The Denver Post

Was passing on QB sign Rodgers deal is possible?

Packers quarterbac­k remains major talking point in wake of draft

- By Ryan O’Halloran

Q: If the Broncos don’t bring in Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson (extremely unlikely), how bad was it that they didn’t take Justin Fields or Mac Jones with the ninth pick? It feels like general manager negligence, especially given they’ll likely have a worse pick next year in a weaker quarterbac­k class. The only thing making sense is a deal in place to get Rodgers in June.

Mike C., Los Angeles

RO: We can rule out Watson, who has major off-the-field issues.

I believe not taking a quarterbac­k at No. 9 isn’t related to waiting for Rodgers to become available in a trade; it would have been totally naïve on the Broncos’ part to operate that way. They stuck to their board and took Pat Surtain II, who they believe was the draft’s best defensive player.

My lean is Mike’s lean — even if the Broncos are only two wins better this year (improving from 5-11 to 7-10), they will be out of the top 10 and have to give up draft capital to move up for a quarterbac­k. That was my rationale for drafting Fields or Jones, who went Nos. 11 and 15 to Chicago and New England, respective­ly.

I don’t buy next year being a weaker quarterbac­k class. Two years ago, LSU’s Joe Burrow was semi-unknown. Last year, BYU’s Zach Wilson and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance weren’t too heralded. I expect quarterbac­ks to emerge in the fall.

Q: I hear a lot about Denver’s need for an inside linebacker. Is Josey Jewell lacking? Chuck, Estes Park

RO: Jewell started all 16 games last year, played all but 77 of 1,088 snaps and was second on the Broncos with 111 tackles.

But it feels as if the Broncos like Jewell more as a first- and second-down (or base package) linebacker. They were going to try Justin Strnad in the sub-package role last year until he injured his wrist in training camp. Would Jewell be just as valuable in a slightly smaller role? Perhaps, which would allow him to help out more on special teams.

One thing Jewell did well last year and the Broncos should consider is as a blitzer. He had two sacks and five total quarterbac­k hits.

Q: Is Aaron Rodgers more trouble than he is worth? Since Green Bay has no other options for a trade partner, why would we be willing to pay top talent and draft capital for an aging prima donna? They don’t need Lock, I’m not giving up Pat Surtain

II, Justin Simmons or Bradley Chubb. The Packers created this mess and it’s not incumbent on the Broncos to fix it for them.

Mark Novak, St. Louis, Mo.

RO: Mark isn’t alone — I have received multiple emails from fans who are saying Rodgers isn’t worth what it would cost because he’s an aging player. Um, he won the MVP last year. Opportunit­ies like acquiring a player like him almost never present themselves so Paton should act.

Any Rodgers trade should not include Surtain, would not include Simmons and probably wouldn’t include Chubb. The key for Paton is presenting a proposal that doesn’t weaken this year’s playoff chances and compromise the Broncos being competitiv­e during Rodgers’ tenure (3-4 years tops?).

 ?? Mike Roemer, The Associated Press ?? Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talks to Aaron Rodgers during a 2019 game. Rodgers’ future in Green Bay has been in question since the Packers drafted Jordan Love in 2020.
Mike Roemer, The Associated Press Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur talks to Aaron Rodgers during a 2019 game. Rodgers’ future in Green Bay has been in question since the Packers drafted Jordan Love in 2020.

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