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Aaron Rodgers Has The NFL Media Right Where He Likes It: Hostage

11:07 AM EDT on March 15, 2023

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 08: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers runs onto the field before a game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on January 08, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

There's good news on the Aaron Rodgers front, and by "good" we mean "agonizing" and by "news," we mean "nothing."

According to the noted bloviateur Mike Florio and citing a league source (which could be anyone from Chris Simms, whom he sits next to five days a week, to the possibly mythical Dov Kleiman), the Green Bay Packers are willing to wait until hell freezes over, meaning the day of the NFL draft, to trade Aaron Rodgers unless they get their price. In short, they intend to carry as little of Rodgers's forthcoming contractual requirements themselves as possible.

And while nobody genuinely cares whether Rodgers, the Packers, or the Jets are satisfied, it seems clear that the longer this lasts, the more likely it will be to crowd out other NFL news, which this morning included Bryce Huff, Teair Tart, Cole Holcomb, Yosh Nijman, Tanner Muse, and Ashton Dulin. And we're not even counting all the rule changes being proposed this week that will almost certainly die en masse as the owners lurch from mimosas at dawn to boilermakers at dusk.

Rodgers has not been deterred by the lack of actual developments, apparently taking over from Joe Douglas as Jets GM and ordering players off the menu like a traveling youth soccer team hitting a Denny's at predawn. But the Packers, bless the abandoned colliery that serves as their hearts, seem perfectly willing to let Rodgers play fantasy football with real people all day long because it means less time he has to annoy them. And while the amalgamated NFL medioids light new hoops ablaze to jump through at the bark of a producer, the actual news is blessedly nothing. Nothing then, nothing now, nothing ever, and that is irritating the hell out of the news churn.

Of course, this will not deter any of the various Schefterati, Rapoportae, or Russinii from chasing the emptiness at the behest of their corporate masters, because this story must be broken even if it seems like it already is.

We would like it to be part of a master plan concocted jointly by Rodgers and Packers president Mark Murphy to see how long they can make the pundits bark like seals before they all snap and start looting the gift shop at The Biltmore and Roger Goodell has to come downstairs and hold a press conference to put them back to sleep. We know Rodgers would be up for stringing the children along because he trafficks in those sorts of vapid amusements, and behind his own granite-faced facade Murphy might have a bit of the Irish imp in him as well.

But this is probably not the actual story as it refuses to develop. It may simply be the sclerotic nature of trade talks when they involve fed-up authoritarians, desperate buyers, and pseudo-anarchist narcissists. The fact that almost everyone who follows football is actually sick to death of the whole tortuous nonsense does not change the essential fact that no news is just as marketable as news if you natter on about it long enough. Maybe the real story here is in seeing how long it will take to get Tom Pelissero to cry, or Aditi Kinkhabwala to punch out Jeff Darlington on set, and who wouldn't sign up for daily episodes of that, especially if Amy Trask were deskside explaining workplace liability laws while Darlington was bleeding all over his shirt? The possibilities are endless, just like the Rodgers saga.

If there is a resolution to be had here, and sadly there will be, the best one might be for the entire trade to fizzle out and for the Packers to be forced to spite-hold Rodgers. That's the best one for us anyway, because this is a story that actually deserves to die without ever being harvested. Everyone involved will come away with nothing save the empty calories of delegating blame, the Jets and Packers will finish 10th in their respective conferences, Rodgers will reattach himself to Pat McAfee's coattails, and we will all hate football just a little bit more. Now that pickleball is the next American pastime (at least according to this barnacle with feet), we'll need something with which to amuse ourselves … right up until the moment we find out that Rodgers is buying into a franchise, and hell makes another small stride toward desirability.

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