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So who has the leverage? . . .

That is the 64,000 Question.

Who has the leverage in the Aaron Rodgers staredown, the Green Bay Packers or the New York Jets?

Some would argue the Packers have all the leverage. Why? Because with Derek Carr, Jimmy Garapolo, Mike White and most other free agent QBs off the market, where would they turn for a QB, since they intend on redshirting Zach Wilson this year, hoping to fix his mechanics?

So a lot of people are of the opinion that the Packers have painted the Jets in a corner.

Perhaps, but the Packers also hurt their leverage recently when Team President Mark Murphy, appearing at a charity event, talked about Rodgers in the past tense.

“We are fortunate to have back-to-back hall-of-fame quarterbacks,” Murphy said to WBAY sports reporter Adriana Torres on March 10. “It kind of happens in our game. Very few players play for only one team. Brett had a great career here. Aaron HAD a great career here. Regardless of what happens, Aaron will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He will be in our hall of fame. We will bring him back and retire his number. But this is just one of the things that you go through as a team. We want to try to achieve something that is good for both Aaron and us.”

Former NFL GM Mike Lombardi feels that Murphy hurt the Packers’ leverage with these comments.

“You saw Mark Murphy say that they are working to make that happen,” Lombardi said on VSIN. “I feel bad for (Brian) Gutekunst the GM, because he took away every leverage that he had – he could have said in trade talks, ‘We will just make him play for us.’ You must have some strength in the negotiations and Murphy could give a [bleep]. We’re just moving on. Murphy – thank you – we all know the world revolves around you up there. It makes it harder on [Gutekunst].”

If Murphy had not spoken at the charity event and referred to Rodgers in the past tense, the Packers would have all the leverage.

But Murphy’s comments even the leverage playing field a little.

So now, the leverage is the Packers owning the players right, and just holding the QB and the Jets hostage, until they get what they want.

“The Green Bay Packers don’t owe him anything,” said former agent Amal Shah. “He has been very well compensated over the years.”

So how long does the game of chicken last?

My gut tells me that if it drags on too much, Rodger Goodell will get involved.

The league office doesn’t like these kinds of public battles, between member clubs, becoming protracted and creating negative news for the league, and sometimes taking away from upcoming big events, like the draft, which is coming up in April.

Like Bill Belichick getting out of his Jets contract and going to New England, and Bill Parcells getting out of his New England contract and going to the Jets, the league often will intercede to end a dispute between two teams.

There should be at least a second-round pick going to Green Bay, and perhaps a player, like wide receivers Denzel Mims or Elijah Moore, who both asked for trades last year. With the Packers losing WR Allen Lazard to the Jets, they need another wideout. And then throw in a conditional pick, if Rodgers plays the 2024 season for the Jets.

So while the Packers have a little bit of an edge in the leverage game based on the Jets having seemingly nowhere to turn for a veteran starter right now, Murphy certainly didn’t help the Packers leverage, unless he has the gumption to let this play out for several months, to get the Jets to up their offer.

March 16, 2023

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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