The biggest chip to fall in the 2022 NFL offseason… just fell. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers agreed to a massive four-year contract extension Tuesday, ending any speculation that he’d be traded to one of the quarterback-needy teams ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The list of potential Rodgers suitors was obvious: Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Even the Washington Commanders were discussed as a possible landing spot for the future Hall-of-Famer. Not anymore.
— NFL (@NFL) March 8, 2022
How Aaron Rodgers’ contract impacts NFL Draft
Now, teams like the Panthers and Broncos will turn their attention to the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, where prospects like Pitts’ Kenny Pickett and Liberty’s Malik Willis suddenly appear more enticing. Both quarterbacks have long been described as the top two in this year’s draft, and both have consistently been first-round picks in 2022 NFL mock drafts. Now, it feels like a certainty that Pickett and Willis will be off the board by No. 11 overall.
If I had to bet on the landing spots for each passer, I’d say Pickett becomes a Panther at No. 6 and Willis heads to Mile High and the Broncos at No. 9. Pickett is the safer prospect while Willis has a significantly higher ceiling. Panthers coach Matt Rhule has a history with Pickett from his days at Temple and with his future entering that murky win-now window, adding the safer pro-ready passer feels right. The Broncos, meanwhile, are in year one of coach Nathaniel Hackett’s regime and have a cast of star playmakers who can make up for some of Willis’ inconsistencies early in his career. The fits make sense for both teams.
Sure, Rodgers would’ve been nice. But sometimes things happen for a reason. At least, that’s what fans of quarterback-needy teams will try to convince themselves over the next few months.