Joe Banner does not understand the debate about whether the Packers or Jets have more leverage in the Aaron Rodgers trade discussions.
“For me, the Jets can wait without any risk or consequence,” said Banner, who helped build the Eagles into a powerhouse as the team president from 1995-2012. “The Packers, by waiting, risk that, for some reason, the Jets would not be interested, and then they have no one [to trade with], which really ruins their team for two, probably three years.”
“Believing the Jets will do something that will reflect impatience is not leverage. That’s just hoping they’re stupid. Leverage is putting the Packers in a position where they could lose the only interested team, which creates a complete disaster for them.”
The standoff over Rodgers could take a while, but Banner said the Jets can wait.
The team’s offseason program will not begin until April 17, and since Rodgers knows Nathaniel Hackett’s offense from Green Bay, he would not even need to be there for OTAs.
Though it is clear the Jets don’t have any good alternatives at quarterback, Banner believes the Packers are in a tougher spot because there is no way they can take back Rodgers now.
The Packers have made it clear they are ready to turn things over to Jordan Love, and Rodgers’ $60 million salary and the salary-cap charges that go with it could wreck the team.
This is why Banner said he would not offer a first-round pick.
He said he would not even give up a second-round pick, but suspects the Jets eventually will.
“If I’m the Jets, I’m getting him for as little as I can, and I am absolutely not putting a one at risk, no matter what,” Banner said. “Why put a one on the table when all you’re gaining is getting him a little bit sooner maybe? The Packers have to cave at some point.”
Banner said the Jets could put a scare into the Packers by bringing in another high-profile quarterback for a visit.
“If I were the Jets, I’d bring Lamar Jackson in for a visit even if I wasn’t interested,” Banner said. “Then, the Packers are saying, ‘Holy [bleep], they have an alternative and we don’t. We better close the deal.’ ”
The Jets are in a strong position because no other team has shown any real interest in trading for Rodgers.
“The Jets want to the deal for very good reasons,” Banner said. “The Packers absolutely have to do a deal, and they only have one potential partner as we sit here, and it’s hard to imagine a second one creating itself. The Jets have to be strong enough to trust that knowledge.”
Rodgers put some pressure on the Packers to make a deal with his appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” last week and his declaration that he intends to play for the Jets.
Banner said Rodgers could push things further still.
“If Rodgers walked into the Green Bay front office and said: If you don’t trade me to the Jets right now for a reasonable price, I’m not cooperating with any other trade, now, the only choice the Packers have is find a way to get the deal done with the Jets or bring Rodgers back, which they can’t do,” Banner said.
Banner believes how the Jets handle this will be a test of where they are as an organization.
“This is the real sign of whether the Jets have changed under [Joe] Douglas and gotten smart and have the ability to do what the really smart teams in the league do,” Banner said. “Or are they going to be like they’ve been for a while and not make the smartest decision and not having great success in the field? To me, this is a moment where we’ll see.”
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