Arguably the biggest story coming out of the NFL Draft wasn't about any of the 255 newly minted professionals who heard their name called, but instead about 36-year-old veteran superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers curiously spent a first-round pick on intriguing QB prospect Jordan Love out of Utah State, at a time when Rodgers is showing no signs of slowing down, and his peers who are only a few years his senior are playing into their early 40s.
The Round 1 stunner immediately fueled speculation about Rodgers' future in Green Bay, where the reins have been turned over to a young head coach in Matt LaFleur, who appears intent on putting his own stamp on the organization. Veteran NFL columnist Peter King revealed soon after that Rodgers was "pissed off."
The rumors have only intensified since. Pouring gas on the fire, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk predicted 2020 would be Rodgers' final campaign in Green Bay.
Las Vegas Raiders: Gruden's guy
Former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels recently explained why Rodgers joining Jon Gruden with the newly relocated Las Vegas Raiders would be a "no-brainer," on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. Gruden has succeeded in the past with veteran quarterbacks in Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson, Rosenfels said.
“I’m sure Jon Gruden could help Rodgers have a nice end of his career,” Rosenfels said. “It’s the West Coast offense, it’s the West Coast in general, Aaron is from California, Las Vegas is not too far away, new stadium – I could go on and on and on about why this one makes every sense in the world. It should happen."
If Gruden wants to make a splash and put Vegas on the map as a football town, Rodgers could be his ticket.
New England Patriots: The obligatory mention
The Patriots' failure to draft a QB - including Love, whom they were reportedly interested in - was a major story afterward, even fueling speculation about a potential Tank-for-Trevor Lawrence scenario. Bill Belichick said the draft whiff wasn't for lack of interest, but for now the in-house options are Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer.
The question is why would Belichick have allowed Brady to walk, only to acquire another aging quarterback - albeit an awesome one - only a year later? There's some evidence to suggest Belichick thought Brady's end might come far sooner than it has -- duh, the guy will be 43 next season -- and in general is said to subscribe to the theory that it's better to cut a player too early than too late. So I'm not sure why he would see things differently for Rodgers.
Then again, maybe Brady wins a Super Bowl with the Bucs at age 43, and Belichick has a change of heart.
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New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers: Replacing a retiring starter
NFL quarterbacks played musical chairs this offseason, and yet there is still unfinished business. Drew Brees of the Saints, Philip Rivers of the Colts, and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers could all conceivably retire after 2020, potentially creating QB openings for all of those teams.
Rodgers would probably salivate at the idea of playing in Sean Payton's offensive attack on the speedy turf of the Superdome. Of course, trading him within the NFC could be a major obstacle. And any quarterback would have to be intrigued by the prospect of playing for an iconic franchise and perennial playoff contender in the Steelers.
Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers: Replacing a failed starter
In addition to the Raiders, Rodgers could be a fit anywhere in the AFC West other than Kansas City. Hey, you're going to need some firepower if you want to compete with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
The Broncos look like a strong team on paper, though projected starter Drew Lock is a major question mark. If he can't establish himself as a viable starter this season, the Broncos could be back in the market next offseason. John Elway found a pretty good formula the last time he built a dominant defense around a veteran quarterback in Peyton Manning, who still had plenty left in the tank in his late 30s.
The Chargers, meanwhile, drafted quarterback Justin Herbert sixth overall in last month's draft. It's unclear how much he'll play next season, and unlikely they'd pull the plug after one year. However, it's feasible they could hand him the clipboard if they don't like what they see.
The Giants, Jets and Redskins could also conceivably fit in this bucket, though I couldn't see A-Rod being interested in any of those destinations given their recent histories.
San Francisco 49ers: Three-team blockbuster
Let's get weird.
The 49ers have already signaled they're willing to consider options aside from Jimmy Garoppolo, after it was revealed they had discussed signing Tom Brady internally. Is it too late to ship him back to New England to make room for Rodgers? This also assumes the Patriots' interest, which is of course no given considering Garoppolo's price tag. But, Jimmy G appears to be The One Who Got Away for Belichick, the quarterback he was hoping to develop into his next star - but was unable to see it through to fruition because of Touchdown Tom's stubborn refusal to step aside before he's collecting Social Security.
All the obvious caveats apply here: three-team trades are rare, blockbusters of this scale rarer still. Plus, what incentive do the Packers have to trade Rodgers to a conference foe? However, Rodgers is a northern California kid from a family of 49ers diehards. Could he get a chance to finish up back home? It seems unlikely, but we also can't discount his gravitas and likely input in determining where he would end up.