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The dates to know for when the Jets’ Aaron Rodgers trade will finally go down

PHOENIX — Jets general manager Joe Douglas and Packers GM Brian Gutekunst spent some time talking here at the league meetings the other day.

No, not about Aaron Rodgers.

Douglas and Gutekunst have known each other for 20 years from their previous gigs as NFL scouts, and Gutekunst was telling Douglas about the massive snowstorm that just hit Green Bay.

Maybe the two friends can find more time to talk before leaving Arizona about the trade the entire NFL is waiting for.

All indications are there is still a gap between Douglas and Gutekunst on what the appropriate compensation is for a four-time MVP quarterback who is now 39 years old and may only play for one more season. A Yahoo Sports report said the Jets were seeking to get a 2025 pick back from the Packers if Rodgers does not play in 2024.

Jets GM Joe Douglas speaks at a press conference.
Bill Kostroun for the NY Post

There was a thought that maybe a deal could get done this week with everyone under the same roof at the Arizona Biltmore. It appears that won’t happen.

Part of the problem with getting a trade done is there is nothing in the immediate future to act as a deadline. There is no guaranteed money that kicks in for Rodgers by a date in March or April.

A deal could get done at any minute if the Packers or Jets decide to move enough toward the other, but here are a few dates to keep an eye on when things could happen:

April 17: This is the beginning of the offseason program for the Jets. Would they love to have Rodgers in the building for it? Of course, but I don’t see this as a major factor for the Jets.

The beginning of the offseason program does not even include any on-field work, and a veteran such as Rodgers probably would not be around for much of it anyway.

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst walks on the field in Green Bay.

April 27: This is the first day of the NFL Draft. There has been speculation the Packers want the Jets’ first-round pick as part of the trade.

Gutekunst said this week that is not necessarily the case. We’ll see. The Packers are going to have to act before the draft if they want a pick this year.

April 28: This is the second day of the NFL Draft, when the second and third rounds will be held.

It seems much more likely the Packers will end up with one of the Jets’ two second-round picks. They could do the trade on this day before the second round begins.

If it gets past this day, the trade discussions change drastically because it becomes all about draft picks in future years.

Robert Saleh watches over New York Jets OTAs in 2022.
Bill Kostroun for the NY Post

May 22: The Jets begin OTAs on his day. This is when they are really on the field practicing with coaches there.

This is when the Jets would prefer to have Rodgers there to work with his new receivers. Again, I don’t think this is of major importance to the Jets, but it is not ideal not to have your quarterback in place during May and June when the team is working on installing the offense.

There is also the idea that Rodgers needs to develop chemistry with his new receivers. Even if he is not on the Jets, he could gather Jets players at a location and throw to them. There is no rule against working out with players on another team.

June 1: This is a date with salary-cap implications. It is beneficial for the Packers to do the trade after June 1 because they can split Rodgers’ cap hit over 2023 and 2024 rather than having it all on 2023.

Sources have indicted this date is not critical to the Packers, but if we get past the draft, it is one to keep an eye on.

Zach Wilson stretches before Jets practice.
Bill Kostroun for the NY Post

Late July: We’re not sure the exact dates when training camp starts for the Jets and Packers, but the teams need to have this trade done before they go to camp.

Can you imagine the Jets reporting to camp with Zach Wilson as the No. 1 quarterback on the roster? Can you imagine the Packers reporting to camp and Rodgers showing up? Neither can I.

Both sides need to have this done before training camp. If you’re looking for a real deadline, this is it.

Week 1: Theoretically, the Packers can wait until Week 1 to trade Rodgers. That is when they have to pick up his bonus and his $59 million salary kicks in. There is no way it goes this long, but it is theoretically possible.

More downside to Moore trade

I’m not in love with the Elijah Moore trade.

Look, if the extra second-round pick results in them getting Aaron Rodgers, maybe it was worth it.

Elijah Moore of the Jets evades a tackle from the Lions defense.
Getty Images

But I think Moore is going to be a good player. There were flashes of greatness from him, but he was held back by the Jets’ quarterback play. The Jets are giving up on a young, talented player whom they still had on his rookie contract for two more years.

I think Moore would have been a star with Rodgers at quarterback, and he could be a star in Cleveland with Deshaun Watson.

Here is what Joe Douglas had to say about the deal:

“That was a tough decision because obviously Elijah is a really good player and a young player and on a cap-friendly deal. I think it was just a situation that came up where we had a flood of calls, nothing really serious. Cleveland was aggressive in their pursuit. Ultimately, we felt like this was an opportunity to bring value that we needed back to the team and back to the Draft while also giving Elijah a great opportunity in Cleveland.”

Robert Saleh was asked whether he is disappointed things did not work out with the team’s 2021 second-round draft pick.

Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass for the Packers.
Getty Images

“You always look in the mirror if it doesn’t work out with a player as a coach,” Saleh said. “You just always go back and try to figure out what went wrong, what could have been better. Elijah had a really good second half of the year last year. I know that everyone is going to talk about the first half and the trade demands, but he’s a tremendous young man, works his tail off, got a lot better as the year went on and regained all his speed and was very productive for us.

“Cleveland got a really good receiver and he’s going to be good there for a while.”

Stat’s so

Aaron Rodgers will turn 40 during the 2023 season. It used to be rare for quarterbacks to have success in their 40s, but Tom Brady proved it is possible. Can Rodgers duplicate the success Brady had in his 40s?

Here is a look at the top 10 passing seasons in NFL history by a quarterback who turned 40 by Dec. 31 of that season:

1. Tom Brady, TB, 2021 (age 44): 5,316 yards, 43 TDs, 12 INTs
2. Tom Brady, TB, 2022 (age 45): 4,694 yards, 25 TDs, 9 INTs
3. Tom Brady, TB, 2020 (age 43): 4,633 yards, 40 TDs, 12 INTs
4. Tom Brady, NE, 2017 (age 40): 4,577 yards, 32 TDs, 8 INTs
5. Tom Brady, NE, 2018 (age 41): 4,355 yards, 29 TDs, 11 INTs
6. Brett Favre, MIN, 2009 (age 40): 4,202 yards, 33 TDs, 7 INTs
7. Tom Brady, NE, 2019 (age 42): 4,057 yards, 24 TDs, 8 INTs
8. Warren Moon, SEA, 1997 (age 41): 3,678 yards, 25 TDs, 16 INTs
9. Vinny Testaverde, DAL, 2004 (age 41): 3,532 yards, 17 TDs, 20 INTs
10. Drew Brees, NO, 2019 (age 40): 2,979 yards, 27 TDs, 4 INTs

Source: Stathead