Rodgers’ soap opera may soon be over
By GERY WOELFEL
Everyone seems to have a take on why the Aaron Rodgers-to-the-Jets trade hasn’t gone down.
The NFL, and not the Jets and not the Packers and most definitely not Rodgers, is calling the shots.
The belief here is the NFL acutely knows the Rodgers’ trade will be the biggest blockbuster news in sports these days and the formal announcement of the trade will be a TV ratings bonanza.
A week or so ago, Packers president Mark Murphy politely declined to discuss the Rodgers’ story. He noted how he was sworn to “secrecy.’’ What? Murphy is the czar of the Packers. He can say whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Unless the NFL instructs him not to talk.
I not only contend the NFL is orchestrating this made-for-TV trade, but that the trade has been consummated. I’m convinced the components to this trade – multiple players and draft picks – have already been settled.
If the Jets and Packers weren’t on the same page for clearly one of the biggest trades in recent NFL history, if they weren’t 100 percent certain of the trade parameters, would Jets general manager Joe Douglas publicly declared last week that “He’s gonna be here,’’ in reference to Rodgers.
Of course, he wouldn’t. Douglas isn’t going to make such a remark unless he was convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that Rodgers would soon be donning a Jets uni.
Douglas is way too smart to make such an egregious misstep, especially in the Big Apple where the media would roast him if the trade didn’t materialize.
In light of Douglas’ comments, in light of Murphy’s refusal to discuss the impending trade, it’s seemingly just a matter of when the NFL deems the time is right to announce this highly anticipated trade to the world.
At some time in the near future, perhaps just before the draft, or maybe during the three-day draft, I have a gut feeling this Rodgers’ soap opera will finally come to an end.
To those brave souls whose livelihood depends on accurately predicting the draft, these must be challenging and trying times. Especially with the compensation for Rodgers still not publicly known.
As of now, the Jets have the 13th overall pick in the first round and the Packers have the 15th overall selection.
The Packers also have one second-round pick – No. 45 overall – and the Jets have two, second-rounds picks: Nos. 42 and 43.
But that figures to change with the Rodgers’ trade.
Will the Jets give the Packer their first-round pick?
Or, will they surrender one of their second-round picks, or even both of them?
If the Packers land the Jets’ first pick, which seems unlikely, to go with their own first-round selection, Green Bay could instantly plug gaping holes at tight end (Michael Mayor of Notre Dame or Dalton Kincaid of Utah) and defensive end (Myles Murphy of Clemson or Lukas Van Ness of Iowa).
And if the Packers secured at least one of the two Jets’ second-rounders, giving them a pair of second-round picks, Green Bay could still address their most conspicuous needs at both positions.
According to the NFL trade value chart, the 42nd pick is valued at 480 points and the 43rd pick is 470 points. Combined that would be the equivalent of the 17th overall pick that is valued at 950 points.
Just for kicks
What if the Packers traded their second round pick, plus the potential two second-round choices from the Jets? According to the trade value chart, that would be the equivalent of the eighth overall pick, which is worth 1,400 points.
According to an NFL scout, the Packers, if they’re so inclined to pick at receiver with their first-round pick, would likely choose between Jaxson Smith-Njigba of Ohio State, Jordan Addison of Southern Cal and perhaps Zay Flowers of Boston College.
“They have Christian Watson and (Romeo) Doubs on the outside, so I’d assume they’d look for an inside (slot) receiver,’’ the scout said. “Smith-Njigba and Addison are considered the best at that spot in this draft, although some people do like Flowers.’’
Some NFL officials believe Smith-Njigba will be chosen before the Packers pick at 15, with Tennessee at 11 being a potential landing spot for him.
Addison has been projected as a mid-to-late first round pick. A source claims Addison is drawing keen interest from the Packers.
The Packers have also shown more than passing interest in Jalin Hyatt of Tennessee. Hyatt has blinding speed, and is projected as a late first-round choice.
Another receiver option?
There is persistent talk the Jets may cut veteran Corey Davis, who has a cap hit of $11.16 million, a bloated sum for the team’s fourth receiver.
Davis, a sixth-year pro who was the fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft, had a career-low 32 catches for 536 yards and two touchdowns last season. Just three seasons ago, though, the 28-year-old Davis had 65 receptions for 984 yards and five touchdowns.
“His production has fallen off; he’s dealt with some injuries,’’ an NFL scout said “But I think he’s a reliable No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. He’s a versatile receiver, and the Packers like to move their receivers around. I think he’d be a good fit there (in Green Bay).’’
Recent No. 15 selections
If history is an accurate indicator, the Packers figure to land a very good player with the 15th overall pick as several players taken at that position in the last 15 years went on to be Pro Bowl selections. Here is that list:
2022 – Kenyon Green, G, Houston
2021 – Mac Jones, QB, New England.
2020 – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver
2019 – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington
2018 – Kolton Miller, OT, Las Vegas
2017 – Malik Hooker, S, Indianapolis
2016 – Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland
2015 – Melvin Gordon, RB, L.A. Chargers
2014 – Ryan Shazier, LB, Pittsburgh
2013 – Kenny Vaccaro, S, New Orleans
2012 – Bruce Irvin, DE, Seattle
2011 – Mike Pouncey, OL, Miami
2010 –Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, N.Y. Giants
2009 – Brian Cushing, LB, Houston.
2008 – Branden Albert, OT, Kansas City