National Football League

Are the Denver Broncos a fit for Aaron Rodgers amid discontent with Packers?

4 days ago

The AFC West could be getting a major injection of intrigue in 2021.

It all comes down to the ongoing saga that is Aaron Rodgers and his dissatisfaction with the Green Bay Packers.

Long story short, in case you've missed it: Rodgers wants out of Green Bay and reportedly can't see himself returning to the team.

His unhappiness is rooted in many perceived slights by the team, including (but not limited to) Green Bay's decision to trade up to select quarterback Jordan Love in the 2020 NFL Draft, per reports.

Meanwhile, the Packers have publicly said they "remain committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond."

There are three options on the table for how this scenario will end, ruling out the idea that the Packers would cut the superstar quarterback outright.

One of those options is Rodgers and the Packers could reach a truce, let bygones be bygones and work together to make a run to a third straight NFC Championship.

By all accounts, that doesn't seem likely at the moment. 

Another option: Rodgers forces Green Bay's hand by threatening retirement ⁠— where a gig as the new host of "Jeopardy!" appears to be a potential career opportunity.

Retirement also seems unlikely, given the money Rodgers would give up on his current contract.

Plus, as Marcellus Wiley of "Speak For Yourself" noted, a Rodgers threat to retire doesn't carry all that much weight. 

"You can't just come out there and say you're done unless you're gonna really mean it," Wiley said. "Because 'I'm done! Unless I stay here and get what I want. I'm done! Unless I go to these other teams means we know you're not really done."

That leaves the third option, which is a trade of the reigning league MVP.

As unbelievable as that sounds, with the way the drama has played out, it isn't out of the realm of possibility. 

The team reportedly making the biggest push is the Denver Broncos, per ESPN's Dianna Russini.

Denver's current crop of quarterbacks includes the recently acquired Teddy Bridgewater, incumbent starter Drew Lock and presumed third-stringer Brett Rypien.

Rodgers would walk onto that team and instantly be the starting quarterback, which, to be fair, could be said about all but about a handful of other locker rooms in the NFL.

One of those "other" locker rooms belongs to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who would become division rivals if Rodgers were to wind up with the Broncos in the AFC West.

Having Mahomes, the 2018 MVP, and Rodgers, the 2020 MVP, in the same division would be a tantalizing proposition, and one that Nick Wright of "First Things First" believes makes sense for Rodgers.

For Wright, the path to the Super Bowl works its way through Mahomes, so it'd behoove Rodgers to try to damage Kansas City's prospects by winning the AFC West.

"You're not going to avoid [Mahomes]," Wright said. "He's going to be there at the end of the year no matter what, so you might as well try to make his path harder by winning his division. So, yeah, this makes sense to me." 

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It also works for Rodgers from a legacy standpoint, Brandon Marshall noted.

This past Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was built up as a clash of Mahomes, aka "The Baby GOAT," and Tom Brady, aka "The GOAT."

In Marshall's mind, getting two cracks at Mahomes every season would give Rodgers an easy avenue to reinsert himself in that discussion. 

Of course, as with any saga, there are plenty of chapters that need to be written before the story is complete. Even if a trade to the Broncos makes sense for the Packers, as they would at least get the superstar out of their conference, myriad other factors still need to be taken into account.

One of the most important factors, if a trade is forthcoming, is timing. The June 1 date is important on the NFL calendar and plays a massive role in how any Rodgers trade would impact Green Bay's salary cap.

As Russini noted in her report, that is the earliest Rodgers could be on move.

"If you're going to see any movement with Aaron Rodgers, [it] is going to be after that June 1 date," Russini said.

Until then, the NFL world will be waiting with bated breath.

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