Rodgers trade could have ripple effect that impacts Bears’ plans originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
There’s a chance that Aaron Rodgers’ final game as a Green Bay Packer at Soldier Field took place on Dec. 4 when he saluted Bears fans following a 28-19 win in Week 13.
On Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the prospect of the Packers trading Rodgers this offseason is “a real possibility.” If Rodgers has indeed played his final game in green and gold, his exit could have an impact on a pivotal offseason for the division rival he has owned since 2008.
The Bears finished the season at 3-14 and own the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. General manager Ryan Poles said quarterback Justin Fields would be his starter in 2023 and that he would have to be “blown away” to draft a quarterback at No. 1.
Poles expects to have quarterback-needy teams beating down his door to trade for the pick come late March.
But Rodgers, Derek Carr, Lamar Jackson, Tom Brady, and the rest of the veteran offseason quarterback carousel will determine how many teams and which ones burn up the Halas Hall phones lines after striking out on the cream of the veteran crop.
There are two types of quarterback-needy teams: those who believe they are a quarterback away from contention and those starting from the ground up. The latter — think Texans, Colts, Panthers — won’t be logical destinations for a 39-year-old Rodgers, who will want to go somewhere with realistic title dreams and not spend the final years of his career in NFL purgatory.
The Jets, Raiders, Commanders, and Saints appear to be the most likely contenders for Rodgers, Carr, and Brady.
Whichever team(s) are left standing when the music stops will have their desperation to find a quarterback ratcheted up tenfold.
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From where we sit in mid-January, it seems likely the Colts and Texans will end up having a bidding war to see which will jump up to No. 1 to draft either C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young.
But don’t discount the possibility of a faux-contender that misses out on Rodgers — should the Packers trade him — deciding now is the time to make a big play for a franchise quarterback in the draft.
The Raiders sit at No. 7, the Panthers are at No. 9, the Jets at No. 13, and the Commanders at No. 16.
The Jets have done a tremendous job of building a young, talented roster that has the look of a contender. But it’s clear they whiffed on Zach Wilson and now have to find a suitable option under center who won’t torpedo their title dreams. That could be Mike White. If Rodgers becomes available, the Jets would seem like the best potential landing spot for the spotlight-craving, attention-loving superstar.
But what if Rodgers isn’t moved, Carr goes to Washington, and Brady heads to Las Vegas? If the Jets really believe they have everything else needed to contend for a title, they could look to make a similar to the one the 49ers made in 2021 when they moved up from No. 12 to No. 3 to draft Trey Lance.
The Bears moving down to No. 13 is probably not appetizing to Poles unless the draft haul is massive.
But that’s just an example of how a Rodgers trade, should it materialize or not, could create a ripple effect that injects unlikely teams into the bidding for the No. 1 pick.
This all probably ends with Rodgers back in Green Bay in 2023. But the Bears will undoubtedly be very interested in how the offseason saga in Green Bay unfolds — for more reasons than one.
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