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The Three Most Likely Destinations For Aaron Rodgers In 2022

Let's skip ahead to IF the Packers sign off on this, because obviously they are. The talk is that the deal would void his 2023 year, making the 2022 season his last season under contract in Green Bay. It appears that there would be almost a handshake agreement a deal would be worked out after this season with Rodgers having to show good faith and show up for work this year. 

So if the 2022 season is about new beginnings for Rodgers, where will he land if given the freedom to choose/work out his own trade? Here are my three most likely spots.

3) Denver Broncos - This is the team he's been linked to the most, and it made sense for 2021. The Broncos passed on a QB in the Draft and they've got a veteran-laden team that's ready to win now, with the right signal caller. Von Miller is returning from an injury that caused him to miss the 2020 season. He forms an excellent rush pair with Bradley Chubb. They've got a really good defense headed up by HC Vic Fangio, a coach that has typically given Rodgers some problems in the past. Their secondary is Top 10 in the league headlined by a dynamic pair of Safeties in Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. On Offense, they drafted RB Javonte Williams near the top of the 2nd Round. They've got two TEs in Noah Fant and Albert O. that can fly. Their Receiving corps features a Pro Bowler coming off an injury in Courtland Sutton, a 1st round pick from a year ago in Jerry Jeudy, and a young speedster in K.J. Hamler. This is almost a turnkey situation for a Quarterback not that dissimilar from Tampa Bay with Tom Brady last year. But that is 2021. Their 2022 roster could be shaped a bit differently as Von Miller and Courtland Sutton are off the books and it's not a lock that Fangio is back after this season. 

Additionally, his fiancee Shailene Woodley lives in Boulder, Colorado. That coupled with the fact that the Broncos are an AFC team and not on the Packers schedule that year makes this pretty appealing from both the team and personal angles for a deal to get worked out.

2) Cleveland Browns - This could send Browns fans up in arms, but we have to ask when tough topics like this come up. Are you confident Baker Mayfield is a confetti QB? Could you picture those Lombardi Trophy shaped tissue paper falling down on him in early February with his play being a big reason the team won the Super Bowl? It's hard to definitively say at this moment. Right now, I'm leaning no. And I really like Baker. He's done so much for Cleveland and he's ended that long, embarrassing jersey that fans made with all the QBs that started for them over the past nearly two decades. But if you have the chance to get Aaron Rodgers, do you still love Baker? Mayfield will be entering his 5th year option, which the Browns already picked up, that will pay him $18,858,000 in 2022. If they were to release him, it would be that number of dead cap as 5th year options are guaranteed with the new CBA. The Browns are ready to win right now. Can Baker get them to the promised land? He's certainly got a shot, but this year will be a big time evaluation of his play, which so far, hasn't warranted being one of the top paid players at his position. Ultimately, that is something GM Andrew Berry will have to decide. Other notable names from that Draft Class that will certainly be getting the big bucks - Buffalo's Josh Allen and Baltimore's Lamar Jackson. Does Baker deserve to make in those guy's neighborhood ($35M+ per year)? 

Very similarly to the Broncos, the Browns are a turnkey job for a QB. They've got dynamic WRs in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry (both of whom are under contract for 2022). They're backfield is tops in the league with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and they've got arguably the best Offensive Line in the league. The transition would also likely be the easiest as Cleveland HC Kevin Stefanski uses similar concepts to what Rodgers uses currently under Packers HC Matt LaFluer. 

On Defense, the Browns have some dudes with Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and John Johnson III. Their cap room is much less at only $3M right now for 2022, but that can be manipulated and scheduled earnings converted to future earnings, so I'm not crazy worried about fitting in Rodgers. They also have all their Draft Picks in 2022 plus an extra 4th and they're in the AFC. Be on the lookout for Cleveland in the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes. 

Mike Roemer. Shutterstock Images.

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1) Washington Football Team - I think this probably makes the most sense. The Packers won't love that they're an NFC Team, but Rodgers would relish the fact that he'd get to play the Packers in Washington in 2022. Washington Football Team HC Ron Rivera is a big fan of Rodgers and they're actually both Cal guys. They've had some good battles over the years when Rivera was with the Panthers and there is a mutual respect there. 

The Football Team also has over $60M in projected cap space for 2022 and only one QB on the payroll, which is Taylor Heinicke for a very manageable $2.75M. On the field, they've got some exciting WRs in Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and rookie Dyami Brown. In the backfield they've got one of the most versatile RBs in the game in Antonio Gibson who is coming off a promising rookie season. But the Defense drives this ship. Their Defensive Line is star studded with four consecutive 1st round picks that have all proved they can play. Rodgers wouldn't have to have the enormous burden on his shoulders to consistently win the games. If he plays at a high level in Washington, this team instantly becomes a Super Bowl contender.

Bob Leverone. Shutterstock Images.