Talks between the Jets and Packers about an Aaron Rodgers trade have been stalled recently. However, things seem to be picking up at the NFL’s owners meeting where Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst publicly acknowledged his team might not get a first round pick for Rodgers.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports the deal will likely be centered around a pair of second round picks.
As it stands, talks are focused on the Jets dealing two picks for the Packers quarterback — one second-round pick in next month’s NFL Draft, and another second-rounder in 2024 that could graduate to a first-round pick with “achievable” team performance escalators. An example of such an escalator would be if the Jets were to host a home divisional playoff game or advance to the AFC championship game. A sticking point in the talks is the Jets seeking an element of protection built into the trade, specifically one that sends some 2025 draft compensation to New York from Green Bay if Rodgers does not play in 2024 and beyond.
It boils down to the Packers wanting “straight shot” draft picks without qualifiers, while the Jets want such high level of compensation to be based on 2023 team performance and Rodgers also playing for New York in 2024.
I suppose one could try to rationalize this. If the pick the Jets just got from Cleveland is part of the package I am sure there will be an argument, “The Jets really just gave up Elijah Moore and a third round pick.”
In reality this is a large price to pay for a short term player. No matter how the Jets obtained their second round picks, those remain very valuable once you have them. Since so much of the focus to date has been on whether the Jets will give up the 13th overall pick, I assume parting second round picks will create the perception they have “won” the deal. Of course if Rodgers leads the Jets to the Super Bowl, the price will be well worth it. If he does not, however, this trade represents a major cost, and I think that needs to be acknowledged.
It isn’t clear whether Robinson is speculating about the conditions that could turn the second pick into a first rounder or whether has actual information. In any event I think the Jets should avoid any sort of escalator that does not involve a Super Bowl win or at least a Super Bowl appearance. Merely hosting a divisional game or making it to the conference championship game is not worth a first round pick considering the difficulties that the Jets’ current cap and roster management could create after Rodgers is gone.
We do not know how long it will take for a trade package to be finalized, but it does seem like the two sides are finally making progress and moving in the direction of a resolution.