Aaron Rodgers Stays and Russell Wilson Goes as the NFL’s QB Carousel Spins On

Rodgers is remaining with the Packers on a massive contract while Wilson is Denver-bound in one of the largest trades in league history

Russell Wilson greets Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field in 2020
Russell Wilson greets Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field in 2020.
Gregory Shamus/Getty

On a historic day in the NFL following a previous day that will live in infamy for another reason, the reigning MVP reportedly agreed to the richest deal in league history while another Super Bowl-winning quarterback was moved in a blockbuster deal that was first described as one of the largest trades in league history.

While exact details of both moves have yet to be released as of this writing, Aaron Rodgers is planning to return to the Green Bay Packers for an 18th season, reportedly as part of four-year, $200 million contract that includes $153 million in guaranteed money. Pat McAfee, host of The Pat McAfee Show and a friend of Rodgers, has disputed those numbers. However, despite saying “the contract has not been done” McAfee has not disputed that Rodgers has agreed to return to the Packers.

Rodgers also eventually offered some clarity on the situation while also taking exception to reports he had “signed” a contract for some reason.

In a move that may have been at least somewhat related as Rodgers reportedly was interested in playing for former Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in Denver after he was hired by the Broncos this offseason, star quarterback Russell Wilson is heading from Seattle to Denver for a package of early-round picks (firsts and seconds) and players including defensive lineman Shelby Harris and quarterback Drew Lock. (Details are still trickling in.)

In order for the Wilson deal — which can’t officially be announced until the start of the league year on May 16 — to be finished, he will have to pass a physical as well as waive his no-trade clause, which he is suspected to do. If all of that comes to pass, the Broncos will have a Pro Bowl quarterback who has posted more wins than any quarterback ever in his first 10 seasons in the league as well as won a Super Bowl.

“Wilson sensed he was going to have to move on and, if he did, he wanted to be a winning program. Denver, with all its offensive pieces and tough defense, is said to have greatly appealed to him,” according to ESPN. “Denver has been trying to find a suitable quarterback since Manning retired, just as the organization tried for years to find a suitable quarterback after John Elway retired. Enter 33-year-old Wilson.”

After years of stability bordering on stagnation, franchise quarterbacks are suddenly moving around the league with some degree of regularity. It’s exciting for fans and adds fuel to the hot stove of the NFL offseason that makes pro football a year-round follow even though the season only runs from September through February. If recent history tells us anything, the quarterback carousel in the NFL will continue to spin as a number of teams, including the Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Steelers and now the Saints are in the market for a new signal-caller. Don’t forget — Deshaun Watson, and his pile of legal struggles, is still out there.

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