Madden NFL 23
Ask Madden: Where Should Aaron Rodgers Be Traded This Offseason?
As Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers decompresses in total darkness, teams are actively trying to trade for the 39-year-old gunslinger. And although there is no guarantee that a trade will happen, many teams in need of a starting quarterback are already lining up at Green Bay’s doorstep. But with limited cap space and a massive contract, there may only be a few realistic suitors. Additionally, it sounds like the Packers would prefer to trade Rodgers to the AFC, potentially cutting the list of suitors in half. But this is Madden, and we don’t have to play by the rules.
We’ve been playing the ‘what if’ game using Madden 23. This is no different. But before we get into the most likely destinations for Rodgers, we need to look at his contract. And. It. Is. Massive! According to Spotrac, Rodgers’ current deal is littered with team options. These don’t play a factor in Madden. What does play a factor in both the real world and virtual is his massive $60 million cap hit in 2023. This is how Rodgers’ contract is officially broken down, per Spotrac.
What Team Should Trade For Aaron Rodgers?
In real life, teams will almost certainly need Rodgers to restructure. This is something he seems very aware of. However, in Madden, this isn’t necessarily an option. So, while teams in real life have flexibility in what Rodgers’ contract may look like, we do not.
Trade compensation is another thing that varies significantly between Madden and the real world. For example, compensatory picks have yet to be included in Madden, whereas in real life this might be the perfect situation to use one or two. Nevertheless, despite his age, I predict teams will have to pay at least a first-round pick for Rodgers. We’ll get into what each team had to give up to land Rodgers a bit later, but first, let’s check out Rodgers’ most recent Madden 23 rating.
Now that we know what it might cost to pay and trade Rodgers, let’s try to find the perfect fit for him to make a run at a Lombardi Trophy.
(Please note: Despite my best efforts to trade for Aaron Rodgers, there wasn’t much Green Bay would accept via trade. Somehow, the New York Jets were able to land Rodgers for a first-round pick in 2023 and a first and second-round pick in 2024. San Francisco was able to land Rodgers, but the price tag was enormous. For other teams, I had to manually force a trade, which was less than ideal.)
Las Vegas Raiders – Cap Space: $46,749,005 (47 Players Signed)
With Derek Carr officially done in Las Vegas, head coach Josh McDaniels is left with a career-altering decision to make at the most critical position in football. The original plan may have been to sign Tom Brady, but that plan went out the window when TB12 officially retired earlier this month. Jimmy Garoppolo may be the cheaper option, and he has a working relationship with McDaniels. Still, Rodgers is on a different tier, especially when he has his favorite target DaVante Adams by his side. The Raiders are also an AFC team, so it would also cover that part of the proposal — if Green Bay doesn’t want him in the NFC.
However, any trade sending Rodgers to Las Vegas could force the Raiders to make critical roster moves to stay under the cap. In Madden, I was able to retain free agent running back Josh Jacobs with a bit of maneuvering, but it might be a little harder to re-sign him in the real world, especially after signing Rodgers to a massive contract. All in all, Rodgers to the Raiders seems likely, and from a Madden perspective, they would be overpowered. I mean, imagine reuniting Rodgers and Adams while also adding a weapon like tight end Darren Waller. Retaining running back Josh Jacobs would be the cherry on top.
The more I think about it, Rodgers to the Raiders makes too much sense.
2023 Results: 12-5. Lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 42-31 in the divisional round.
2023 Stats: 4,748 yards, 39 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions with a 102.5 passer rating. DaVante Adams was Rodgers’ leading receiver, with 108 receptions for 1,658 yards and 12 touchdowns.
New England Patriots – Cap Space: $37,988,722 (61 Players Signed)
This one may be a bit out there, considering both Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe have looked capable at times, but with lots of cap space and an immediate upgrade at the quarterback position readily available, what’s stopping Bill Belichick from trying to acquire another veteran Hall of Fame quarterback? Don’t get me wrong, this is something that is far more likely in Madden than in the real world.
Unlike other teams on this list, the Patriots don’t have the same type of weapons, which could be an issue for Rodgers. Sure, running back Rhamondre Stevenson is a stud, but the Patriots’ wide receivers are average at best and don’t really offer the same explosiveness that other teams might. DeVante Parker is back, but the Pats expect to lose Jakobi Meyers to free agency. Tyquan Thornton may be ready to take the next step, but there isn’t much there for Rodgers — at the moment. Nevertheless, if Belichick wants one last ring before calling it quits, bringing in Aaron Rodgers is the perfect remedy.
2023 Results: 9-8. No Postseason.
2023 Stats: 4,215 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions with a 97.8 passer rating. Hunter Henry was Rodgers’ leading receiver, with 52 receptions for 975 yards and 12 touchdowns.
San Francisco 49ers – Cap Space: $3,627,380 (48 Players Signed)
Brock Purdy’s improbable run during his rookie season ended at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense in the NFC Championship game. Nevertheless, the future is bright in San Francisco, with not one but two young quarterbacks for Kyle Shanahan to continue to mold. But what if Shanahan could bring in a quarterback that could run the system better than anyone that’s ever come before? Think about how insane it would be to have Rodgers at the helm of an offense with superstars like tight end George Kittle, running back Christian McCaffrey, and wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel.
Who could stop that? Probably nobody, but the salary cap might.
As it stands, the 49ers have $3.627M in available cap space. That number will go up as the team looks to shed cap space and rework some contracts. However, when you factor in San Francisco’s tight cap situation — and the fact that they play in the NFC, posing one of the biggest threats to the Packers in the NFL — I don’t see the two sides reaching a deal. Then again, stranger things have happened, and if reports are accurate, Shanahan tried to lure Rodgers to San Fran long ago.
2023 Results: 14-3. NFC West champions. In the NFC Championship game, they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles, 35-34.
2023 Stats: 4,754 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 109.9 passer rating. Deebo Samuel was Rodgers’ leading receiver, with 82 receptions for 1,269 yards and nine touchdowns.
Tennessee Titans – Cap Space: $-23,687,933 (57 Players Signed)
It appears that Ryan Tannehill and the Titans will likely go their separate ways this offseason, so a need for a veteran quarterback has suddenly opened up in Tennessee. In Madden, I might prefer to roll with second-year QB Malik Willis, but that’s not what this article is about, now is it? The Titans had a few opportunities to make some noise in the playoffs, but they have come up short year after year. So adding Rodgers could be exactly what the Titans need.
Adding Rodgers to an offense with Derrick Henry, a healthy Robert Woods, and Treylon Burks? Maybe that last part doesn’t strike fear into defenses, but it will. There are also a handful of wide receivers the Titans could sign on the open market that could help reshape Tennessee’s offense. Then again, with Tannehill still on the books, the Titans are currently $23M over the cap. Is it likely to happen? I don’t think so. After all, there are teams with far more cap space and much more appealing situations. But Rodgers, to the Titans, would instantly make the Titans AFC contenders and the odds-on favorites to win the AFC South.
2023 Results: 12-5. First place in the AFC South. Finished the season with a 27-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl LVIII.
2023 Stats: 4,369 yards, 38 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions with a 103.2 passer rating. Treylon Burks was Rodgers’ leading receiver, with 65 receptions for 1,084 yards and six touchdowns.
New York Jets – Cap Space: $-3,055,607 (52 Players Signed)
The most logical destination for Aaron Rodgers — as painful as it is for me to say — is in New York with Robert Saleh and the Jets. After all, the Jets just signed one of Rodgers’ former offensive coordinators, Nathaniel Hackett. And let’s not pretend like the offense isn’t loaded with talented players like Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, fellow wideout Elijah Moore, and running backs Breece Hall and Michael Carter. It would be the perfect supporting cast. The defense also has some key pieces, headlined by Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardener.
You could argue that some teams need Rodgers more than the Jets. Honestly, it’s the last thing I want to see as a Miami Dolphins fan. But when you factor in the young nucleus of offensive star power, coupled with his relationship with coach Hackett, I don’t think there’s a better-suited team to acquire Rodgers. Of course, I’m also a bit selfish and wouldn’t mind seeing how he interacts with the New York media.
Rodgers to the Jets is a perfect fit.
2023 Results: 11-6 record. 2nd in the AFC East. Finished the season with a 28-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game.
2023 Stats: 4,501 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions with a 100.6 passer rating. Garrett Wilson was Rodgers’ leading receiver, with 101 receptions for 1,331 yards and ten touchdowns.
Any day now, I expect to sign on Twitter to see breaking news regarding Aaron Rodgers and his new team. Maybe we have a little time left before that decision is made, but when Rodgers finally makes a decision, the entire NFL landscape will be flipped upside down. Teams all over the league will be lining up to make a run at Rodgers. But as I said at the beginning, only a few teams have the resources and cap space to pull off a blockbuster trade of this caliber.