For a few hours on Thursday, during the lead-up to the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, it looks like we might see a true sea change in the NFL. Rumors of a potential Aaron Rodgers trade, starting with the San Francisco 49ers and then transitioning to the Denver Broncos, surged online during the afternoon.
Obviously, no deal was done. The first round came and went, the Green Bay Packers said that they are absolutely not moving the legendary quarterback, and Broncos insiders shot down the report as the draft approached.
The situation is far from resolved, though. There are reports that Rodgers has decided that he’s done with the Packers, and will not play there next year. Green Bay says it has tried to work out a contract extension, to no avail.
Today, one of the NFL folks who had the Broncos side of this story reveals that he heard from Rodgers after the fact. Mark Schlereth told Rodgers’ closest media pal Pat McAfee that the QB slid in his DMs last night, and it certainly sounds like he is interested in a move to Denver, even if it isn’t quite on the table as of now.
"I get a message from @AaronRodgers12
"who's your source? what are you hearing?"
I'm like this is what I heard.. Is it true? You want to come over & get dinner? 😂
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) April 30, 2021
Schlereth made sure to note that he is not a reporter or insider, but got the Broncos-Rodgers trade news from someone outside of the Denver organization that he trusts. The brief conversation he says he had with Aaron Rodgers is also pretty telling.
“He goes, ‘Who’s your source? What are you hearing?’ And I’m like ‘Well, this is what I heard. Is it true? You wanna come over and get some dinner?’
“He didn’t pour cold water on it. He said ‘I’ll let you know as soon as I know.’ The bottom line is, through sources—and it’s all over the internet—he says he’s not going to play in Green Bay.”
There was plenty of speculation that the Denver Broncos would draft a quarterback at No. 9, but wound up passing on both Justin Fields and Mac Jones, taking cornerback Patrick Surtain II. The team says it is happy to roll with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater as we near training camp, but one has to imagine they’d happily take on Rodgers if a deal presents itself once again.
There is always a chance that the Packers could reconsider a trade once June rolls around, which would be much better for their salary cap situation. The team could try and stockpile picks for 2022 and beyond, though it is hard to imagine any team with the reigning MVP having a very high, valuable first-round pick for the next few years.