The most tangible evidence yet of a thawing of the ice between the Packers and Jets came on Monday, when Green Bay G.M. Brian Gutekunst admitted his team won’t necessarily get a first-round pick for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. That statement fairly can be interpreted as an indication that the Packers finally have abandoned their insistence on a package highlighted by a surrender of the 13th overall selection in the upcoming draft.
But it also hints at the possibility of a first-round pick in 2024, based on future events.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports has the latest from Arizona, where all teams are gathered and the two teams at the current center of the NFL’s universe might finally resolve their differences on a deal that is becoming increasingly inevitable.
The Jets have been willing, we’ve been told, to part ways with a pair of second-round picks. As Robinson characterizes the current talks, Green Bay would get a second-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024, which could move to a first-round pick based on how the Jets do with Rodgers on the team in 2023.
Also at issue is the possibility that Rodgers, who claims he was 90-percent leaning toward retirement when he started his recent darkness retreat, will spend only one year in New York before calling it a career. The Jets would like protection against that possibility, in the form of a pick that would flow back to New York in 2025.
While it may not be easy to push an agreement over the finish line, it sounds as if the discussions have finally moved past square one, where the Packers had dug in their heels on expecting New York’s round-one pick in 2023.
Why wouldn’t the Packers allow for the 2024 selection to hinge on team and/or player performance in 2023? The two franchises used a device like that when Brett Favre made the trek from Frozen Tundra to Oversized Apple in 2008. And why not protect the Jets against the possibility that Rodgers will decide to call it quits after only one season?
The Packers are clearly done with Rodgers. Anything they get for a guy who will never play for them again is a bonus. If they end up with a second-round pick this year, as much as a first-round pick next year, and ultimately have to give back a mid-round pick in 2025, that’s a damn good parting gift for the franchise that has already mentally parted ways with another franchise quarterback — just in time to find out whether they’ll end up going three for three in the clumsy baton exchange from Favre to Rodgers to Jordan Love.