May 4, 2021

Aaron Rodgers' 5 Best Landing Spots, Ranked

It seems like with each passing day, the rift between Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers grows larger and larger.

Rodgers reportedly believes that the relationship between him and the team is virtually beyond repair while the Packers say that they are not trading their franchise quarterback. But if Rodgers has his mind made up and has no intention of returning to Green Bay, he could potentially force the team’s hand and orchestrate a trade.

Of course, that begs the question as to where Rodgers could end up. The quarterback landscape looks different after the 2021 NFL Draft last week, and so teams that needed a quarterback a week ago may no longer be in the market for one.

With that in mind, let’s explore the five best landing spots for Rodgers if he leaves Green Bay.

5. Las Vegas Raiders

Nobody in Las Vegas seems to be particularly enamored with Derek Carr at quarterback, even after three straight seasons with over 4,000 passing yards. The team’s lack of success in recent years isn’t exactly Carr’s fault. That being said, it’d be a no-brainer for Jon Gruden to go after Rodgers if the quarterback was interested in coming to Sin City. Dumping Carr could be difficult, but that doesn’t take the Raiders out of the running for Rodgers.

The Raiders' defense was one of the worst in the NFL last year, so adding Rodgers wouldn’t automatically make the Raiders contenders in the AFC, especially in the same division as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

On the other hand, Rodgers would have one of the best tight ends in football in Darren Waller and a promising young receiver like Henry Ruggs. He’d also be closer to the West Coast and Los Angeles, where they shoot "Jeopardy!" and where his new fiance occasionally works, so there are a lot of advantages to Rodgers going to Las Vegas.

The biggest problem, other than the Raiders' lack of talent and playing in the same division as Patrick Mahomes, is that Rodgers would have to deal with Jon Gruden. The two would probably not be on speaking terms by training camp. 

4. Miami Dolphins

Does Rodgers seem like the type to enjoy South Beach? He grew up in Northern California and has spent his entire pro career in Green Bay, so he may not love the sand, per se. That being said, the Dolphins could be appealing to him and Miami would certainly be open to having Rodgers in the fold. The Dolphins are by no means sold on Tua Tagovailoa as the long-term starter, even if he’ll get a chance to prove himself this season. Keep in mind that Miami brought in reliable backup Jacoby Brissett, so the Dolphins are prepared for Tagovailoa to falter.

With DeVante Parker and Will Fuller on Miami’s roster and Jaylen Waddle drafted in the first round, Rodgers might just prefer that group of receivers to what he has in Green Bay. Keep in mind that the Dolphins were one of the best defensive teams in the NFL last year.

Sharing a division with Bill Belichick’s Patriots and the upstart Bills makes Miami less appealing. But that won’t stop Rodgers from trying to get out of Green Bay.

3. New Orleans Saints

Imagine being able to go from Drew Brees to Rodgers. The latter probably wouldn’t have a problem following in the footsteps of a fellow future Hall of Famer. Sean Payton’s reputation speaks for itself and Rodgers has had enough battles with New Orleans to know that the Saints are always a contender. That makes New Orleans a potential destination where Rodgers knows that he’ll be able to win another Super Bowl. After all, the Saints had the fifth-most points in the NFL last year, even with an aging Brees under center.

The Saints are planning to give Jameis Winston a chance, knowing that Taysom Hill is also an option if the guy who threw 30 interceptions a couple of years ago reappears. But Payton wouldn’t give it a second thought if he had a chance to acquire Rodgers. The only drawback is that the Saints don’t have an established second receiver who can complement Michael Thomas any more than the Packers have one to pair with Davante Adams. That could put Rodgers back where he started. However, being in New Orleans and working with Payton would supersede that and help make the Saints the favorite in the NFC.

2. Washington Football Team

Washington started Taylor Heinicke in a playoff game last season and is set to begin 2021 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting signal-caller. That alone should make the Football Team a serious landing spot for Rodgers. On top of that, Ron Rivera’s team didn’t bother to draft a quarterback this year, not even a late-round quarterback with potential. They can’t possibly think that Heinicke is the future, right?

In many ways, Washington might appeal to Rodgers. Granted, it’s a franchise that hasn’t had much success in recent years and has a defensive-minded head coach. But the Washington Football Team also won the NFC East last year with Alex Smith at quarterback. Conventional wisdom says the team could waltz to the division title with Rodgers at quarterback. Plus, with Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Adam Humphries, they have the makings of a decent set of receivers that could be even better with Rodgers throwing the ball to them. It’s not a perfect match, but Rodgers will surely favor it over Green Bay.

Washington's stacked offense, along with a championship-level defense and a wide-open division, makes the Football Team the best landing spot in the NFC. But there's one better destination for the reigning NFL MVP. 

1. Denver Broncos

If he doesn’t suit up for the Packers in 2021, the Broncos appear to be the most likely destination.

While John Elway has taken a step back in the Broncos' front office this offseason, he could still be called upon to recruit Rodgers to Denver like he did with Peyton Manning. And Rodgers only needs to look at what Manning did in Denver as a blueprint for what he could accomplish with the Broncos.

Of course, the Broncos have Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock on the roster, but they also had a chance to take Justin Fields and passed, perhaps with hopes of getting Rodgers. Denver is also home to a dynamic set of young receivers, most notably Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and tight end Noah Fant. An experienced quarterback like Rodgers could do amazing things with young, talented receivers like that.

That’s one of the reasons why Rodgers going to the Broncos makes a lot of sense and could be his best and — most likely — landing spot if he’s able to wiggle his way out of Title Town.

Photo: Getty Images/Lines Illustration