Aaron Rodgers' Top Trade Destinations amid Rumors Packers QB Wants Exit

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs with the ball during the team's NFL divisional playoff football game against the Los Angeles Rams in Green Bay, Wis. Rodgers earned his third Associated Press Most Valuable Player award, Saturday, Feb. 6, at the NFL Honors. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps, File)
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

An Aaron Rodgers trade could alter the NFL landscape if the Green Bay Packers part with the reigning MVP.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported ahead of the 2021 draft that Rodgers is "disgruntled" and "does not want to return to the team." The organization's top personnel have spoken with the quarterback, and the franchise does not intend to part with the veteran.

"As we've stated since the season ended, we are committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond," general manager Brian Gutekunst told ESPN. "Aaron has been a vital part of our success, and we look forward to competing for another championship with him leading our team."

It's still enough to create question marks about his future, especially with 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love waiting in the wings. Assuming the Packers won't trade within the division to the Chicago Bears, a few intriguing destinations remain for Rodgers this offseason. 


San Francisco 49ers

We know the San Francisco 49ers are interested in Rodgers because they reportedly tried to trade for the 37-year-old Wednesday night before Green Bay rejected the offer, per Paul Allen of KFAN (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk).

Perhaps the latest news could have the 49ers picking up the phone once again.

The deal would make perfect sense for Rodgers, who would return close to home in the Bay Area. San Francisco could have had him from the start of his career but went with Alex Smith in the 2005 draft.

It would also put the quarterback on a team that is just one year removed from reaching the Super Bowl with a coach in Kyle Shanahan who knows how to run an offense. The major upgrade under center could have the squad back in title contention.

But this deal likely has a deadline of the draft because the 49ers will probably take a quarterback at No. 3, and the Packers don't need one in a return for a trade. Without first-round picks in any of the next two years, San Francisco won't have the ammo for a deal after Thursday.


New England Patriots

This might be the biggest fear for fans around the league. The New England Patriots finally had a setback without Tom Brady but could add another all-time great quarterback.

New England went 7-9 last year. Then, the organization was extremely aggressive in free agency, adding difference-makers on both sides of the ball, including Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Matt Judon, Jalen Mills, Nelson Agholor and more.

The only area the team didn't upgrade was quarterback, instead re-signing Cam Newton on an incentive-laden deal.

It provides an opening for the Patriots to add someone under center, and there was no one in the NFL better than Rodgers last season.

After seeing Brady win a title with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, Patriots coach Bill Belichick could go all-in for 2021.


Washington Football Team

Just like Brady succeeded by taking over a promising club with a losing record that was a quarterback away from success, Rodgers could do the same with the Washington Football Team.

Washington went 7-9 last year, but it was enough to win the NFC East, thanks mostly to a defense that ranked fourth in the NFL in points allowed and second in yards allowed. The team has one of the league's best defensive lines, and the unit will only get better with experience.

The offense couldn't keep up in 2020, with quarterbacks who combined for just 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions during the regular season.

Replacing the trio of Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Kyle Allen with Rodgers, who had 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions last year, could make this a scary team going into 2021.


Carolina Panthers

Rodgers would have a lot of fun spreading the ball around to Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. The Panthers could immediately have the No. 1 offense in the NFL after the Packers held that honor in 2020. 

After trading Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina is left with Sam Darnold and a lot of unknowns at quarterback. Darnold has shown flashes, but he certainly hasn't proved he can be a long-term option.

Adding Rodgers would solidify the position and potentially get the team back into the playoffs after three straight losing seasons.


Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr has been good in his seven years as a starter for the Las Vegas Raiders. But he isn't great, and it's the reason the team is often linked to available quarterbacks.

While Carr avoids mistakes, Rodgers can win games on his own. He could especially get a lot out of Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs III, Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake. 

The NFL MVP could be the difference between last year's 8-8 finish and contention for the Super Bowl.

Head coach Jon Gruden has spent a long time watching Rodgers and probably wouldn't mind teaming up with the superstar.