Once upon a time, John Elway was traded to the Denver Broncos from the Baltimore Colts for a future first round draft pick, OT Chris Hinton, and QB Mark Hermann. Almost exactly 38 years later to the day, the Broncos find themselves in the unique position of being the prime landing spot for disgruntled MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The Broncos were on the opposite end of this situation when they found themselves at odds with Jay Cutler back in 2009. While he wasn’t an MVP or even a likeable person, the fishtailing nature of the tit-for-tat is very similar. As then, the quarterback’s distaste for the team is on a slow steady leak while the team insists that they will do everything possible to repair the situation. Good luck with that.
By not trading Rodgers prior to the draft, the Packers won’t be subject to the massive salary cap hit that such a trade at that time would have afforded. However, by waiting until June to deal him, they effectively miss out on the opportunity to begin building around Jordan Love this year. They also limit potential trade partners because by now most teams have already addressed their quarterback needs for this year and/or lack the cap space to take on the legendary quarterback. Simply put, the Denver Broncos are the biggest no-brainer destination for Aaron Rodgers.
So what does that mean for the Broncos draft class of 2021?
Since the Packers missed out of leveraging this situation into a 2021 draft bounty courtesy of the Denver Broncos, they will demand whatever value they can squeeze when the time eventually comes. The 2022 draft is as far away as it could possibly be, and so the Packers, like the Colts in 1983, will look to acquire whatever personnel they can get their hands on (and yes, future picks as well).
In 1983, with the 4th pick in the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected Chris Hinton. He never played a down for Denver. There is a very real chance that the Broncos selections at the top of the draft may have the Chris Hinton experience. The Packers on the cusp of losing franchise quarterback and they will need something, a trophy of sorts-maybe a couple, to temper their already roiled fanbase.
Every year after the draft, I’m excited to get to know the new players and imagine how their careers may play out. However, this year I’m hesitant to fully embrace them as part of the Denver Broncos family until the Rodgers situation is settled. While the 2021 draft is over in Cleveland, it remains very much in-flux for the next month while Broncos Country waits and watches how the dominoes fall in Wisconsin.
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