NFL Twitter was set ablaze on Thursday morning when Bill Michaels, a Wisconsin sports talk show host, said that the San Francisco 49ers took a home-run swing and offered the No. 3 overall pick, Jimmy Garoppolo, and many other assets to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for Aaron Rodgers.
It took less than an hour for that report to be debunked indisputably as ESPN's Packers reporter, Rob Demovsky, replied to assert that it was not true with an appropriate amount of capital letters.
That was fun for five minutes. It's the sort of wild hypothetical trade your average teenager would try in Madden, so it naturally captured the attention of everybody for the briefest of moments. The fun is now over.
Or is it? Let us pretend, just for a moment, that this was real. The Niners really did call up Green Bay and give a Godfather offer for the reigning MVP. Let's say the offer was the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft, the Niners' second and third-round picks this year, a second in 2022, and a third in 2023. Add that to Jimmy G, then throw in Brandon Aiyuk and Arik Armstead. That's five picks, three starters, and an opportunity to grab an elite supporting talent for Jordan Love at No. 3 or trade down and accumulate even more picks in 2021.
It's hard to imagine the Packers getting a better offer for Rodgers in this imaginary scenario. They get a good enough quarterback to compete this year while still getting Love ready to be the future franchise QB, a pair of starters, and a shot at a top-5 talent that they haven't had in an extremely long time. The Seattle Seahawks back in the early parts of the 2010s showed that building a great team around a rookie QB contract is a path to a Super Bowl. The assets Green Bay would acquire here gives them the best chance to do that with enough money left over to splurge in free agency next year.
Do they say yes? I have a hard time imagining so. Things have been chilly between Rodgers and the organization since the NFC Championship Game, but he's still a walking shot at a championship. As long as he's healthy, the Packers are title favorites. Whereas they could be playoff contenders without him using all the assets acquired from the Niners and could win a Super Bowl if they get lucky with either Garoppolo's health or Love playing up to his potential immediately. That's quite a substantial bet to make, especially considering Rodgers has at least two-three years of elite play in front of him.
An enjoyable thought exercise regardless.