There is a solution for the Aaron Rodgers trade impasse: Let him decide

Aaron Rodgers wants to be a New York Jet, and the Jets want him to be a Jet. This will get done. But the holdup is trade compensation, specifically that Green Bay wants a first-round pick for the four-time MVP. New York believes that’s too rich.

However, there is a solution: good old conditional picks. Let Rodgers’ play do the talking and ultimately determine what the Packers receive after the season. That would appear to be the only way both teams won’t feel slighted. Remember, we’re now less than one month away from OTAs. That’s normally a yawn for veteran players, but not if you’re welcoming Rodgers into your building for the first time.

When Rodgers finally becomes a Jet, he’ll see a familiar face: Allen Lazard. Lazard had substantial interest from several teams after a career-best campaign with 60 catches, 788 yards, and six touchdowns in 15 games in Green Bay.

The Broncos, according to sources, made a strong push for his services as well, specifically valuing Lazard’s toughness and route-running. Lazard ultimately signed with Gang Green for four years and $44 million, with $22 million guaranteed. An excellent deal, especially when we consider the bearish receiver market. But it just goes to show you how fluid free agency is.

We know the Broncos have fielded calls about their own receivers, including Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and KJ Hamler. Given the scope of Wilson’s megadeal, it wouldn’t have been sensible to have all three contracts as well as Lazard’s on their books. General manager George Paton knows he has an alpha and an innovator in his new head coach and is exhausting all options to not repeat a disastrous 2022 season.

Short yardage

◾️ What should we make of the Jarrett Stidham addition in Denver? Is Sean Payton all-in on Russell Wilson and merely looking for insurance? If I’m Stidham, I’m thrilled. Not only am I learning from Payton, one of the game’s true offensive masterminds, but I might just sneak my way into the QB1 role if Wilson struggles again.

Don’t forget that in Week 17 while playing for Las Vegas, Stidham passed for 365 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers’ top-ranked defense. He then signed a two-year, $10-million deal with Denver that includes $5 million guaranteed. Bottom line: Payton clearly believes in his talent.

◾️ Brock Purdy went from Mr. Irrelevant to overnight sensation, helping guide San Francisco to a pair of playoff wins along the way. He was undoubtedly one of the season’s best stories. We also have Trey Lance, who should be healthy and is just two years removed from being drafted third overall after the Niners paid a handsome price to move up to select him.

Everyone I’ve spoken to about Lance – who’s still just 22 – says he’s a tireless worker and natural leader, not to mention he has enormous talent. The problem is the sample size, or lack thereof. During his first two seasons, Lance made just four starts. He’s flashed some brilliance – huge arm, great feet, playmaker for sure – but Lance and Garoppolo’s injuries allowed Purdy to become a known commodity. The Niners also signed veteran Sam Darnold. There remain unknowns about Purdy’s recovery timeline, but does general manager John Lynch really need three starting-caliber quarterbacks?

◾️ I like what the Raiders are doing. They replaced Derek Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo, a solid starting quarterback and proven winner (40-17 for his career). Trading tight end Darren Waller wasn’t awesome, but reuniting wide receiver Jakobi Meyers with head coach Josh McDaniels was. I also loved the signing of two-time Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper, who I’d expect Garoppolo to lean heavily on. Add in slot machine Hunter Renfrow and all-world Davante Adams, along with rushing champ Josh Jacobs, and this offense should be a serious threat every Sunday.

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