The silence continues in the Deshaun Watson legal drama, as it's been over two weeks since either side has spoken, and if we've learned one thing through said silence, it's that time should likely heal most of the wounds when it comes to the P.R. damage Watson has done. The rumor mill has begun churning again with possible Watson trade scenarios, and it's widely believed that, at some point, the Texans should move him for a haul that will be a decent jumpstart to their rebuild.
That is the hope, at least. Watson's legal issues have proven to be a big enough obstacle as it is, but over the last two weeks another hindrance has arisen — the possibility of the Green Bay Packers moving on from disgruntled reigning league MVP, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has made no bones about the fact that he wants out of Green Bay, so all of a sudden, the supply in the "available Top 5 QB" category has possibly gone from one to two.
I'm no economics major, but when you're a supplier and the quantity available on the "supply side" doubles, that's not great for business. Now, how much overlap there is in the sample of potential Rodgers suitors and potential Watson suitors is a debatable topic. Chances are the teams pursuing Rodgers are more "ready made" Super Bowl contenders, given his advanced football age (37 years old), than Watson's suitors. Those teams CAN be much younger, and still justify easily trading big draft capital for Watson.
Still, it'd be better for the Texans to have a captive audience in the "elite QB" market. Rodgers getting traded would be an even bigger bombshell than Watson being traded, and the NFL itself believes enough that it COULD happen to where they've ceased promoting "Rodgers vs Mahomes" for the league's schedule release this Wednesday night.
While Watson has the potential to make many teams immediate Super Bowl contenders, Rodgers' ability to elevate a team to "favorite" status to win its conference transcends Watson's. In fact, I would contend that there are seven teams in the NFL right now who become IMMEDIATE favorites to win their conference if they made a move for Rodgers this offseason (and several more who could easily win the conference, but wouldn't necessarily be betting favorites in Vegas).
Before laying out those seven teams, I'll point out that the two favorites to make this coming season's Super Bowl are the two teams that participated in last year's Super Bowl — the Kansas City Chiefs at 11/2, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 6/1.
The seven teams who would become either AFC or NFC conference title favorites with Aaron Rodgers are as follows. First in the AFC (with current odds):
Buffalo Bills 12/1
I'm guessing there's a MUCH better chance that the Bills extend QB Josh Allen, who was one of the few players, aside from Rodgers, to garner MVP votes in 2020, than the Bills trading him to Green Bay, but with the Bills' defense, Rodgers would make them a massive favorite in the AFC East and a small favorite in the AFC over Kansas City.
Baltimore Ravens 16/1
Similar to Buffalo, Baltimore will probably extend 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson this offseason, but there is little doubt Rodgers would give the Ravens a better shot at a Super Bowl over the next two seasons than Jackson would.
Cleveland Browns 16/1
The upgrade from Baker Mayfield to Rodgers has made this a big enough talking point to where the Browns felt the need to tell Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com that they are "all in" on Mayfield and have no intentions of trading for Rodgers. Interesting.
Indianapolis Colts 20/1
This is the most debatable of my selections here, but I think the combination of Rodgers, Jonathan Taylor in the running game, and the personnel on the Colts' defense would be enough for the Colts to run away with the AFC South, and possibly secure the one-seed in the AFC.
Now, in the NFC (with current odds):
Los Angeles Rams 12/1
The Rams are already on the short list of teams who could unseat Tom Brady, having upgraded from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford at QB. Rodgers would represent a significant subsequent leap to ELITE level quarterback play.
San Francisco 49ers 14/1
The Niners had to be pondering a last minute trade for Rodgers right before the draft, but instead stuck with drafting Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. If they reopened that door and made a deal, they would become immediate NFC title favorites.
New Orleans Saints 28/1
Oh man, Sean Payton and Aaron Rodgers. How much fun would that be?
For what it's worth, teams I could entertain discussion of "conference favorite" status with Rodgers, but will ultimately disagree with you on:
New England Patriots 28/1
Seattle Seahawks 28/1
Arizona Cardinals 33/1
Miami Dolphins 33/1
Tennessee Titans 33/1
Washington Football Team 50/1
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