By Scott Polacek
Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press
The first round of the 2021 NFL draft is in the books, which means a number of teams addressed needs at quarterback and wide receiver.
After all, the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots all took quarterbacks, while the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens took wide receivers.
That still leaves teams such as the Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders and Washington Football Team who could explore a potential Rodgers trade, while the Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Jets are possible landing spots for Jones.
Rodgers could be on the market after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported he is “so disgruntled with the Green Bay Packers that he has told some within the organization that he does not want to return to the team.”
As for Jones, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported some teams have called the Atlanta Falcons about potential trades because of the squad’s “brutal cap situation.”
While Jones is 32 years old, he is also one of the best wide receivers of his generation as a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro selection who led the league in receiving yards in 2015 and 2018.
Someone like that would make the transition to the NFL much easier for a rookie quarterback, which is why the Jets and Patriots made this list.
New York selected BYU’s Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick, while New England landed Alabama’s Mac Jones at No. 15. They each figure to take over the respective starting jobs eventually even if it isn’t right away in their rookie seasons, and Jones is under contract through the 2023 campaign.
Indianapolis is breaking in a new quarterback in a different way during the 2021 campaign after it traded for Carson Wentz.
Trading for Jones would give him a clear-cut No. 1 option and shift T.Y. Hilton and Michael Pittman Jr. into secondary roles where they would see far less double coverage. Throw in a backfield of Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack that defenders have to account for, and the Colts suddenly have the look of a Super Bowl offense.
Any team that trades for Rodgers will become instant Super Bowl contenders seeing how the nine-time Pro Bowler just won his third career MVP in 2020.
One thing Washington, Denver and Las Vegas all have in common is a lack of long-term clarity at the quarterback position.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is under contract for just one season for Washington, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater probably aren’t taking the Broncos to the Super Bowl anytime soon, and Carr is signed through 2022 for the Raiders.
Washington won the NFC East last year, has a potentially elite defense, and would give Rodgers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel as offensive weapons. As for the Broncos, Josina Anderson reported “I’m told one of Aaron Rodgers’ attractions to the Broncos has been the sense of ‘freedom’ he’d feel with the offense with [John] Elway in the building.”
And the Raiders’ offense would look quite dangerous with Rodgers surrounded by Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs III, Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake.