Imagine sitting alone for four long days and nights in complete darkness. Now imagine doing this voluntarily. Hey, to each his or her own. If this is an exercise that will help your overall mental health, I’m all for it. Whatever floats your boat.
I’m just going to fast forward a week or two and predict that Aaron Rodgers will emerge from the darkness ready to embark on a 19th season with an understanding that it will be better for all parties to move on.
I think he already knows this. I think he’ll spend those four days deciding whether he’d rather play in Las Vegas or in New York. Because make no mistake, both of those teams are all in on Rodgers if he goes on the market.
It’s the perfect scenario for the Packers, who probably should have initiated divorce proceedings last year. Now they get a do-over because there are two franchises who are desperate to be relevant and both believe they’re just a QB away from contending. Just as important, both destinations should hold a high level of appeal for Rodgers.
So there’s Aaron, lying on a super plush couch, with something like 96 hours to find clarity on which situation is most appealing. Here’s what I imagine will be going through his head:
OK, Vegas. Well, it’s Vegas, baby. I’ll be the biggest star in town. OK, the biggest star not named Adele. I’m playing indoors in a beautiful new stadium in front of Raiders nation and all the tourists who flock there to watch their favorite teams visit Sin City. Then there’s Tae. Yeah, I missed him a little bit. And with Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, I got me a nice set of weapons. Gotta believe they’ll find a way to bring Josh Jacobs back, too. Yep, fortify that offensive line a bit and I can make that offense hum.
Josh McDaniels? I’m not 100% sold, but if Tom could deal with him, I’m thinking I can too. Of course, I’ll just go ahead and change the plays he sends in if I need to. Oh, and there’s no state income tax in Nevada — can’t forget that. Probably should’ve started with that.
OK, the negatives. Well, the defense is not great. I’m not even sure it’s good. Fortunately, I’m very used to that. I can work with that. Just gotta score more points than the other team. Then there’s the division. It’s brutal. Mahomes, Herbert, and Russ. OK, Mahomes and Herbert. It’s a gauntlet. I mean, the whole AFC is brutal. If the only reason I’m still playing is to get a second ring, I’ve gotta work my way through the division, plus Joe Burrow and Josh Allen just to get to the big game. But I know I can’t expect the Pack to trade me within the NFC…I get it.
Then there’s the Jets.
If you would’ve told me a year ago that I would seriously consider okaying a trade to the Jets, I would’ve said, ‘pass the ayahuasca.’ But I like this team. They’ve got a serious defense loaded with young talent and Coach Saleh knows how to coach defense. They’ve got the rookies of the year on both sides of the ball. I can make Garrett Wilson a household name.
And then there’s Nathaniel. I’d be playing for my boy. Can’t imagine a better scenario than playing for Nate in a system I know like the back of my hand. They get that rookie running back healthy and add a couple pieces on the offensive line and I’ll make sure the AFC East is no longer a cakewalk for the Bills. Plus, it’s New York, need I say more? Not to mention, my girlfriend lives there.
Negatives? Well there’s a history of ineptitude with this franchise and then there’s the whole, repeating history thing, by going to the team Brett got traded to. And to be honest, I wouldn’t be terribly disappointed to not play outdoors in cold weather anymore. My last few big time cold weather games haven’t exactly been great.
Over and over he will wrestle with this decision. And then he’ll inform the team which destination he would prefer. Assuming there is more than one potential trade partner, I see the Pack getting back a first-rounder this year and a conditional Day 2 pick in ’24. It’ll be a second-rounder if he plays a second season and a third-rounder if he doesn’t. Maybe the Jets kick in WR Elijah Moore or the Raiders include TE Foster Moreau. Maybe the Packers kick back an early Day 3 pick.
Trade parameters will be the next shoe to drop. The first shoe will drop shortly after he emerges from the darkness. After four long days of isolation.
Probably be a lot simpler to just flip a coin.