NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran this week floated an idea that probably made some ears perk up across New England: What if the Patriots’ plan at quarterback involves Aaron Rodgers?
Curran argued Rodgers’ situation with the Green Bay Packers is playing out “almost identically” to the way Tom Brady’s played out in New England, and the latter left the Patriots to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. Who’s to say Rodgers ultimately won’t land in Foxboro?
Well, count Brandon Marshall among those skeptical.
Marshall, a former NFL wide receiver now working as an analyst for FS1, completely shot down the possibility Wednesday on “First Things First,” suggesting there’s “zero chance” of Rodgers ending up in New England alongside Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
“You guys know how I hate speculative stories. Come on. This is what we’re talking about to open up a Wednesday — a beautiful Wednesday morning? Look, there’s zero chance. There’s zero chance of this happening,” Marshall said. “Everybody just needs to relax. He’s putting Aaron Rodgers’ name next to (Jimmy) Garoppolo and Teddy Bridgewater and Russell Wilson. Why does that matter? Because Russell Wilson, he’s not leaving Seattle. We just talked about that last week. That story is done; it’s dead. And then you look at Garoppolo, he’s not wanted in San Francisco. Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t wanted in Carolina. So, to put Aaron Rodgers in the same story as these guys makes no sense to me.
“There’s a lot of business that needs to be done. They need to look at where the (salary) cap’s gonna be in Green Bay. They have Davante Adams up next year. Davante Adams is gonna set the bar when it comes to what the wide receiver makes next year. So, they need to figure out what they’re gonna do long term. What’s the cap gonna be? We don’t know. So, Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay, they’re trying to figure it out. Aaron Rodgers is having fun with the process, putting pressure on Green Bay. And Green Bay is trying to slow roll this thing so they can figure out how this shakes out long term. But both of these parties wants to be there. Come on. We know that.”
ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio wrote over the weekend that Green Bay could “easily create significant cap space” by converting a large chunk of Rodgers’ $14.7 million base salary for 2021 to a signing bonus.
Taking that approach would push money to 2022, however. And the Packers, in essence, would be committing to Rodgers, who turns 38 in December, over Jordan Love, a 22-year-old whom they selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, for beyond this season. Are they prepared to make that decision?
The Patriots, among other QB-needy franchises, probably have an eye on the situation, although it’s hard to envision a Rodgers-New England pairing after Belichick just moved on from an aging (but still performing) Brady.
“And think about this: Bill Belichick is known to be one of the greatest not just because of X’s and O’s, but because of how he also lets go of players at the right time,” Marshall said. “He tried to let go of Tom Brady when he was around 37, 38 years of age. So now you’re gonna bring in a guy at 38, 39, no, it’s not gonna happen.”
Probably not. But it’s fun to talk about, if nothing else, especially since it adds another wrinkle to the conversation of whether the Patriots will trade up to land a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft.