In the absurd event where the Packers were to trade Aaron Rodgers, there’s almost a zero percent chance it’d be to another NFC team. If the Eagles made sure Carson Wentz went to the AFC, the Packers would surely do the same for the reigning MVP. And I’m sure they could get some solid offers from teams like the Browns or Dolphins. But what if the only fitting offers came from the NFC? Or what if Rodgers wouldn’t sign off on the deal?
Unlike Wentz, Aaron Rodgers has a ‘no-trade clause.’ So before the Packers can even attempt to accept a trade offer, they must get Rodgers’ blessing. When you consider Rodgers’ age, it’s hard to imagine him signing off on a rebuilding team. So take teams like the Eagles and Panthers off the board. The Packers won’t trade him in the division, so exclude the Bears, Vikings, and Lions.
If the Packers are forced to trade Rodgers within the NFC, I see three teams that could and should pull this off.
The Case for the New York Giants
Though finishing with a 6-10 record in 2020, the Giants were among the toughest sub .500 teams I’ve ever seen. Lead by first-year head coach Joe Judge and their defense, the Giants showed real signs of improvement. Injuries hurt them all season, but nothing hurt them more than their stagnant offense lead by the inconsistent Daniel Jones.
In two seasons, Daniel Jones has shown promise that he can be a franchise quarterback. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he jumped from the 26th ranked quarterback as a rookie to the number 18 in his second year. Jones even spent time in the top ten the first few weeks of the 2020 season. The talent is there, but if Jones hopes to keep his job, he must cut down on two things: turnovers and the number of sacks he takes.
In 27 total games, Jones has been sacked 83 times and has an astounding 51 turnovers. Granted, it’s not all his fault, for the Giants had the second-worst offensive line per PFF in 2020. But Jones’s 29 career fumbles, which average out to 1.1 fumbles per game, isn’t a recipe for success. The Giants went into the off-season and buffered their offense by signing Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, and drafting Kadarious Toney. Not to mention, they get Saquon Barkley back from injury.
On top of it all, their defense got even better on paper. So if I’m the Giants, and I’m aware that my roster is ready to compete now, I’d give a call to Green Bay. Offering Daniel Jones, Sterling Shepard, and a couple of picks should be enough to get Aaron Rodgers. But if the Giants want to give Jones a chance, which is understandable, I’d give him eight games to fix his turnover issue. If he hasn’t, the Giants must look elsewhere and not waste this roster.
The Case for the Washington Football Team
Staying in the NFC East, like the Giants, the WFT was a defense-lead team. Winning the division at 7-9 was a huge step in the right direction given everything 2020 threw at them. But heading into the 2021 season, there’s one glaring hole that Washington needs to fill, and that’s quarterback. Their defense is young and improving, and they addressed their offensive deficiencies in the off-season and draft. I like Ryan Fitzpatrick as a one-year option and as a human, but like the Giants, Washington has the roster ready to compete now.
I’m not sure what type of package Washington could put together to entice Green Bay, but they should still throw something out there. Aaron Rodgers would make Washington favorites to repeat as NFC East champs and instantly place them as Super Bowl contenders. If they stick with Fitzpatrick, they’re an intriguing team that can (maybe) win a playoff game. But with Rodgers, they could go all the way.
The Case for the New Orleans Saints
As sad as it was to see Drew Brees’ career end, it was the right time. The Saints were in salary-cap hell, and if we’re completely honest, Brees was holding them back. Though they won their division at 12-4, the Saints never really felt like real contenders. Drew Brees’ arm was noticeably weaker, and the offense never looked right. Now heading into the 2021 season with post-Lasik Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, they’re a very intriguing team.
The last time we saw Jameis as a starter, he threw 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. But because he also couldn’t see well, he threw 30 interceptions.
If Jameis can just cut his turnovers in half, the Saints are more dangerous this season than last. Unlike Brees, Jameis is a big, strong, mobile quarterback with a cannon for an arm. And after learning under Drew Brees for an entire season, he could be the long-term successor. Taysom Hill is good, but he’s already in his 30’s, he’s limited as a thrower and isn’t quite the athlete that Lamar Jackson is. Either way, the Saints quarterback situation could blow up in their face.
But, if the Saints could pair Aaron Rodgers with Sean Payton, no disrespect to Jameis and Hill, but you do it ten times out of ten. Rodgers would catapult the Saints into instant Super Bowl contenders and would give the Bucs real competition.
The Saints are still pressed against the cap, but if they can figure out a way to get Rodgers from Green Bay, they MUST do so.
Just a QB Away…
All these teams have Super Bowl-caliber rosters but have question marks surrounding the quarterback position. If there’s anything Rodgers is not as a quarterback, it’s a question mark. Any time you can add a reigning league MVP quarterback to your quarterback deprived roster, you do it. Green Bay keeps putting the message out there that they won’t trade Rodgers, but that shouldn’t stop teams from calling. After all, no team wants a disgruntled signal-caller.