Five Destinations For Aaron Rodgers in 2022

Will he stay, leave or retire? The offseason of Aaron Rodgers is underway after a stunning loss to the 49ers on Saturday.

Rodgers should be able to orchestrate a trade if he wishes, based on his contact. And if he does, there are a few factors to consider.

Rodgers does not have a no-trade clause in his contract. Meaning, he can’t veto a trade partner as Deshaun Watson can. Still, Rodgers has almost de facto veto power. Rodgers has already mentioned retirement on more than one occasion over the past nine months. So a team will not trade three first-round picks — which the Packers may demand — for a 38-year-old quarterback who doesn’t want to play for them. Should a team trade the farm for Rodgers, it will be a team on his wish list.

Second, Green Bay is unlikely to trade Rodgers to an NFC rival, a team that prevents the Packers from making or advancing in the playoffs. So the Saints aren’t trading for Rodgers.

With that said, here are my predictions on the five most likely destinations for Rodgers this offseason:

Pittsburgh Steelers

If Rodgers can stomach another unglamorous market, the Steelers offer perks other destinations do not.

The Steelers will need a new quarterback after Ben Roethlisberger officially retires this offseason. Pittsburgh has a top-three head coach in Mike Tomlin, a trio of wide receivers, stud rookie running back Najee Harris, and a defense led by Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt.

The question is whether the Steelers could win a bidding war for Rodgers. Pittsburgh’s front office values draft picks and development. Historically, the Steelers have not traded the house for anyone. So is Rodgers the exception?

Well, a recent report from NFL.com claimed Pittsburgh is fine heading into next season with Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins competing for the starting job. So Rodgers may have to be adamant about going to Pittsburgh for the Steelers to acquire him.

Denver Broncos

Ian Rapoport reported before the season that the Broncos were one of Rodgers’ preferred destinations. Rodgers likes the idea of playing for John Elway, the Broncos’ president of football operations. 

Denver’s roster is a quarterback away from the playoffs and probably competing with the AFC’s best. The Broncos have a defense, a solid run game and a winning culture.

Moreover, the Broncos’ aggressive front office is desperate for a quarterback and likely open to trading more than just three first-round picks in exchange for Rodgers.

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders made the playoffs this year, despite losing their head coach at midseason.

Vegas is non-committal to Derek Carr and could also offer Carr in trade talks to get a deal done for Rodgers. If Green Bay isn’t sold on Jordan Love, Carr could keep the Packers atop the NFC North in addition to two first-round picks from Vegas.

Rodgers is from the West Coast and living in Las Vegas is more appealing than places like Green Bay, Denver and Pittsburgh. I mean, no offense to those cities.

Don’t be surprised if Rodgers includes the Raiders on his shortlist of preferred trade destinations.

Green Bay Packers

The probability chart that Rodgers returns to Green Bay is a piece of work — going up and down, then back up and down again. Right now, the arrow points down.

Before Saturday’s loss to the 49ers, it was hard to envision Rodgers leaving the Packers, the team favored to win the Super Bowl. Then, all of a sudden, hope in Green Bay fell dim. The Packers failed to make the Super Bowl after clinching the NFC’s No. 1 seed in back-to-back years. In a now or never scenario, this iteration of Packers is limping toward never.

Because of salary cap issues, Green Bay may have to part ways with several key starters. Rodgers made clear after the game he does not want to participate in a rebuild.

“I don’t want to be part of a rebuild, if I’m going to keep playing,” he said.

The positive is that Rodgers’ relationship with team GM Brian Gutekunst has grown “a lot.Put the chances Rodgers returns to Green Bay at 50-50.

Retirement

In December, Aaron Rodgers said he would not rule out retiring after this season.

“I wouldn’t rule [retiring] out,” Rodgers said. “I’m just enjoying this season for this season, and I think playing next year will definitely be in the thought process. One of the things — wanting to not be a bum on the way out, and still being able to play [well] is important to me.”

Rodgers is 38 and coming off another MVP season. So I’d rank a retirement as unlikely, though more likely than playing for the Browns, Dolphins or Colts, as some sports tweeters have suggested.

Please, don’t retire, Aaron.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

6 Comments

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  1. Teams that should be backing up the dump truck full of money to sign Aaron Rogers:
    1) Tennessee (talent everywhere except at QB)
    2) Miami (see #1)
    3) San Francisco (unless they actually pull it off this season, otherwise, see #1)

  2. I thought the AFC teams already mentioned would be a good landing spot for AR but, after watching Mahomes and Allen play last night, I’m not confident AR can get to a SB through the AFC. Plus Burrow, plus Herbert, etc. make the AFC a tougher gauntlet to get through than the NFC.

  3. I am probably dreaming as a cowboys fan but Dak for Rodgers straight up. Cowboys have a win now team (Not sure if Rodgers and McCarthy want to go for it again) and Dak is not the answer. I would take 2 more years of Rodgers over a future with Dak. Plus the division is terrible, he will automatically make the playoffs and get a home game or two. Which team would say no if Rodgers want to leave?

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