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Could 49ers get involved in Aaron Rodgers trade talks?

Mike Florio and Chris Simms outline why Aaron Rodgers will have the most to prove out of all the QBs who are on new teams next season.

Three weeks ago today, Aaron Rodgers shared with Pat McAfee, along with the rest of the world, an “intention” to play for the Jets. Three weeks from tomorrow, the draft begins. Presumably that intention will become reality at some point before the clock expires on the last of the two second-round picks held by the Jets.

But intentions were made for changing. And Craig Carton floated an interesting theory recently on FS1.

Carton suggested that, if the Packers-Jets deal falls apart, the 49ers could pursue Rodgers, with a pair of third-round picks offered this year and a first-rounder in 2024.

The 49ers are an intriguing team to mention in this context. Two years ago, it was the 49ers who called the Packers regarding whether they’d trade Rodgers to San Francisco the day before the draft. The Packers quickly said no. The news of that eleventh-hour effort hit the fan as draft day unfolded.

More recently, it’s been believed that the Packers would not want to trade Rodgers to another NFC team, and specifically not to the 49ers.

It would be a surprise if it happens now. Rodgers has decided to go to New York. And while he can change his mind -- surely, he didn’t use the word “intention” accidentally -- the idea that he’d stick it to the Jets simply because the Packers are being too stubborn with New York but suddenly would be less stubborn with the 49ers would set Rodgers up for intense criticism for playing some sort of shell game with the Jets.

The Packers would would take some heat, too. Last week, Jets G.M. Joe Douglas tried to avoid by shutting down any chatter about exploring a pursuit of Lamar Jackson as “disingenuous” and “negotiating in bad faith.” If the Packers pivot to the 49ers at this point, wouldn’t that be the same thing?

While Rodgers doesn’t have a no-trade clause, he has to want to play for the team that trades for him -- and that commits nearly $60 million to him right away. Thus, before this potential Plan B would ever become Plan A, Rodgers would have to change his “intention.”

He’d have to say, basically, “Well, I really wanted to play for the Jets, but the Packers drove too hard of a bargain, and the Jets weren’t willing to pay the price. The 49ers are. So that’s that.”

Frankly, this feels like an effort by the Packers to put a little extra pressure on the Jets to get the deal done sooner than later. To get the Jets to give whatever the Packers want in 2024 (as much as a first-round pick), and to give up on whatever the Jets want in 2025 as insurance against Rodgers being a one-year rental.

Regardless, the possibility now on the table. It will be interesting to see if anything happens with it over the next 22 days.

Chances are it won’t. But the best way to take those chances to zero would be to just get the trade to the Jets done.