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Packers, Jets may be caught in a “game of chicken” over Aaron Rodgers

With signs pointing to Aaron Rodgers joining the Jets, Mike Florio and Chris Simms explain why it’s imperative for the deal to happen before the start of the new league year and which team is in control.

On Monday, word emerged that quarterback Aaron Rodgers had decided to play for the Jets. Evidence to support that conclusion came from information that he was working to recruit one or more Packers free agents to join the Jets.

But now, nearly 24 hours later, nothing has happened. There’s currently chatter in league circles that the two teams may be caught in a “game of chicken.”

Some believe the Jets are lowballing the Packers. The Packers, in turn, recognize that the Jets need Rodgers, badly. With Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo going elsewhere, the Jets don’t have a viable Plan B -- unless they plan to make a run at Lamar Jackson or to try to trade for someone like Matthew Stafford.

From New York’s perspective, what are the Packers going to do, keep Rodgers? Last week, CEO Mark Murphy said that Rodgers would be the starter in 2023 only “if things don’t work out the way we want them.”

From Green Bay’s perspective, they seem to believe Rodgers is choosing between playing for the Jets or retiring. And the cap hit for the Packers would actually be much lower in 2023, if his retirement is processed after June 1. It’s costing them more than $24 million in 2023 cap dollars to trade him before June 1.

Through it all, Rodgers holds the nuclear option. He can tell the Packers to get ready for one more year with Rodgers on the roster at a price tag of nearly $60 million.

But here’s the thing. Would Rodgers really want to get down and dirty like that? To be there when they don’t want him there? He’d be Costanza working for Play Now. Is he truly ready to drop a giant ball of oil on the Green Bay front office?

But even if he takes their $60 million for 2023, it’s not as if the money is coming out of some oligarch’s pocketbook. The Packers are a publicly-held corporation. If anything, Packers fans/shareholders would have even more reason to turn on the delicate darkness genius for wasting $60 million of their dollars.

The Packers and Jets simply need to work this out. With one side waiting for the other to blink on whatever dumb little details remain, someone needs to simply clunk their heads together and get this done.

Or not. Because this could all end up being way more entertaining if the two teams can’t work it out.