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Jets finally land Aaron Rodgers from Packers in long-awaited trade

Aaron Rodgers finally got his wish.

The Green Bay Packers agreed to trade the longest-tenured player in their history – Rodgers was drafted in 2005 – to the New York Jets on Monday, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst confirmed in a news conference. Gutekunst acknowledged that there was still paperwork to be completed before the trade could be finalized.

As part of the deal, the Packers will now move up two spots in the first round of Thursday’s NFL draft, taking the Jets’ No. 13 overall pick while sending back the No. 15 selection, according to ESPN and NFL Network. The Packers will also receive a second-round pick and a sixth-round selection this year as well as a conditional 2024 second-round pick that becomes a first if Rodgers plays 65% of the offensive snaps this season, per the reports. In addition to Rodgers, the Jets will also receive a fifth-round selection this year.

And so comes an end to the strangest saga of the offseason. 

NFL Draft Hub: Latest NFL Draft mock drafts, news, live picks, grades and analysis

Rodgers revealed in mid-March his intention to break from the Packers and play for the Jets. The four-time MVP was initially leaning towards retirement at the conclusion of a disappointing 2022 season that ended with Green Bay missing the playoffs for the first time since 2018. However he was re-energized once he learned after his famous ‘darkness retreat’ in February that the Packers were shopping him after previously indicating to Rodgers that he had the option to play for them in 2023. Appearing on ‘The Pat McAfee Show,’ he blamed the team for holding up a trade with the Jets, accusing the front office of ‘digging their heels in’ on compensation. Rodgers also claimed that the organization expressed a desire for him to retire in Green Bay.

Now Rodgers heads into his 19th season with a Jets squad that appeared to have all the necessary components for a playoff push last year … less a capable quarterback. In Wisconsin, the Packers forge ahead with Jordan Love, a first-round pick in 2020 whose arrival as Rodgers’ eventual successor led, at least in part, to his fractured relationship with the franchise.

Said Gutekunst shortly after the news broke: ‘Hopefully there’s some finality for everybody in it.’

The deal accelerates more than $40 million worth of dead contract money onto the Pack’s cap. Rodgers, who carries a $31.6 million cap charge for 2023 is owed a $58.3 million bonus by the start of the regular season. He’s previously admitted that number will have to be renegotiated. 

What are the Jets getting?

Fifteen years after acquiring Brett Favre from the Packers, the NYJ get another multiple-MVP winner from Green Bay. Rodgers is expected to be the missing piece to a team that finished 7-10 last season, one that ended with a six-game losing streak after an unexpectedly good start had New York in the thick of the AFC playoff race. But, despite talent throughout their roster, the Jets got almost nothing out of the quarterback position. Starter Zach Wilson, the second overall pick of the 2021 draft, was the lowest-rated passer (72.8) among those who qualified in 2022.

What are the Packers getting?

Obtaining draft ammunition from the Jets this year and next will enable Green Bay to begin reloading around Love, who will try to lead his team back to a winning record – something Rodgers couldn’t do in 2008 after replacing Favre. Wide receiver – the Packers haven’t taken one in the first round since Javon Walker in 2002 – tight end, offensive line and defensive back represent particular areas of need. And though the trade of Rodgers will cause short-term pain for the organization from a cap standpoint, the Packers should have much more flexibility to bolster their roster via free agency next year … and will also import an extra first-round pick if their now-former quarterback plays at least 65% of the snaps this season.

***

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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