NFL combine: Jets, Raiders, Packers stuck in holding pattern as league awaits Aaron Rodgers’ decision

INDIANAPOLIS – Aaron Rogers stepped out of the dark. It would seem that everyone else who is interested in him is stuck inside him.

It was a big message from teams in the early days of NFL scouting as a number of league sources continued to collectively shrug their shoulders about the Green Bay Packers quarterback’s next move. Interest in Rodgers is very strong this week as teams begin to build their free agent plans and agents with quarterbacks begin to gather information on options for their clients. But there’s clearly a bottleneck in the veteran quarterback market as two teams in need – the New York Jets and the Las Vegas Raiders – seem to be at low speed, waiting for news of Rodgers. Not to mention the Packers, who have yet to talk to Rodgers about final plans for the aging parts of their roster.

Asked if the Rodgers situation was still up in the air, one team source monitoring Rodgers’ availability joked, “I think it’s purgatory.” [in Green Bay]”.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst was a bit more diplomatic about the situation when he met with the media on Tuesday, presenting the situation as the same waiting pattern that has been in place since the end of the season.

“I know there will be many questions about Aaron,” Gutekunst said in his opening remarks. “We haven’t had any conversations yet, so [there’s] not much to report.

By clicking on the timeline, Gutekunst pointed to the start of a free hand for an encouraging decision, which was also the free time that Rogers had previously mentioned. The early period of free will negotiations is due to start on March 13.

“It would be nice to get answers before then,” Gutekunst said.

Green Bay is not alone when it comes to this deadline. A source at the Jets said the team is working on “multiple” quarterback options, one of which is free agent Derek Carr, but said getting word of Rodgers’ availability would likely be the first and most influential domino in the process. A Raiders source was much less certain about the implications of Rogers’ decision, but said the franchise would be keeping an eye on him. Unlike the Jets, the Raiders are much more invested in this draft’s rookie quarterbacks, making their physicals and interviews this week very important to the franchise.

As it stands, all prospective first-round quarterbacks except Alabama’s Bryce Young are expected to play this week. Among them are CJ Stroud from Ohio, Will Lewis from Kentucky and Anthony Richardson from Florida. There is significant interest from Lewis and Richardson this week, with Lewis considered to have the best hand talent in the group, and Richardson having a hand/size/athletic skill set that is in line with where the league is heading at quarterback.

Even as these players are eagerly awaited, Rodgers’ potential availability continues to dominate the early days of the unification, just as it did last year. However, the atmosphere around the Packers and their all-star quarterback seems even less certain than it was in 2022, when Green Bay appeared to be much more aggressive in retaining him. The franchise appears to be in wait-and-see mode this time around, likely because the Packers didn’t expect to have to repeat that scenario for the second straight off-season after structuring Rodgers’ deal in a way that guaranteed him. almost $60 million if he returns in 2023. Now the franchise is facing frustration over how to deal with salary cap issues in case he asks for a trade or, in the worst case, retires altogether.

The Jets’ approach to acquiring Rodgers likely has a lot to do with this. A team source who spoke to Sportzshala Sports earlier this month said the ownership and front office are heading into 2023, with the Super Bowl window opening with the right veteran as quarterback. How Rodgers fits into this equation will have a lot to do with the assets that will need to be given away in order to be traded for him, as well as how he fits into the team’s salary cap structure.

The veteran quarterback market is likely to be on hold until Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes his decision.  (AP Photo/Morrie Gash)
The veteran quarterback market is likely to be on hold until Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes his decision. (AP Photo/Morrie Gash)

Jets general manager Joe Douglas also met with media on Tuesday and said the team will be “exploring the veteran quarterback market” and “considering all available options.” He added that the team’s first visit to Carr went well and that Carr made a good impression on the franchise. The Jets are expected to face Carr again this week.

Thus, three things became clear to Rogers. First of all, what happens next is still entirely in the quarterback’s hands, and he continues to keep his circle very tight in his thought process. Second, the Packers will exercise Jordan Love’s fifth-year option in May — Gutekunst once again praised the Packers’ reserve QB on Tuesday, almost certainly making 2023 Rodgers’ last year in Packers uniform, even if he returns to the team. A team for the 2023 season. Finally, the off-season quarterback market will be triggered one way or another by the Jets, either by a trade for Rodgers or the signing of Carr or another veteran. This would then sort out the remaining options on the table for upcoming free agent Jimmy Garoppolo or in a “disaster” scenario for the Baltimore Ravens, potential trading partner Lamar Jackson, who is expected to have the franchise tag applied. him in Baltimore in the coming days.

For now, it’s all set aside in the darkroom – waiting for Aaron Rodgers again, who continues to dominate the world.


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