Charles Woodson is a Hall of Famer and a legend. Few players who have played for the Green Bay Packers have the stature and respect he has within the organization. When Woodson speaks, it doesn’t necessarily mean GM Brian Gutekunst and CEO/Chairman Mark Murphy are listening, but it does make news…especially when he’s talking about Aaron Rodgers.
With that in mind, Woodson gave another take on Rodgers’ situation.
Charles Woodson says he would consider trading Aaron Rodgers
There’s reason to believe Rodgers will be back in 2022 for the Packers. We also know the Packers want him back. Murphy made that clear in a recent column on the team’s website.
“[Coach] Mast [LaFleur], [G.M.] brian [Gutekunst], Executive Vice President/Chief Football Operations Officer Russ Ball and I are all in agreement that we want Aaron back,” Murphy wrote. “He is likely to win his fourth league MVP, is the undisputed leader of our team and is still playing at a high level at 38.”
For his part, Woodson doesn’t seem to agree that bringing Rodgers back is the best option for the Packers in the long run.
It might seem counterintuitive to part ways with the MVP three times (probably four times), but there are plenty of scenarios where the Packers could trade the quarterback and recoup a ton of valuable assets in return.
“Honestly, from the perspective of the fans and [from] someone who played with the Packers, I think you would want to see Aaron Rodgers again because we know how this league is. If you have a quarterback, you have a chance. Look at the teams that are in the Super Bowl now. They have great quarterbacks.
“But, I just look at the situation, and if I put my GM hat on and say, ‘What are we going to do next season? And I look at the list that we have. You know what, I’m thinking of trading Aaron Rodgers and seeing what I can get in return for him,” Woodson said, according to NFL.com. “Maybe I can get a quarterback that can help stabilize my quarterback room and get some competition for Jordan Love. I tell LaFleur, ‘Hey, Jordan Love isn’t leaving the building this offseason. We will prepare him to play.
Woodson went on to say the Packers have built a good enough defense to be able to approach next season with confidence, even without Rodgers. Trading Rodgers would also help Green Bay’s cap crunch. The Packers are expected to exceed the cap by nearly $50 million in 2022. Rodgers is $46.4 million of their salary cap.
“If I’m the Packers…you kind of flirted with that last offseason, life without Aaron Rodgers. Now you’re really thinking about the future, so I’m thinking of trading Aaron Rodgers this offseason if I can,” Woodson said.
Woodson and Rodgers won a Super Bowl together
Keep in mind that this isn’t just some random old player who talks little about the situation. Not only is Woodson a Green Bay legend, but he’s also a former Rodgers teammate. Both Rodgers and Woodson played huge roles in helping Green Bay reach the pinnacle of the sport, a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 45.
The Super Bowl victory capped an incredible season for Woodson. He was named both a second-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler thanks to his 92 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, five forced fumbles, two sacks and one defensive touchdown.
He was injured in the first half of the Super Bowl, but Woodson was widely credited with being an emotional leader for the Packers from the sideline. He gave a famous half-time speech that helped Green Bay to the second-half victory.
Woodson spent 11 total seasons with the then Oakland Raiders, but became a Hall of Fame player during his tenure with the Packers.
Potential trade destinations for Rodgers
As mentioned earlier, there are several strong reasons to believe that Rodgers will return to the Packers in 2022. At the top of that list, the Packers want him back. It was reported right after Green Bay’s disappointing playoff run that Rodgers’ return was the top priority for the offseason. If they succeed, they will do everything they can to make this priority a reality.
There is wisdom in what Woodson says, however. If Rodgers honestly doesn’t want to be in Green Bay anymore or feels his best chance of winning a Super Bowl is somewhere else, then the Packers have an obligation to trade it and get as much back as possible.
He will probably never be a more valuable asset to Green Bay. At 38, he’s still clearly playing like an MVP, but how much more elite football does he have in the tank? Tom Brady playing until 44 has skewed expectations of what a quarterback’s career can really be like. It should be remembered that Brady is the exception, not the rule. Rodgers has been clear in the past that there are plenty of other things that interest him outside of football.
Business partners should be plenty for the Packers, but there are two organizations that seem the most logical.
The Denver Broncos have long been an intriguing business partner because they have the leeway to accept Rodgers’ contract and they have some intriguing assets they could send back to Green Bay. That includes the No. 9 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and star young players like wide receiver Jerry Jeudy or cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
The New York Giants have barely been mentioned in regards to Rodgers, but there’s reason to believe they would also be a willing business partner with the Packers.
The Giants are beginning a new regime under head coach Brian Daboll, and they can’t be so confident about Daniel Jones’ status as a long-term quarterback. They have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft (No. 5 and No. 7), and you’d think they’d gladly part with those in exchange for a chance to see what Rodgers can do in the game. Big Apple.
The point is this: The Packers would have no problem trading Rodgers and picking up a plethora of valuable assets in return.
Looking at what’s best for the organization’s future, Woodson might be right. It seems counterintuitive, but perhaps the best thing for the future of the Packers is to ship his former teammate.
Statistics provided by ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Contract information via Spotrac
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