PHOENIX — Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said he’s not requiring a first-round pick in a potential trade sending four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets but added he’d want “fair value.”
Gutekunst was asked Monday at the NFL annual meeting if there was any way in which he could feel comfortable trading Rodgers without getting a first-round pick in return.
“Yeah, I think that’s not a necessity,” Gutekunst told reporters. “But at the same time, the value of the player – he’s a premier player, so getting premier picks back for (premier) players is important.”
Gutekunst and Jets general manager Joe Douglas both discussed trade talks involving the 39-year-old Rodgers, who said March 15 during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” on SiriusXM and YouTube that he intends to play for the Jets in 2023.
Rodgers remains under contract with Green Bay but said he wanted the Packers to “do the right thing.”
“There’s been some productive conversations. Obviously, we’re not where we need to be yet. But feel like we’re in a good place.” Douglas said, adding he’s “very optimistic.”
Gutekunst said that “hopefully, we can come to an agreement sooner than later” but indicated he could afford to wait until May or June to make a trade if necessary.
“Yeah, I think so,” Gutekunst said. “Again, there’s not much going on right now. So, again, I think it has to work for both parties and I think we’re both committed to figuring that out. It’s really kind of in their court right now. We’ll kind of see where it goes.”
Gutekunst also said he tried unsuccessfully to speak with Rodgers on multiple occasions this offseason before the quarterback’s representatives told him the four-time MVP was requesting a trade.
Rodgers and Gutekunst met shortly after Green Bay’s season ended with a 20-16 loss to the Detroit Lions that snapped the Packers’ string of three straight playoff appearances. Gutekunst said they’d planned to have follow-up conversations.
“Those never transpired,” Gutekunst said. “So there came a time where we had to make some decisions so we went through his representatives to try to talk to him (about) where we were going with our team. And at that point, they informed us that he would like to be traded to the Jets.”
That account conflicts with what Rodgers said during his appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”
Rodgers said he wished the Packers had told him early in the offseason that they intended to move on from him in the 2023 season. Rodgers said instead that after returning from his isolation retreat last month, he “heard from multiple people that I trust around the league — players mostly –— that there was some shopping going on, that they were interested in actually moving me.”
“The Packers would like to move on,” Rodgers said. “They’ve let me know that in so many words. They’ve let other people know that in direct words.”
Gutekunst said he wanted to have more discussions with Rodgers earlier in the offseason to discuss how the veteran quarterback could fit in the Packers’ future plans.
“(With) our inability to reach him or for him to respond in any way, I think at that point, I had to do my job and kind of reach out and, understanding that a trade could be possible and see who was interested,” Gutekunst said.
A trade of Rodgers would clear the way for 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love to take over as Green Bay’s starting quarterback.
Gutekunst was asked if there’s any scenario in which Rodgers starts another game for the Packers.
“I think right now all options are on the table,” Gutekunst said. “It’s not trending that way, and we’re very hopeful we can facilitate this (trade) and get this accomplished. But he’s come back under certain circumstances before where maybe he wasn’t the happiest with everything that was going on and played very well. So we’ll just kind of see how all of this transpires.
“I think it’s trending hopefully in the right direction for what everybody wants, and we can conclude this hopefully.” ___