Patriots Land QB In Crazy Trade Idea Involving Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson

Who says "no" in this hypothetical four-team blockbuster?


January 27, 2021

Thought the Deshaun Watson trade rumors were wild?

Well, Aaron Rodgers, the likely 2020 NFL MVP, kickstarted even more speculative bedlam Sunday with cryptic comments he made after the Green Bay Packers’ NFC Championship Game loss.

Add the two together — which is exactly what ESPN’s Bill Barnwell did Wednesday — and you basically have the biggest possible powder keg of hypothetical trades.

In fact, Barnwell sprinkled in Packers first-round backup quarterback Jordan Love, San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the New England Patriots for good measure.

Let’s first be clear: Barnwell believes the Houston Texans should do everything in their power to keep Watson. He also estimates there’s maybe a 1 percent chance of the Packers trading Rodgers.

So, essentially, we’re dealing with a figment of one’s imagination in assessing a trade idea that’s about as fascinating, head-spinning and farfetched as they come.

Still, let’s have some fun.

Here’s the proposal Barnwell floated in an column ranking 17 Watson trade ideas from least likely to most likely (yes, this was No. 17):

Packers send: QB Aaron Rodgers (to 49ers), 30th overall pick in 2021, QB Jordan Love (to Texans)

49ers send: 12th overall pick in 2021, 2022 first-round pick (to Texans), 2022 second-round pick (to Packers), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (to Patriots)

Texans send: QB Deshaun Watson (to Packers), 2022 fourth-round pick (to 49ers)

Patriots send: 142nd overall pick (to 49ers)

Got all that?

Here’s the end result, displayed a different way, assuming we’re digesting all of the moving pieces correctly:

Packers acquire: Deshaun Watson, 2022 second-round pick

49ers acquire: Aaron Rodgers, 142nd overall pick in 2021, 2022 fourth-round pick

Texans acquire: Jordan Love, 12th overall pick in 2021, 30th overall pick in 2021, 2022 first-round pick

Patriots acquire: Jimmy Garoppolo

See, we told you it was a crazy idea. But is it crazy enough to work?

The Packers trade away an NFL legend, sure, but they get back a franchise quarterback who’s 12 years younger.

The 49ers would be pushing their chips into the middle of the table, hoping Rodgers can keep open their Super Bowl window. And why not? Rodgers, 37, still is at the peak of his powers, and San Francisco is poised for a bounce-back in 2021 if everyone stays healthy.

The Texans land three first-rounders — maybe the starting point in Watson trade talks? — as well as a potential QB replacement in Love.

And the Patriots, well, they need a quarterback after Cam Newton failed to produce upon replacing Tom Brady in 2020. Garoppolo might be the perfect fit given his history with New England.

All told, who says “no” in this instance?

Probably the Packers and Texans, right? They likely would prefer to just work things out with Rodgers and Watson, respectively.

Then again, the Niners and Pats theoretically could kick up a fuss, too, with San Francisco instead opting for a longer-term approach and New England hoping to wait and swoop in if Garoppolo gets cut.

For the sake of flipping the NFL offseason — and the league’s landscape, in general — on its head, we’re hoping Barnwell is on to something.

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