgers' decision on whether he will stay in Green Bay, request a trade, or retire a Packer has been highly anticipated. Rodgers had shared that he was going to enter a four-day darkness retreat at the end of February, which was believed to be the precursor to his public decision. After his retreat, weeks passed with no news, and rumors were circulating the NFL world. Many fans, sports analysts, and television personalities became upset with Rodgers and saw his delayed decision as unnecessary and attention seeking.

On March 15, Rodgers appeared on "The Pat McAfee Show" and revealed to the world that he wants to continue his football career, and his intention is to play for the New York Jets. Many believed that the Packers and Jets had already reached an agreement on trade compensation for Rodgers, and were simply waiting for him to announce his decision. But two weeks have passed since his appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show," and no trade has been made.

So, what is causing the hold-up in Aaron Rodgers' potential trade?

In recent memory, it is hard to recall any situations regarding a trade that have been similar to this one. Rodgers had been rumored to the Jets since the Super Bowl and now trade talks persist weeks past the NFL Combine. Earlier this week, analyst Mike Garafolo reported that the Packers and the Jets are "far apart" on trade compensation for Rodgers. He stated that the trade will not take place before NFL league meetings starting on March 26, which was previously thought. When’s the next deadline? The NFL Draft. The Green Bay Packers ideally want to finish the trade before this year’s draft, in order to receive compensation for this year. They need to build around Jordan Love and transition into a new offense after losing Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Allen Lazard. If the Packers can’t make a trade by the draft, they would be putting the team in a poor position for next season.

Joe Douglas, the Jets general manager, is known to value draft picks over players, and not be willing to give up much in trades. On the other hand, the Packers seem to want high draft pick compensation for their top tier quarterback. It is probable that Joe Douglas is reluctant to give up this year’s 13th overall pick, which the Packers have their eyes set on. Recently, on March 27, Charles Robinson reported that the Packers and Jets are now discussing two high draft picks for Rodgers but are in disagreement over the 2024 draft protections. These picks include a second round pick in both the 2023 and 2024 NFL Draft. The Jets are looking for protection on 2024 draft picks if Aaron Rodgers does not play past the 2023 season. They are unwilling to give up so much for a one year stunt with Rodgers. Robinson also reported there is talk of the Packers giving 2025 draft compensation to the Jets if Rodgers retires or based on the Jets performance in the 2023 season.

Despite the hold-up in negotiations, it seems extremely likely that a trade will eventually be made. Both Rodgers and the Packers have a lot to gain from a fresh start. The Packers would rebuild around a younger quarterback in Jordan Love, and the Jets would become a Super Bowl contender with Rodgers at the helm.