Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay. That's the absolute bombshell Adam Schefter dropped on Thursday afternoon hours before the 2021 NFL Draft. It's the news that will dominate football discussion for the foreseeable future until the matter is resolved. Rodgers is "very disgruntled" and the Packers' brass is flying out to the West Coast to see if they can soothe the reigning MVP.
If they can't convince him to return, they'll have to trade him. They won't have a choice, even if it is literally impossible to get fair value for a quarterback of his caliber. Should the organization shop Rodgers, everybody in the league will be making an offer, except the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Probably.
With that in mind, here is an attempt at four realistic trade destinations for Aaron Rodgers.
San Francisco 49ers
Not six hours ago, a rumor made the rounds that the Niners had offered up the No. 3 overall pick tonight, Jimmy Garoppolo, and loads of other assets for Rodgers and the Packers said no. That rumor was swiftly debunked by ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky, and shortly thereafter Tom Pelissero said the Niners gave a call to Green Bay about Rodgers' availability and were told he wasn't on the trade block.
It's time to call them up again. San Francisco is the only real suitor with the assets to make a trade worthwhile, the gem of their treasure chest being the third pick of the first round. They don't have any future firsts to offer since they gave up all three from 2021 to 2023 to move up to three in the first place, but they have most of their other picks for the next three drafts and a lot of good young players. Alongside that No. 3 pick they also have Jimmy Garoppolo, who can hold down the fort in Green Bay until Jordan Love is ready to go. The Niners aren't afraid to take big swings, and Rodgers is exactly the type of big name they've been hunting after for years. If Rodgers really is gone, this is the most likely spot.
The Dolphins could very well have the strongest trade package to offer after San Francisco. They have a young quarterback with potential in Tua Tagovailoa. They have the sixth and 18th overall picks in this year's draft. They own the Niners' first-round pick in 2023 and several more over the next few years along with all of their own picks. If the Packers are looking for picks and only picks, Miami is the way to go. Rodgers would be in an entirely different conference and Green Bay gets a look at a highly-touted quarterback prospect in Tagovailoa. Impact players might be tough to come by along with him (Mike Gesicki? Byron Jones? Christian Wilkins?) but the Dolphins have the draft ammo to at least get the Packers to pick up the phone.
New England Patriots
Even if the Patriots' asset cabinet is paltry compared to the Niners', you cannot discount Bill Belichick's ability to get a deal done. New England has a handful of good players to offer and the 15th pick in this year's draft, along with a second and two thirds. Future picks won't be worth much but every little bit adds up. Throw in standout rookie offensive lineman Michael Onwenu, Cam Newton, Dont'a Hightower, J.C. Jackson, and Stephon Gilmore, and maybe they've got something. It would decimate New England's depth, but when you have a shot at a guy like Rodgers, you take it. No matter what.
Hello, other successful team with a potentially disgruntled superstar quarterback! Russell Wilson made his displeasure with the organization's recent decisions known to media earlier this offseason. Given the lack of noise since, it seems Wilson and the front office have since buried the hatchet. But if both sides don't foresee a happy ending to this marriage, a deal like this could be in the works. Wilson gets to go to a team that will protect him better than Seattle ever has. Rodgers goes to a team with a smart head coach and a good general manager who should be in contention every year.
The Packers probably wouldn't do Rodgers-for-Wilson straight-up, and the biggest wrench in this potential transaction is Seattle's complete lack of draft picks both this year and in the near future. But nobody else has a quarterback near Rodgers' level and would be willing to move that quarterback for the reigning MVP.