As the Aaron Rodgers saga veers dangerously close to the start of training camp, the question remains: Will the Green Bay Packers truly entertain the possibility of trading the defending MVP? And which teams will pay the surely enormous price to land him?
The Denver Broncos have long been considered a potential suitor. However, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Sunday that, "Per a league source, the Broncos are leery about the total cost of trading for Rodgers, between his expected compensation and the general belief that the Packers would want three first-round picks and a second-round pick for him.
Here's what we know at the moment: So murky is the Rodgers' situation that a number of sportsbooks have pulled their NFC North markets, responding to speculation that Rodgers might retire, per Bill Huber of SI.com.
Then there was this on Friday:
One interpretation? The Chicago Bulls dynasty, featuring Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, eventually ended—arguably before it needed to—as players and head coach Phil Jackson feuded with the direction the front office wanted to take the team.
Perhaps Rodgers and Davante Adams—who reportedly had contract talks break down with the Packers this week, per ESPN—believe they are in a similar situation to those Bulls. Granted, Jordan, Pippen and Jackson were coming off three straight NBA titles, not two straight losses in the NFC Championship.
As ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in April, Rodgers' desire to leave the Packers stems from issues with management. At every turn, the Packers have publicly maintained they won't trade the superstar quarterback. Neither side has budged to this point.
But perhaps an enormous deal, like the one Florio mentioned, could sway Green Bay's thinking. Would Denver be willing to offer such a haul, though? Is their roster close enough title contention to give up that level of draft capital for a player like Rodgers, especially given the lucrative extension he'll likely seek?
Players like Rodgers don't grow on trees. There's no guarantee the Broncos will ever get another shot, with their current core, at a quarterback this good. The price point might hurt—and Denver could wait to see if it comes down—but titles soothe all wounds. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the perfect example of how a franchise quarterback can turn a promising team into a champion.
It might be a gamble the Broncos have to take.