GAME OF THROWERS: AARON RODGERS AND RUSSELL WILSON

BY ADAM GREENE

It’s all been speculation related to quotes and comments, but that hasn’t stopped rumors and phone calls to ripple throughout the NFL as to the availability of quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson via trade.

For Rodgers, the uproar originated from his postgame comments after the Green Bay Packers lost the NFC Championship to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When asked about his future with the team, Rodgers said, “I really don’t know. There’s a lot of unknowns going into this offseason now… It’s pretty tough right now, especially thinking about the guys that may or may not be here next year… A lot of guys’… futures are uncertain, myself included. That’s what’s sad about it, getting this far…”

Russell Wilson’s comments were more on point, telling reporters on a Zoom call, “Like any player, you never want to get hit. That’s the reality of playing this position. Ask any quarterback who wants to play this game. But at the same time, it’s part of the job and everything else. I think the reality is that I’ve definitely been hit. I’ve been sacked almost 400 times, so we’ve got to get better… I’m frustrated (about) getting hit to o much. I’m frustrated with that part of it. At the end of the day, you want to win.”

And with that, the Seahawks’ phones were ringing. The Pack’s had been going off for a while, with the Los Angeles Rams reportedly reaching out for Rodgers before closing in on their own mammoth trade deal for Matthew Stafford.

So, let’s answer this question first…

WILL RUSSELL WILSON OR AARON RODGERS BE TRADED THIS OFFSEASON?

That’s a no. Neither guy is going anywhere. This year.

The Packers CEO Mark Murphy literally said, “We’re not idiots. Aaron Rodgers will be back. He’s our leader.”

Seattle has been more coy, but that is their way. General Manager John Schneider won’t hang up the phone on anybody over anything, but let’s be real. They’re not trading Wilson.

IF THEY DID, WHAT WOULD THE PRICE BE?

The floor for this kind of deal was set with the Matthew Stafford to the Rams trade and that’s three first round picks as a starting point, with one of those first rounders being Jared Goff. It would take more than that to land either Rodgers or Wilson.

Wilson has a no-trade clause in his contract, se he would be able to control where he ends up. Rodgers doesn’t, as far as I can tell, but he could always just threaten to retire if he didn’t like Green Bay’s trading partner. To move either guy, they’d have to buy into it as well.

With the floor at three firsts, that’s when you’d start building the trade, adding players or picks. Either way, it’d cost a fortune and the only way it would make sense for the team trading FOR Wilson or Rodgers is if they’re close right now, in their Super Bowl window (like the Rams and Indianapolis Colts). Then you toss off a bunch of future picks to win today.

But here’s the kicker – Trading with a contender is worth nothing to the Packers or Seahawks. The first round return on those “three” picks will be in the late 20s or 30s. The teams that could offer elite first rounders, Top 15 picks, are franchises for which Rodgers or Wilson would refuse to play. So none of it’s happening.

SO WHAT IS HAPPENING?

With Wilson, he’s mad that the Seahawks don’t include him on hiring and personnel decisions and he has the right to be. He’s one of the five best quarterbacks in the league and the face of the franchise. He wants them to beef up their offensive line and put in an offensive philosophy that works better for him and protects him. His 394 sacks since he was drafted nine years ago is the most in the NFL. It amounts to nearly 44 sacks a season. In Seattle’s loss to the Rams in the Wild Card round, Wilson was pressured on 43.8 percent of his drop backs, was sacked five times and hit 10 times.

It’s something Seattle should want to fix. Wilson obviously didn’t think they were doing enough, so he decided to let the media know about it. Reportedly, the Seahawks weren’t pleased, but they can learn to deal with it. Wilson is a good dude, a franchise quarterback and a Super Bowl winner. They need to take care of him.

As for Rodgers, he’s irked that the team was already thinking about their “future without him” when they still have so much future with him. Rodgers still has three years left on his contract that will pay him to play until he’s 40. He just won his third MVP award and deservedly so. But in the last draft instead of selecting a player that could help Green Bay win now, with Rodgers, they traded up to nab his replacement, QB Jordan Love out of Utah State.

Who could they have picked instead? How about Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman Jr., Jonathan Taylor, Antoine Winfield Jr., Cam Akers, J.K. Dobbins, Chase Claypool and you get the point.

Any one of those players would have improved the Packers this season and, perhaps, been the guy that put them over the top on a Super Bowl run. I’m sure Rodgers would have much rather been playing with Winfield Jr. in the NFC Championship than against him.

Rodgers wants offensive lineman and offensive weapons to win now. Green Bay should too, as they have one legitimate NFL receiver on the entire roster in Davante Adams. Now, he’s a great one, maybe the best, but the drop off after him is significant. Guys like Allen Lazard or Marquez Valdes-Scantling would not even make the roster for pretty much every other team in the NFC playoffs outside of Washington.

As they stand right now, the Packers are at +575 to win the NFC Championship, behind only the Bucs. The Seahawks are considerably lower at +1200, tied with the Dallas Cowboys of all teams. But their windows are shrinking, especially with teams like Tampa Bay and Los Angeles that are willing to wheel and deal to get real contenders on the field. Rodgers and Wilson are correct to speak up and push their teams to get better today. Otherwise they’ll just keep watching other franchises hoist Vince Lombardi Trophies from the nearest press box.

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