Aaron Rodgers trade, revisited: Complete timeline, details of Jets-Packers trade saga

From Green Bay to Gang Green.

Aaron Rodgers spent the first 18 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Packers, winning four MVPs and a Super Bowl. But, the relationship began to splinter in 2020, when Green Bay selected Utah passer Jordan Love with its first-round pick.

The divorce between Rodgers and the Packers was somewhat acrimonious, but this past April, it was finalized when Rodgers was shipped to the Jets for a package of picks. In the months since, Rodgers has seemingly found the Fountain of Youth, doing up the town in a style that would make “Broadway Joe” proud.

MORE: Why Aaron Rodgers and the Jets will win Super Bowl 58

While both sides got what they wanted out of the deal — the Jets, a potential franchise savior and the Packers, a package of picks to retool with — there was a lot more that went into the negotiations than a couple of phone calls.

Here’s how the Jets-Packers deal was finalized, and the saga that preceded it:

Aaron Rodgers trade details

On April 25, the Jets and Packers finalized a deal that sent four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers to the Jets for a first-round pick swap in the 2023 NFL Draft plus a bit more.

Here’s how the deal shook out:

Jets receive:

  • QB Aaron Rodgers
  • 2023 first-round pick (No. 15 overall: DE Will McDonald IV)
  • 2023 fifth-round pick (No. 170 overall: Traded to Raiders)

Packers receive:

  • 2023 first-round pick (No. 13: DE Lukas Van Ness)
  • 2023 second-round pick (No. 42: TE Luke Musgrave)
  • 2023 sixth-round pick (No. 207: K Anders Carlson)
  • 2024 conditional second-round pick (becomes a first if Rodgers plays 65 percent of snaps)

Both sides made out well in the deal; The Jets got the potential missing piece they needed for a Super Bowl run, while the Packers picked up a fair amount of picks for a player who didn’t exactly have a place with the team anymore.

MORE: Aaron Rodgers trade grades — Who made out better in the deal?

Aaron Rodgers trade timeline

It wasn’t a straight line from Green Bay to the Big Apple this past offseason, with a number of twists, standoffs and debates surrounding “leverage” throughout the entire saga.

It all started on…

Monday, Jan. 9, 2023: After a Week 18 loss to the Detroit Lions, Aaron Rodgers is asked to ponder his future in a Packers uniform. While this is a question that had been asked ad nauseam since the Packers drafted Jordan Love in 2020, Rodgers is a bit less definitive of what the future might hold for him.

“It’s just a little bit after the game, so (I) want to take the emotion out of it and have conversations and see where the organization’s at and see how I feel after some time has passed,” he says postgame.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023: In his weekly spot on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers doesn’t say one way or the other which way he’s leaning — to play or retire.

“They’re (the Packers) not pressing for any type of specific answer and I’m not mentally or emotionally at that point to give one,” he said on the show. “It’s get away from it mentally and emotionally, and physically as your body starts to come back after a few weeks of TLC then I think you’re in a better frame of mind to contemplate your future.”

Rodgers says he needs to get back to feeling right mentally and physically before coming to any kind of decision. He does, though, leave the door open to playing somewhere other than Green Bay.

“Do I still think I can play? Of course. Can I play at a high level? Yeah. The highest. I think I can win MVP again in the right situation. Is that Green Bay or is that somewhere else? I’m not sure. But I don’t think you should shut down any opportunity.”

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Monday, Jan. 23, 2023: While Rodgers contemplates his future, others are doing some thinking surrounding the situation for him. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says that trading Aaron Rodgers is certainly a possibility, but the price would have to be right for Green Bay.

“Because of the way his contract is structured, a trade is possible,” he said on “The Pat McAfee Show” (which is a recurring theme here). “It’s like — you can do it financially, you can come up with the compensation, I think Green Bay likes what they have in Jordan Love. If they got the right package, you could do a deal.”

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023: ESPN’s Adam Schefter churns the rumor mill, saying that the Packers would like to deal Rodgers exclusively to the AFC.

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023: The Sporting News pegs the Jets as the best fit for Aaron Rodgers.

Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023: The Jets make an intriguing hire after canning offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Nathaniel Hackett, the beleaguered former head coach of the Broncos, is hired as the team’s new OC. Hackett, though, has a background of working with Aaron Rodgers, and was on the sideline for the two most recent of Rodgers’ four MVPs.

Rodgers thinks very highly of Hackett, too.

“There’s nobody in the building that brings me more joy, or is more fun to be around than Nathaniel Hackett,” Rodgers says of his former OC.

MORE: Aaron Rodgers back to his ‘old’ self with the Jets

Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023: Schefter reports that a trade remains a possibility for Rodgers, and that the team would “prefer” to move on from him this offseason.

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023: Rodgers says there are one or two possibilities for his future on an episode of “The Pat McAfee Show.” He also said that the Packers are having “conversations” surrounding his future that aren’t involving him, which is “interesting.”

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023: Standout Jets CB Sauce Gardner clues in that the Jets may be looking to make a move at quarterback with the Rodgers rumors swirling.

“I can’t speak on it too too much. But I know a little something about something,” Gardner says on “Good Morning Football.”

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023: Rodgers details his forthcoming (and now famed) “darkness retreat,” saying he will hope to have a decision on his future after his four days in total and complete isolation.

“I’m still in the art of contemplation about my future,” he says on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “After my isolation retreat I’ll be ready to make a decision.”

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023: After months of rumor and conjecture, the gears are beginning to turn on a potential trade. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Jets have inquired about Rodgers’ availability, and the two sides seem like a natural fit.

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023: There’s a lot of smoke surrounding Rodgers and a decision regarding his future, but don’t expect that info to come from Adam Schefter or Ian Rapoport.

“When it comes to me, they don’t know s—,” Rodgers says of the two NFL insiders.

During the same “Pat McAfee Show” spot, Rodgers says that Green Bay will always hold a place in his heart.

“Eighteen years, man, that’s always gonna be home,” Rodgers said, perhaps paving a path for a Packers exit.

Friday, Feb. 17, 2023: While Rodgers hasn’t made a decision on his future, the Packers may have. Former Packers beat writer Bob McGinn makes no qualms about what Green Bay’s stance on Rodgers is as the passer mulls his future.

“They’re disgusted with him, and they’re done with him,” McGinn says on the “Go Long Podcast.”

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Friday, Feb. 17, 2023: Rodgers enters his darkness retreat, set to spend four days and four nights in total isolation. Once he emerges from the retreat, he should be set for a decision regarding his future.

MORE: Aaron Rodgers darkness retreat, explained

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023: Another twist in the Rodgers saga: ESPN’s Jeff Darlington reports that a source within the Packers believes that the entire situation is “overhyped” and that No. 12 will be back in a Packers uniform to start the 2023 season. The contract is a big part of it.

“The first of which is a conversation I had with a very important Green Bay Packers source, who quite honestly believes that Aaron Rodgers will be back with the Packers and that all of this is being overhyped,” Darlington said. “He looks at the contract that Aaron Rodgers signed last year, the commitment that he gave to the team, and believes that, at the end of the day, Aaron Rodgers will be back with the Packers.”

That’s not the only sign that Rodgers may return. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Packers want Rodgers back, “as long as he’s fully bought in.” That pretty much contradicts the McGinn report (what a tangled web we weave).

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023: Still no word on Rodgers’ future, but Packers GM Brian Gutekunst says that there hasn’t been much discussion about the QB staying.

“We haven’t really had those conversations yet,” Gutekunst told reporters. “Not a lot to report until we have those conversations. … We’ve exchanged some texts and things like that, but we haven’t had a chance to speak yet. …

“All options are on the table,” he adds.

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023: Las Vegas head coach Josh McDaniels seems to take the Raiders out of the running for Rodgers, saying the team still has to do work on who their QB will be for 2023. So, for now, no Rodgers-to-Davante Adams reunion.

Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023: Former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall posts a confusing Instagram message, congratulating Rodgers on a great career. In a longer message on YouTube, Marshall says that Rodgers “should” retire, not that he “has” retired.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023: As the calendar flips to March, there’s still no word on whether or not Rodgers will retire or play in 2023. In his first appearance since his darkness retreat, on “The Aubrey Marcus Podcast”, (take that, McAfee!) Rodgers says that a decision on his future will come “soon enough,” and that it’s in everyone’s best interest for him to make a decision sooner rather than later.

“For everybody involved directly and indirectly, it’s best for a decision earlier,” he says. “I feel really good about the conversations that are going to be had, that have been had with important people in my life. …

“If you don’t like it and you think it’s drama, and you think I’m being a diva or whatever, then just tune it out. That’s fine. But this is my life. It’s important to me. I’ll make a decision soon enough and we’ll go down that road. I’ll be really excited about it.”

Monday, March 6, 2023: As the NFL world continues to wait on Rodgers, a “roadblock” in the form of Rodgers’ contract has presented itself.

“The Packers, with Aaron Rodgers and his contact, has a $58 million balloon payment this year — teams really don’t want to take that on,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported. “They at least want to rework it. The Packers as of yet haven’t found a sweet spot with another team to be able to do that.

“So, you’ve run into some roadblocks right now, where teams might have to pivot soon.”

The Jets are still involved with Rodgers, but no movement has been apparent from either side.

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Monday, March 6, 2023: The Meeting: Jets brass flies out to California to meet with Rodgers to get a better feel of where the QB is at, and potentially present a blueprint on an exit strategy from Green Bay. Jets owner Woody Johnson, GM Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are among the visitors.

Friday, March 10, 2023: Jets players are feeling the Rodgers rumors, all right. Sauce Gardner, who famously donned a cheesehead after the Jets downed the Packers during the regular season, has burned said cheesehead in order to wash the bad juju and potentially lure Rodgers to New York.

MORE: Jets players perform cheesehead-burning ritual in attempt to woo Aaron Rodgers

Friday, March 10, 2023: Just days away from the start of NFL free agency, Packers president Mark Murphy says he wants the Rodgers business settled prior to the start of free agency.

Asked if there’s a possibility that Rodgers is Green Bay’s starting quarterback next season, Murphy says, “Yeah, I mean unless, if things don’t work out the way we want them, yeah, we would. He is obviously a great player.”

Sunday, March 12, 2023: “Stay tuned.” The two words spoken from Aaron Rodgers to Brandon Marshall means that the vultures are circling the wagons, the plane is entering its final descent, the music is slowing down. Mercifully. A Rodgers decision is on its way.

Monday, March 13, 2023: Former ESPN NFL analyst Trey Wingo reports that it’s a done deal: Rodgers is on his way to New York. Several Jets players are taken by the report, but nothing is official yet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023: Aaron Rodgers has a list and he’s checking it twice — The passer reportedly has a “wishlist” of players he’d like to join up with in New York, including Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard, two favorites of his from Green Bay.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023: In the words of Frodo Baggins, “It’s over. It’s done.” On “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers says he wants to play for the Jets, leaving no doubt that he’s returning for the 2023 season in a different shade of green.

“At this point as I sit here, I think since Friday I’ve made it clear that my intention was to play and my intention was to play for the New York Jets,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers says that the hold up on a trade is the compensation, which is almost sure to have several high-value picks exchanged. Thus begins the waiting game.

Friday, March 17, 2023: After some days of rumors, the Jets sign wideout Allen Lazard to a four-year, $44 million deal. That could be another sign that the Jets are on the verge of acquiring Rodgers.

Saturday, April 8, 2023: All quiet on Florham Park front, until a prognostication from Jets GM Joe Douglas: It’s been weeks since the report of Rodgers heading to New York, but no movement on either side. Douglas assures the masses at an event in New York that Rodgers will be a Jet.

“He’s gonna be here,” Douglas says.

Sunday, April 23, 2023: After a quiet month and a half of a trade stalemate between the Jets and Packers, the two sides have reengaged in trade talks for the quarterback. “No deal is imminent,” however, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Monday, April 24, 2023: “It’s done. It’s over,” – Frodo Baggins (again). The Jets and Packers end their dance around each other and strike a deal for Rodgers, ending an 18-year career in Green Bay, years of trade speculation and months of a standoff. The Jets get their QB. The Packers get their picks. All’s well in the NFL world.

Well, until Week 1.

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