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Aaron Rodgers to the Raiders? Think Again!

The biggest question this far in the offseason has been where is Aaron Rodgers going to end up? There have been a few teams mentioned as possible landing spots such as the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys, but the one team mentioned most is the Las Vegas Raiders.

Is Rodgers a Fit with McDaniels and the Current Regime?

Aaron Rodgers has quite the personality, which, consequently, being a fit in the team is far from being considered a lock. Other questions that beg to be asked are: does the money and draft compensation exceed what the Raiders would like to spend and are there another options in the draft or free agency?  The biggest question of all, naturally, should be that will Packers actually trade a first-ballot hall-of-famer and former Multiple time league MVP?

Former Green Bay Packers writer Bob McGinn insisted he has seen the tell-tale signs of an impending split between the franchise and Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers started his four-day “darkness retreat” last week to determine whether he would play again in 2023, but McGinn told on Friday that he is “totally convinced” the four-time MVP will not be back as the team’s starting quarterback next season. They are done with Rodgers,” McGinn said. “He’s not coming back. I mean, they’re disgusted with him, and they’re moving on.”

McGinn covered the Packers for the Green Bay Press-Gazette and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for nearly 40 years and retired in 2017. He added that the team was high on Jordan Love and “they think he’s the second coming now.”

Going into 2023, Rodgers will earn a base salary of $1,165,000, a signing bonus of $58,300,000, and a workout bonus of $50,000, while carrying a cap hit of $31,623,568 and a massive dead cap value of $99,778,568, according to Spotrac.

From the Packers’ perspective, they are in between a rock and a hard place because they don’t have the option of releasing Rodgers. The dead money hit of more than $99 million would be too much for them to even consider.

Since Rodgers was named the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008, he has led the team to a 147-75-1 record, which included 10 Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl victory in 2011.

He’s also led the Packers to 10 winning seasons when playing at least 16 games.

 The Raiders have moved on from Derek Carr this season; a decision which became less about who would replace him and more about cutting ties with a quarterback they didn’t believe could help them achieve their ultimate goal.

Derek Carr played 9 seasons for the Raiders where he threw for 35,222 yards and 217 touchdowns in his tenure. He was selected to play in 3 Pro Bowls. Statistically, he is the best QB to ever play for the Raiders, however, the one stat that he does not lead in is the only one that matters–wins. The Raiders have been a bad organization for 20 years, and in Carr’s 9-year tenure, he has elevated the Raiders from a bad to a not quite as bad organization, which is not something to write home about, per se. As a result of constant mediocre performance, this was the year the organization decided to seek better, even if it may hurt.

So Where Does That Leave the Raiders?

With the vacancy at QB looming, the Raiders may want to right the wrongs of 18 years ago, where the Raiders elected to draft Fabian Washington instead of Aaron Rodgers.

“We’re in charge of filling the most important position on the team,” Ziegler said. “There’s some pressure that comes along with that, and however we fill it, it doesn’t mean we’re going to have an immediate answer this year. But, at the end of the day, we have to have an answer in some form or fashion. There’s the pressure that comes along with it. That’s also part of the excitement too.”

The Raiders brass may not prioritize improving the quarterback position immediately and may value drafting the possible Quarterback of the next decade. Many have linked Ohio State QB, CJ Stroud to the Raiders, but unless the Raiders around are willing to move up, he may not be an option for the them at the 7th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Quaterback prospects Will Levis and Anthony Richardson might be in play at 7 overall, but that leaves the glaring possibility that Josh Mcdaniels will be selecting the QB for his successor. During an appearance on the Bussin’ With the Boys Podcast, which was taped before Carr was released, General Manager Dave Ziegler talked about being in the position to make that call and acknowledged that the team may not come up with that long-term answer this offseason.

NFL veterans Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Jackson are not viable, nor feasible options, and QBs Daniel Jones and Geno Smith have more value to the organizations who which they currently play. Some would say signs point to The Raiders reuniting with one of three of the former QBs that played under Josh McDaniels– Jimmy Garoppolo, Mac Jones, or Jared Stidham. These options seem likely, but keep in mind that Mac Jones is under contract and would have to be traded, while Jimmy Garropolo will have teams in the NFC South drive up the market price for an injury-prone QB. Now in the case of Jared Stidham, I can assure you that this acqisition will not excite the fanbase or Mark Davis, unless the QB of the future is added to the roster via the draft.

It seems almost certain that the Green Bay Packers are ready to move on from Rodgers, but the signs forecast that the situation between Rodgers and the Packers will get messy in the weeks ahead. This bodes well for the Raiders to get Rodgers in a trade, which would make sense for both sides, considering the circumstances. Now there is the possibility of the Packers drawing a line in the sand and keeping him on the Packers’ roster, but that strategy could open up another long list of regrettable outcomes for the team. Nonetheless, we are now in wait-and-see mode, infused with rumors of the New York jets being involved in the Rodgers sweepstakes.

Now, just how plausible is a Rodgers trade to the Raiders? For a modest price, highly unlikely, especially with the rumor swirling that it will likely cost the Raiders a first-round pick. After all, Rodgers contract does not contain a no-trade clause meaning that the Packers can trade him wherever they want, especially if Rodgers isn’t set on only playing for the Raiders. 

Raiders owner Mark Davis is ultimately going to be the deciding factor on how serious the Raiders actually are regarding an acquisition of Rodgers because if the Mcdaniels/Zeigler regime are being held to a win-now standard then I see them doing whatever it takes to win now. Conversely, if Davis is on board with building long-term success, then it does not make much sense to trade for a QB on the wrong side of 30.  Keep in mind, Mark wants to build a consistent winner. A prime example of this being true was his 10-year commitment to Gruden. This was initially his attempt to build what the Patriots had built in the early 2000s. It is for this reason why Mr. Davis is committed to building this team for the long haul, as opposed to attempting to build an overnight success. Conversely, a kingdom can also fall overnight and Davis will have to stop the bleeding. In summation, I predict that the Raiders will make a move up draft board in a blockbuster trade, while Rodgers goes back to Green Bay with a reworked deal.

The start of the league year begins on March 15. Under Rodgers’ current deal, nothing will happen pre-June 1st because of the cap hit, so this saga will drag out under its current structure, which makes trading for Rodgers difficult.

Aaron Rodgers signed a three-year, $150 million contract with the Packers on March 14, 2022. Rodgers received $101.4 million in full guarantees and $150.66 million in injury guarantees. Rodgers received a $40.8 million signing bonus as part of the contract. The Packers can pick up a guaranteed option in 2023 worth $58.3 million. If Rodgers is on the roster on the 5th day of the 2024 waiver period, his salary, for the year, and a $47 million option bonus will be fully guaranteed. The team has two dummy years on the contract for salary cap purposes. Technically, they are not void years but they are not seasons that Rodgers would be asked to honor if he were on the roster.

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