Green Bay Packers

Stephen A Smith Thinks Green Bay Has All the Leverage

Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports

As the Aaron Rodgers trade negotiations drag on between Green Bay and the New York Jets the national conversation is focused on leverage. Who has it, and how will it affect Green Bay’s compensation for the Lambeau legend?

With so many cards already on the table there are those who believe neither team has true leverage. ESPN’s Stephen A Smith isn’t having any of that narrative. On First Take, appearing alongside Dan Orlovsky and Marcus Spears, Smith turned in a patented Stephen A rant on the current state of the Jets and the reality of the situation they’re in.

“I’m not trying to act like the Packers don’t need to do this. But let’s be very very clear that the Jets are in a must situation! A desperate situation! Let’s stop this nonsense. The reality is that Zach Wilson is your quarterback! Derek Carr is gone…you ain’t getting Lamar Jackson…Jimmy Garoppolo ain’t coming. You have Zach Wilson as your quarterback. Did you see the level of demoralization that kicked in when Zach Wilson stepped on the field by the rest of his teammates? Did you see how they celebrated Mike White like he was Aaron Rodgers when he came on the field in place of Zach Wilson? Did you see that?

Garrett Wilson is there. Breece hall is back. You look at that defense, it’s big time. We have expectations that if Aaron Rodgers comes to New York that the New York Jets will be a Super Bowl contender. You got Allen Lazard that just signed a four year deal. You got Randall Cobb and Mercedes Lewis that are expected to come to New York because the anticipation is that Aaron Rodgers is coming. Aaron Rodgers has publicly stated ‘I’m not the hold up, the Green Bay Packers are the hold up because they haven’t made a deal yet. I want to play for the New York Jets.’ They gotta get him, they gotta get him. It’s just that simple.

And this notion that you don’t give up a first round pick? I need somebody to explain this to me. I watched the Chicago Bears give up the number one overall pick for two first round picks, two second round picks, and a player in DJ Moore. I know Keyshawn said you could draft somebody and they could be here for the next 17 years. They could also be Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell. How is somebody who has never played a down in the NFL, that is completely unproven, that we’re going strictly by projection worth all of that but Aaron Rodgers ain’t worth a first round pick? You need somebody to explain that to me!”

Spears, who agreed with Smith, hammered down on why Green Bay’s thought process was the right thought process.

“When I’m thinking about Aaron Rodgers, a first round pick would be nothing…Let me break it down this way. You have a value of possession that somebody else wants but because you think you should part ways with that valuable possession you’re gonna take less of what it’s worth because you’re trying to speed up getting rid of it? Hell no! If I got the Hope Diamond I’m gonna get $5 billion for it as opposed to saying I’m ready to let it go so I’m gonna take $2 billion. Get out of here man.”

All of this comes just days after Stephen A was on the air. Insisting the Packers should demand not one but two first round picks in exchange for their Hall of Fame quarterback.

“If you had to give up two first round picks to get Aaron Rodgers, I think you should do it if you’re the New York Jets. Let me remind everybody this is not just about the greatness of Aaron Rodgers it’s about the perpetual utility of the New York Jets. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1968 they haven’t been to a Super Bowl since 1968… By the way since 2010 not only have they not been to the Super Bowl they haven’t been to the playoffs…so when you are that futile, when you are that inept, when you are that moribund as a franchise for years, for decades, spanning over 50 years…desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Not everyone agrees with Stephen A and Spears. Mike Florio, famed Packer hater and the head of Pro Football Talk believes the Jets have all the leverage.

“The Jets have more than many realize. While they won’t at this point credibly pivot to a Plan B and turn their backs on trading for Rodgers, what’s the hurry to get a deal done? If the Packers want to wait until the draft to finalize things, so be it.

Rodgers doesn’t need to be present for the early weeks of the offseason program. He’d probably prefer not to. This gives him the perfect excuse — he’s not on the team yet.

He already knows the offense, given that his former coordinator in Green Bay will simply dust it off and install it. The challenge isn’t to teach it to Rodgers but to the rest of the team. So if Green Bay’s play is to slow play this thing, the Jets should say, ‘Fine. We’ll wait until the draft. Hell, we’ll wait until after the draft. We’ll even wait until after June 1, so that you’ll be able to spread the cap charge over two years.’”

And then there’s the more measured approach of people like ESPN NFL writer Rich Cimini who believes it’s impossible to say who has the upper hand.

“It’s a complex transaction, perhaps unprecedented. You’re talking about an all-time great quarterback with a massive contract. Those factors alone would make it difficult. That he’s 39 years old and already on record as saying he strongly considered retirement last month makes it harder to determine a fair price. He could walk away in a year. That’s why the Jets don’t want to part with their 2023 first-round draft pick (13th overall). At the same time, the Packers don’t want to trade a franchise icon for second- and third-day draft picks.

Leverage is in the eye of the beholder. The Jets are seemingly boxed into Rodgers because they don’t see a viable option on their roster and the quarterback market is depleted. (Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson is available but carries the nonexclusive franchise tag.)

The Packers are boxed in because they appear committed to fourth-year quarterback Jordan Love and would like to move on from Rodgers. President Mark Murphy revealed the team’s hand recently, speaking of Rodgers in the past tense: ‘He had a great career here.’”

Regardless of where one lands on the topic of leverage, the Green Bay front office is absolutely correct to be as stubborn as possible in this situation. Aaron Rodgers is only one season removed from being a back to back NFL MVP. Yes he’s old but quarterbacks age differently these days. If you’re entering into a Super Bowl window and you feel like you’re just a quarterback away, Aaron Rodgers is surely worth the 13th pick in the draft. Green Bay knows it and ultimately the Jets know it too. That’s why Stephen A, Marcus Spears and so many others believe the Green and Gold have the leverage. Whether they truly do or not will likely come down to who blinks first.

Green Bay Packers
Why ESPN’s FPI Is Dead Wrong About The Packers
By Spencer Nelson - May 30, 2023
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay’s Rookies Should Play A Big Role Early On the Defensive Line
By Matt Hendershott - May 30, 2023
Green Bay Packers

Joe Barry Is Under The Most Pressure In Green Bay

Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports

Dan Orlovsky of ESPN recently unveiled which quarterbacks he believes to be under the most pressure in each conference. Ridiculously, Orlovsky put Jordan Love at number one […]

Continue Reading