PHOENIX — After weeks of waiting, the Aaron Rodgers watch continues as we near the end of the NFL Owners Meetings.

The speculation about what is holding up the expected deal between the Jets and the Packers for the four-time league MVP is running rampant.

While joking with reporters about wanting every pick that he could get for the superstar quarterback, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said getting the Jets 2023 first-round pick isn’t mandatory for Rodgers.

“That’s not a necessity,” Gutekunst said Monday. “But at the same time, the value of the player, he’s a premier player. I think getting premier picks back for that player is important.”

Both Gutekunst and Jets general manager Joe Douglas are present here this week at the gathering of the league’s owners. While they have been seen in the same vicinity, it doesn’t appear a deal for Rodgers is imminent.

However, the Jets and the Packers have discussed trading two draft picks for Rodgers, according to Yahoo Sports. The compensation would reportedly be a second-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2024, which could potentially be a first-round pick if Rodgers reaches “achievable” team performance escalators.

The Jets have the 13th overall pick in the 2023 draft. They also have No. 42 and 43 picks in the second round.

However, there’s a sticking point between the two sides as the Jets reportedly want extra compensation for 2025 should Rodgers decide to retire after the 2023 season.

When speaking to reporters on Monday, Douglas said there is no hard deadline on when they need to have the deal done.

“We’re gonna have to let this process play out,” Douglas said. “So obviously, we’re not exactly where we need to be at this. But we’re gonna let this process play out and ultimately, we do feel good about where we’re at.”

At some point this offseason, the Packers decided to move on from Rodgers. However, Rodgers’ and the Green Bay side of the story seem to be different.

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After the storied franchise missed the playoffs (8-9) for the first time since 2018, Rodgers left to return to his home state of California. At the time, both the Packers and Rodgers appeared to be open to the idea of the quarterback returning for the 2023 season.

According to Gutekunst, he wanted to speak with Rodgers on the phone about the direction of the franchise moving forward. But those conversations never happened as Rodgers was said to have ghosted the Packers brass.

Then on “The Pat McAfee Show” earlier this month, Rodgers said he went on his darkness retreat “90 percent” retired. However, when he came out of the darkness, Rodgers said something had changed as he heard from multiple people around the league that the Packers were trying to trade the 18-year veteran without telling him. Green Bay’s plan was to start Jordan Love at QB after selecting him during the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

As his era with the Packers comes to a close, no one can argue about Rodgers’ accomplishments with the team.

Not only is he the longest-tenured Packers player, but Rodgers is also likely the best player in franchise history. He has thrown for 59,055 yards and 475 touchdowns while having the second-highest passer rating in NFL history (103.6). Rodgers also won Super Bowl XLV after the 2010 season and was named the game’s MVP.

After the Packers hired Matt LaFleur as head coach, they had a ton of success with three consecutive 13-win seasons (2019-21) and made two consecutive NFC Championship (2019-20) appearances during that span.

“I’ve got nothing but love and appreciation for what Aaron Rodgers has done for the organization,” LaFleur told reporters Tuesday. “He’s done so much for myself, my family. I’m just gonna leave it at that.”

Antwan Staley

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