Much has been said in recent days about the role of “leverage” in the negotiation between the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers as the Jets pursue a trade for Aaron Rodgers.
From the Jets side, the situation is becoming quite clear: As more and more quarterback options go off the board the Jets need to acquire Aaron Rodgers.
However, the situation from the Green Bay side is a bit murkier given the salary cap and fan reactions ramifications as well as their increasingly tense relationship with Rodgers.
Recently, former Green Bay Packers Vice President Andrew Brandt weighed in on the situation. Notably, Brandt was a player agent turned contract negotiator and worked in Green Bay from 1999 to 2008; importantly, Rodgers was drafted in 2005, so the two would have overlapped. Because of his career history and the specific timeline of his time with the Packers, he is able to provide some interesting context given that he has an understanding of the intricate workings of the NFL salary cap, the Rodgers contract, and how the Packers organization and Rodgers operate.
From Brandt’s perspective as an NFL decision maker, he puts forth that “Leverage lies with the negotiating party that is most satisfied with the status quo” and uses this idea to evaluate the relative position of the Jets and the Packers.
Within this lens, he evaluates the Jets’ situation as:
The Jets desperately need a quarterback. New York has waited out this trade as all the other options—Jimmy Garoppolo, Derek Carr, Baker Mayfield—signed elsewhere. The Packers have had their quarterback in the building for three years.
By comparison, he evaluates the Packers ‘situation as:
The Packers have no cap or cash issues with Rodgers’s contract. There is no money due to him until September. Indeed, it will cost them more in cap space ($40 million) with him off of the roster than on it ($31 million).
He further expands on this line of thought adding:
I have not heard any realistic arguments about the Jets’ leverage. I’ve heard theories that Rodgers could show up to the Packers’ offseason workouts or even training camp. (Please.) Or that Rodgers could retire and Green Bay would get nothing. (The Packers would love for him to retire having played for only them, while also relieving them of $60 million he’d be due.) Or that he would sit on the roster all season so that the Packers would have to pay him. (Again, please.)
The problem with Rodgers’s contract, especially for the Jets, is that there is no decision point early in the offseason, no big roster bonus or anything like that. Thus the Packers can wait. I am not talking about waiting for months—this will be resolved long before it gets to the point of Rodgers’s showing up at Packers camp. If it were to get to that point, there is not enough blood pressure medication out there to sustain Jets fans.
So, overall, Brandt seems to view this as “advantage Packers.” What do you think?