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The Jets lost their leverage in an Aaron Rodgers trade

The New York Jets and Green Bay Packers seem to be locked in some sort of Texas standoff in the Aaron Rodgers trade. Neither side moving an inch, neither side getting up from the table but making it very clear that compensation is the only thing holding up this trade. With both sides seemingly staring at each other like anxious middle schoolers at a dance, the topic of “leverage” has come up. Who has the upper hand in this acquisition of the future Hall of Fame QB? What will the compensation be?

Then the Jets happened.

The Jets spoke to Aaron Rodgers first before going to the Packers with any actual compensation or a deal in place, nullifying their leverage (the Packers did grant the Jets the ability to talk to Rodgers). They put the cart before the horse, and by doing that ensured that the Packers would hold all the cards at this table.

Let’s be clear: there is only one team that’s in on the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes, and that is the New York Jets. No other team has reportedly been interested, and Rodgers himself said on the Pat McAfee Show that he intends on playing next year in New York for the Jets. The Jets have already begun to assemble the Knights of the Rodgers table, including Nathaniel Hackett, who will be the Jets offensive coordinator, and Allen Lazard.

Again, this is all being done without a deal in place for Rodgers. Essentially, the Jets are getting everything ready for Rodgers without actually being close to a deal for him. While being the only team could possibly swing some of the power back to the Jets, New York also has no other contingency plan if this falls through. They’ve gotten into bed with Rodgers, and ensured that there’s no other option but him. Zach Wilson is going to be the team’s backup, behind…Christ Streveler at this point. New York made it clear that they’re not going after Lamar Jackson, citing being “disingenuous and being in bad faith” if they did.

So this brings them back to the Packers brass, but now they have no other plan B. It’s either Rodgers or bust, which works in Green Bay’s favor.

Now let’s examine this from the Packers’ perspective. Rodgers is done in Green Bay; both the Packers and their former QB have acknowledged that. However, Rodgers isn’t retiring, so the rights to his fully guaranteed contract wouldn’t be forfeited. If the Packers were indeed trading Rodgers, they would have to eat around $40 million in dead cap, which is something that’ll have to be discussed in trade negotiations with the Jets. The cap hit if Rodgers was released would also be enormous, so a trade is the only likely thing.

However, with Jordan Love already in the fold and Packers brass making sure that he’s going to be the starter next year, the Packers could just hold on to Rodgers past the draft until the Jets make an offer that’s more suitable to their needs. They don’t need to trade Aaron Rodgers right now; the Jets need to trade for Rodgers right now, because they have no other choice.

Right now, the Packers have the leverage. They can ask for a first round pick (13th overall pick this year perhaps) and if the Jets say no, then they can wait for a better offer. They’re not the ones desperate to make a deal. New York has already told Rodgers that they want him there, and Rodgers wants to be there. Now the Jets have to make an offer the Packers like, but it didn’t have to be this way. They went to Rodgers first, without having any compensation beforehand, and now have booked themselves into a corner.

The Jets had the perfect opportunity to get Rodgers without losing all of their leverage. However, through one misstep they conceded the leverage to the Packers and now have had the tables turned on them.

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