From the second that reports emerged about Aaron Rodgers never wanting to play for the Green Bay Packers again, the Denver Broncos have been a realistic contender — if there even is one — to acquire his services.
The Broncos are in desperate need of an established quarterback, and Rodgers, the three-time NFL MVP, fits the billing. Although the Packers have been reluctant to make Rodgers available in a trade, NBC Sports’ Peter King recently shared a bold suggestion that both teams must consider.
Peter King proposed the Broncos include Jerry Jeudy in a trade involving Aaron Rodgers
If the Broncos intend to acquire Rodgers in the coming weeks, then the team might need to give up more than a couple of draft picks.
During a recent appearance on Moose & Maggie on WFAN in New York, King laid out his ideal framework for a trade. Even if the Broncos included two first-round picks and two second-round picks, King didn’t think that’d be enough.
Instead, the veteran sportswriter suggested the Packers request Jerry Jeudy, the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and a dynamic young receiver, in addition to those four draft picks. The 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner hauled in 52 catches for 856 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games last year.
King made it clear that the Packers shouldn’t trade Rodgers if they don’t get a “really good player” in return.
“It doesn’t make any sense because they can get just as much for Aaron Rodgers in March than they can today, so they have to be motivated by some team to go by putting an excellent player in the deal. And if they don’t put an excellent player in the deal, if I’m the Packers, I say, forget it, we’re not doing it.”Peter King
Is King’s proposal bold? Yes, it is, but it also makes sense for both teams going forward.
The Broncos and Packers need to strongly consider making that trade
The Packers do not want to trade Rodgers yet, and they still hope that he’ll let bygones be bygones and report to training camp in late July. If Rodgers doesn’t show up, the Packers will likely hand the starting quarterback role to Jordan Love, a first-round pick in 2020.
But in a world where the Packers do throw up their hands and make Rodgers available, the Broncos need to pounce. They already play in an AFC West division with Derek Carr, Justin Herbert, and Patrick Mahomes starting at quarterback. Drew Lock, respectfully, does not come close to any of them.
Part of Rodgers’ frustration with the Packers stems from the team never using a first-round selection on a receiver. It’d be ironic, then, if the Packers traded him for the 15th overall pick a year ago. Sports have a way of being funny that way.
But if the Packers trade Rodgers, they’d already be preparing to throw the white flag on this season. They would also have Jeudy, Love, and young running back A.J. Dillon under team control for at least three more seasons. That’s not a bad young core to build around in hopes of competing again in 2022.
The Packers clearly think highly of Love, who didn’t see a single snap as a rookie. It’d make sense, then, to provide their second-year quarterback with an asset, a young receiver selected in the first round, that Rodgers might never enjoy having.
Would the Broncos really become a Super Bowl contender with Rodgers at quarterback?
Any trade involving Rodgers will change the stakes for at least three teams: the Packers, the team that acquires the reigning NFL MVP, and the Minnesota Vikings, who would instantly become the favorites to win the NFC North.
Let’s say the Broncos are the team that acquires Rodgers. He’ll at least arrive on a team with a capable receiver in Courtland Sutton, who earned Pro Bowl honors in 2019 but missed the bulk of last season with a knee injury. Tight end Noah Fant, the 20th overall selection in 2019, hauled in 62 catches for 673 yards and three scores last year.
Don’t start projecting the Broncos to win Super Bowl 56, though. At best, Rodgers’ arrival would make the Broncos the second-best team in the AFC West. Any road through the AFC will likely require defeating Mahomes and the Chiefs, which is easier said than done.
With that said, it worked for Peyton Manning, who joined the Broncos in 2012 and won two AFC Championship Games in four years. History works on the Broncos’ side when it comes to older quarterbacks, and Rodgers could be next up to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. In that situation, though, he’d have accomplished the feat without throwing to the receiver that the Broncos envisioned becoming a perennial All-Pro.