New York Daily News

There’s one line Jets can’t cross, even for Rodgers


PHOENIX — The Jets should give the Packers a 2023 second-round pick, a conditiona­l 2024 third-round pick and wide receiver Corey Davis to acquire Aaron Rodgers. The second-rounder could be the 42nd overall selection Joe Douglas just got from Cleveland in the Elijah Moore trade, which is one pick higher than the Jets’ own pick at 43.

The conditiona­l third could become a first-rounder if the Jets reach the Super Bowl this season or a second-round pick if they make the playoffs with Rodgers playing 60% of the snaps.

Davis would give the Packers a motivated player on a contract year while clearing millions off the Jets’ books to possibly sign Odell Beckham Jr. onto a receiving core now featuring Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman.

But the Jets’ No. 13 overall pick in April’s first round can’t be on the table in this trade.

Douglas just drafted the defensive and offensive rookies of the year in corner Sauce Gardner (No. 4 in 2022) and Wilson (No. 10 in 2022), on top of landing versatile OL Alijah Vera-Tucker (No. 14 in 2021).

He landed cornerston­e players at three key positions, bouncing back from apparent misses with Zach Wilson (No. 2 in 2021) and Mekhi Becton (No. 11 in 2020).

If the Packers want to be stubborn and refuse to do a reasonable trade before the draft, that’s on them. They won’t get more picks and assets to rebuild their post-Rodgers roster around Jordan Love.

The Jets need to use their pre-draft leverage. They cannot panic and give in now, even with the threat of Green Bay regaining some leverage post-draft if both Rodgers and the Jets hang in limbo.

The Packers’ holdout for maximum value is natural considerin­g Rodgers’ pedigree.

They know the Jets have committed to Rodgers as their man in 2023, too, and it would be catastroph­ic for Woody Johnson to lose out on A-Rod at this point.

The Jets would be taking $60 million guaranteed off the Packers’ hands by acquiring Rodgers, however, which isn’t a small part of these negotiatio­ns.

If Green Bay wants to eat some of that $60 million and make the Jets throw in a 2025 fifth-rounder, as well, fine. But otherwise, the buck has to stop there. And the Packers still would have a chance to get a firstround pick out of this proposed trade in 2024 if Rodgers and the Jets win big immediatel­y.

Douglas needs assets to continue building his offensive line and team if Rodgers is going to have any success here, not to mention want to stick around past 2023.

Back in 2008, Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum got Brett Favre, 38, from former Packers GM Ted Thompson for a conditiona­l draft pick that became a third-rounder. The pick had triggers and conditions attached that could have made it a first or second-rounder if the Jets had made the playoffs or gone deeper.

But Favre got hurt and the Jets fizzled after a hot start. And he only played one season with the Jets.

In 2021, the last NFC North quarterbac­k to bolt via trade was expensive.

The Lions’ Matthew Stafford cost the Rams a 2021 third-round pick, two first-rounders (in 2022 and 2023) and quarterbac­k Jared Goff.

Stafford was only 32 at the time, though. And there was substantia­l competitio­n for him on the trade market, which drove the price up.

It would be reasonable for the Packers to want a huge haul for Rodgers when comparing him to Stafford in a vacuum. But they are dissimilar situations. Rodgers turns 40 in December, and there is no guarantee how long he’ll play past 2023. The Jets have no competitio­n for Rodgers, so the Packers can’t leverage them against another bidder.

Rodgers and Stafford both asked their teams to trade them, but Stafford did it privately and Rodgers did it publicly. That puts different pressure on the Packers.

And the ongoing grudge match between Green Bay president Mark Murphy and Rodgers is clearly not helping this standoff.

A quick deal would help Rodgers move on. It would be his best-case scenario.

The Packers are motivated to get Rodgers out of their building, as well. But making Rodgers and the Jets stew a bit longer might simply be the cost of doing business given Green Bay’s complicate­d relationsh­ip with its great QB.

A longer wait might be fine with the Jets, up to a point — just as long as the cost doesn’t also include this year’s first-round pick.

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