The Denver Broncos are reportedly gaining increasing traction in potential trade discussions for Aaron Rodgers.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter on Sunday that Rodgers is "dug in" on his trade request, and a move to Denver has become a source of intrigue:
"The Packers are still actively looking for solutions here; they're trying to keep an open line of communication with Aaron Rodgers and his agent, Dave Dunn. So, no traction in the short term. But many people around the league believe Aaron Rodgers is indeed 'dug in,' and there's a belief by some that he wants to be out West. Denver is a team that's buzzing in league circles. I was told by a source that Denver is 'monitoring' that situation right now. But they're also coming out of the draft days, and they're in the team-building mode. They really like Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, so they're not committed or tied to anything. Talking to people around the league, they say about 60-40 they think that Rodgers is dealt."
Rodgers' push to exit Green Bay has become the biggest story in the NFL over the last two weeks, even as the Packers continue to publicly say they have no interest in moving the reigning league MVP. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has made several public comments since news of Rodgers' trade request became public, all of which reaffirm the team's commitment to the quarterback.
"I had no [trade] discussions with any team. I received one call from a team Thursday night after all the news came out. I said no. That was the end of the conversation," Gutekunst told Peter King of NBC Sports.
A breakup between Rodgers and the Packers has been more than a year in the making. Rodgers was angered by the team's seeming lack of urgency in the 2020 NFL draft, with the Packers loading up on backups in the first three rounds rather than focusing on instant-impact talent. The most notable of those picks, first-round quarterback Jordan Love, also sent a signal to Rodgers that he may no longer be in the team's long-term plans.
Rodgers admitted he wasn't "thrilled" by the pick at the time, and the decision seemingly severed any chance he and Gutekunst had of a working relationship. Bob McGinn of The Athletic reported Rodgers called Gutekunst "Jerry Krause" in team group chats last season. Krause, the late Hall of Fame general manager of the 1990s Chicago Bulls, is largely blamed for the dissolution of the team amid a falling out with coach Phil Jackson and contentious relationship with Michael Jordan.
It's unclear if Rodgers would return to Green Bay with Gutekunst still serving as the team's general manager.
The Broncos are a seemingly natural fit because they've done what Green Bay has not in recent seasons: invested a significant portion of their draft resources to young skill-position talent. Denver has added Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Javonte Williams in high-leverage rounds since 2018.
Their biggest roster issue is arguably at quarterback, with Drew Lock failing to develop in his first two NFL seasons and Bridgewater being a below-average starting QB.
Trading for Rodgers would catapult Denver instantly into the playoff—and perhaps Super Bowl—conversation.