The Green Bay Packers are seemingly on the verge of trading superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, but general manager Brian Gutekunst could be acquiring an established veteran wide receiver in return.
Rodgers has become the top story of the NFL offseason with the Packers and Jets entering into trade discussions surrounding the 39-year-old quarterback. Although the four-time MVP has yet to announced a decision about his future, he has already met with Jets management and has discussed the possibility of a move.
Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner may have tipped the team’s hand on a live stream with teammates on Thursday, March 9. According to Zack Rosenblatt with The Athletic, Gardner revealed that the trade offers discussed are package deals, presumably including players.
There aren’t a ton of players currently on New York’s roster that are both an expendable piece for salary cap purposes and also at a position of need for the Packers. However, one player that checks both of those boxes is wide receiver Corey Davis.
Why Corey Davis Makes Sense
This isn’t the first time that the Packers would be considering a move for Davis. Gutekunst and his staff had previously been linked to the 28-year-old wideout, and he would make a lot of sense in a trade package for Rodgers.
From a salary cap perspective, the Jets are still working to clear contracts in order to take on Rodgers’ salary. According to Over the Cap, the Jets are $1.5 million over the cap prior to any restructures of cuts being made.
Moving Davis, who is on the final year of his $37.5 million deal, would clear up significant cap space in a Rodgers trade. If released or traded, Davis would only incur a dead cap hit of less than $700,000 while clearing $10.5 million in cap space for 2023.
However, the Packers may not be willing to take on Davis’ big cap number in a Rodgers trade. By trading the 39-year-old before June 1, the Packers will be eating a $40 million dead cap number that will make it harder to swallow taking on another big move.
The Packers could try calling New York’s bluff by simply waiting for the team to cut Davis, then try to pick the veteran up for pennies on the dollar. However, if the two sides are determined to include other players in a Rodgers trade package, Davis is one of the few on the Jets roster who makes sense.
Who Else Could Be Involved in a Rodgers Trade?
Davis isn’t the only player that might work in a package deal, but as a former fifth overall pick and veteran wide receiver, he’s the most appealing to Packers fans.
Pass rusher Carl Lawson is another name to keep an eye on. The Jets had a ton of pass-rushing depth last season, and Lawson would clear $15.4 million in cap space by being moved. Meanwhile, the Packers could get another talented pass rusher to work with while Rashan Gary rehabs from his torn ACL.
Other players the Jets could package into a trade include defensive end John Franklin-Myers and safety Chuck Clark. There have also been rumors that the Packers would be interested in trading former first-round pick Darnell Savage in order to get his guaranteed fifth-year option off of the books.
Regardless of who is moved, it’s sounding increasingly likely that Rodgers goes to the Jets in exchange for picks and players in the coming days or weeks.