Would Broncos have interest in Aaron Rodgers at this year’s trade deadline or next offseason?

Ten thoughts on the Broncos after NFL Network reported Monday that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has told people “close to him,” he plans on playing for Green Bay this year:

1. Well, it looks like the Broncos will have to settle for seeing Rodgers in Super Bowl 56 (Feb. 13 in Inglewood, Calif.) instead of playing for them. I thought Tuesday was the big day for the Rodgers-Packers marriage. If he reports for camp, the line of communication are open in Green Bay; if he is a no-show, then he’s serious about engineering an immediate move. This news-break should indicate his plans. As others in the league have agreed, I didn’t think there was a chance Rodgers would (or will) retire this year.

2. Ever since word was presented that Rodgers wanted out, it was a long shot No. 12 would be the Broncos’ No. 1 quarterback this year. But it was fun to speculate, wasn’t it? My strategy was keep hope alive until I saw Rodgers wearing a Packers helmet. My mock offer for Rodgers was two first-round picks, receiver Jerry Jeudy, one other player and a pick swap (such as the Pack’s second-rounder for the Broncos’ third-rounder).

3. Two scenarios: Would the Broncos be interested in Rodgers at the Nov. 2 trade deadline or next offseason? In November, if the Broncos are playing well, why shake up the decks and put all of the pressure on Rodgers? If the season isn’t going well, why believe Rodgers can ride to the instant rescue?

4. Next March is more complicated. Rodgers will be 38 and will presumably have 17-20 games of additional mileage on his body. I would lower the price to one first-rounder as a result … if the Broncos are even interested.

5. Amazingly, Rodgers not being traded to the Broncos will please the vocal minority who emailed me this summer saying Rodgers is “too old” (even though he won the MVP last year) and “not a great teammate” (how would they know that?) and is “injury prone” (hasn’t missed a game since ’17). Who knows if Rodgers-Broncos 2021 would have been a success, but it sure as heck would have been fascinating to watch.

6. I have never worried about the salary cap implications of acquiring Rodgers. He would have looked for a raise — he’s tied for fifth among quarterbacks with an average salary of $33.5 million. Knowing the cap will explode when the new television deal begins in 2023, the Broncos could give him a big bump with higher base salaries in ’23-’24, allowing them to keep their core players. Plus, Rodgers could serve as a Chief Recruiter like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, convincing guys to take a little less to play with him.

7. Assuming a Rodgers to Denver deal won’t happen, what about Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson? He reported to Texans training camp to avoid daily $50,000 fines that must be enforced according to the collective bargaining agreement. Watson is subject to 22 civil cases and multiple criminal complaints in Houston, which I think makes him untouchable to a club with interest until there is clarity on the cases and his ’21 playing eligibility. The Texans will want a trade that fills both their draft cupboard and depth chart.

8. When the Broncos begin full-squad practice Wednesday, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater will compete for the Week 1 starting assignment and should be in good shape about not looking over their shoulders toward Rodgers/Watson. One way the Broncos could spin this if they want: A year ago, Lock was viewed well enough that he was given a chance to seize the job long term and Carolina thought highly enough of Bridgewater to sign him to a three-year, $60 million contract. Agree or disagree, that could be their forecast.

9. Lock will have to be leaps and bounds better in camp/preseason to get the nod over Bridgewater.

10. A hypothetical: The Broncos struggle (again) offensively and start multiple quarterbacks (again) on their way to a sixth consecutive year out of the playoffs. The smart move would be pooling their assets to move into the top five (or higher) to draft a quarterback and surround him with a getting-more-experience offense. There! I fixed the Broncos!

Source: Read Full Article