The specific circumstances of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson vary wildly and thus it'd be irresponsible to force them into the exact same classification. Yet there is a common theme. All three have been said to be discontent with their current franchise and at least daydreaming of plying their talents elsewhere. Rodgers went public with his frustrations in the most obvious way yet yesterday, Watson was poised for a staredown with the Houston Texans before the dozens of lawsuits appropriately pushed football matters to the backburner, and Wilson can say and do all the right things but wouldn't be human if he wasn't tired of getting his head bashed in behind a porous offensive line.
Night one of the NFL Draft came and went without Green Bay making a move. They seem poised to call Rodgers' bluff, which is the prudent move with months remaining before meaningful football. Wilson and Pete Carroll have publicly downplayed any rift. Watson's future is entirely in jeopardy in ways serious and trivial alike.
It seems we've entered a new time in football where the unicorns at the quarterback position have become disenchanted. And the teams that pay them have become emboldened to say so what?
Tom Pelissero explored the idea of the "must-trade clause" while appearing on Good Morning Football a bit ago:
In this way, NFL front offices have taken a different tact than the one taken by their NBA counterparts. In that league, it seems the squeaky wheel always gets the oil. The James Hardens and Anthony Davises of professional football have yet to materialize. And the 32 front-offices seem to understand that diamond hands are essential in holding the line against the floodgates breaking open.
Now, if forced to project in the long-term, one would have to assume player leverage will only grow in the future. But as of right now, there is just not enough leverage for even the highest-profile talent to unilaterally talk their way out of town and into greener pastures.