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Aaron Rodgers
Tennessee Titans

Could Aaron Rodgers Be Traded To Titans?

  • Justin Melo
  • February 4, 2022
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The offseason has mercilessly arrived prematurely for 30 of 32 NFL franchises and their disappointed fan bases. The offseason often welcomes silly rumors that hold little merit and truth. The latest rumor involves Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a move to the Tennessee Titans. Earlier this week, Jared Stillman of ESPN's 102.5 The Game reported that Rodgers has purchased land in the Nashville suburb of Franklin and plans to build a house in the area. Furthermore, Stillman reported that Rodgers would be "open" to joining the Titans this offseason. Rodgers has been long rumored to depart the Packers in search of greener pastures, and this season's extremely disappointing early postseason exit at the hands of Jimmy Garoppolo and the underdog San Francisco 49ers will surely fuel more Rodgers-related rumors throughout the impending season. In fact, they've already begun and they include an aforementioned unlikely move to the Titans. Firstly, any move that would bring Rodgers to Tennessee would have to succeed the departure of current Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, which qualifies as rather unlikely due to the financial details of Tannehill's remaining contract. Outright releasing Tannehill is completely out of the question financially, as the Titans would be strapped with an unmanageable dead cap hit of $57.4 million. A pre-June-1 trade is also extremely unlikely to materialize, given that the Titans would only save $10.2 million in cap space while straddling themselves with a $28.4 million dead cap hit. A post-June-1 trade is the only plausible scenario that sees the Titans ridding themselves of the sizable financial burden, as such a move would free up $29 million in cap space while providing a more realistic dead cap hit of $9.6 million. The Titans would have to carry Tannehill on their roster throughout the majority of the offseason while shaping their roster through the NFL draft and initial free agency period while dealing with quarterback-related uncertainty. A potential trade partner would have to deal with the same. Secondly, the Titans would have to be willing to part with Tannehill, who has led them to three consecutive postseason appearances, two straight division titles, and an AFC Championship Game appearance in two-and-a-half seasons as their starter. Nothing indicates that general manager Jon Robinson or head coach Mike Vrabel would be particularly interested in creating such a scenario. Robinson called Tannehill a “leader" and referred to the former Miami Dolphin as, "our quarterback" while discussing the 2022 Titans at the Senior Bowl earlier this week while admitting he wouldn't make any rash decisions based on Tannehill's disappointing three-interception performance against the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round. Vrabel shared similar sentiments in his end-of-year addressing by backing Tannehill on a public forum. Sure, general managers and head coaches have lied before (the Arizona Cardinals and Josh Rosen come to mind), but nothing particularly indicates the Titans are unhappy with their quarterback, even if they should be. In the honor of #fun, let's imagine the possibilities. A post-June-1 trade for Tannehill is unlikely, but not impossible. Several NFL franchises will search for new signal-callers this offseason, and although Tannehill experienced his worst season as a Titan in 2021, he would undeniably represent an upgrade for several quarterback-needy teams across the league. The Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers particularly come to mind. The Broncos will likely set their sights higher, but Tannehill is fully capable of elevating a Denver roster that is blossoming with talent at the wide receiver, running back, and tight end positions. Should the Broncos strike out on Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, or Russell Wilson, Tannehill represents an acceptable backup plan should the Titans be interested in moving on. New head coach Nathaniel Hackett is expected to run a similar offensive system in Denver that Tannehill has expertly orchestrated in Tennessee, making him a good fit for Denver's new regime. Hackett learned under Matt LaFleur in 2021, who originally installed Tennessee's offense in 2018 when he worked as Vrabel's offensive coordinator. LaFleur's system largely remains in place, as Arthur Smith and current offensive coordinator Todd Downing kept the scheme intact. The Buccaneers possess an excellent roster that now finds itself quarterback-less following Tom Brady's legendary retirement. The Buccaneers will likely lead an aggressive search for Brady’s successor. Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht has a strong working relationship with the Titans' GM following their days spent together in New England and Tampa Bay. They share similar visions philosophically, and Robinson would endorse Tannehill should Licht make such a phone call. The Titans would then have to partake in shrewd discussions with the Packers, who have little reason to part with their MVP quarterback despite their postseason disappointment. The Titans own an aging roster offensively and would not be willing to part with young superstars such as A.J. Brown in Jeffery Simmons by any means necessary. That leaves future draft capital, which the Packers would surely require a plethora of in a metaphorical Rodgers trade, which the Titans are already particularly short on following last offseason's acquisition of future Canton-bound receiver Julio Jones in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick. Should the Titans have interest in acquiring Rodgers? Of course they should. Essentially 30 competing franchises *should* have some level of interest in Rodgers (the Kansas City Chiefs should probably stick with Patrick Mahomes) if the three-time MVP were to truly orchestrate his departure from the Packers this offseason. The most likely outcome is that Tannehill starts for the Titans and Rodgers starts for the Packers in 2022.