“The idea: The Packers commit to trade Rodgers, pacifying the angry quarterback – but the deal would not happen till next spring.” – King on his idea to solve the Packers/Aaron Rodgers situation
“The Packers need to extend an olive branch for a situation – whether they acknowledge the reality of it – that could turn into a football and fan disaster in 2021. This is that olive branch.” – King
“(Julio) Jones is a fantastic player when healthy, but the combination of what he’s owed, plus the fact he doesn’t practice much now and missed nearly half the season last year, kept his future value down.” – King on the Titans’ trade for Julio Jones
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 7, 2021 – Peter King proposes a solution for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also discusses the Julio Jones trade to the Titans, speaks with Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson, and provides an update on where teams stand with vaccinations.
Peacock’s free, exclusive NBC Sports channel has weekday sports talk programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET, which includes extensive NFL coverage from PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Peacock Original Brother From Another, with Michael Holley and Michael Smith, at 3 p.m. ET, and PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show discusses offseason storylines and Simms continues his Top 40 QB Countdown on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast this week.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
King: “I have a bridge-building idea for the Aaron Rodgers dilemma…The idea: The Packers commit to trade Rodgers, pacifying the angry quarterback – but the deal would not happen till next spring. Rodgers, in turn, agrees to give the Packers one more season in exchange for being allowed to transition to a new team before the 2022 draft.”
King: “If I were in (Packers president Mark) Murphy’s chair, I’d undertake another secret mission to meet with Rodgers and agent David Dunn, just the three of them, and propose one more year of Green Bay employment with the knowledge that Rodgers and Dunn could give the Pack a list of teams the QB would be willing to play for in 2022.”
King on his idea: “I would bet Rodgers, today, is solid on never playing for the Packers again, so maybe this is useless. But Rodgers might view this as the best way to get through an unfortunate situation.”
King on Rodgers’ relationship with the Packers: “He told Kenny Mayne two weeks ago he loves his coaches, his teammates and the fans, and he has spoken with reverence about the history of the Packers. This compromise allows him to prove it.”
King on why the idea would be good for Rodgers: “The Packers are 28-8 in Rodgers’ last two seasons in Green Bay, and there’s little doubt Green Bay is the place he’d have the best chance to win a Super Bowl this year. With Rodgers, I’d say it’s a Tampa Bay-Green Bay tossup for home field in the NFC playoffs.”
King on Rodgers: “Rodgers won’t subject himself to massive fines and money losses if he reports and placidly goes on with a final year in Green Bay. This isn’t the biggest thing with him, but imagine his boycotting the Packers and the team coming after his $6.8-million roster bonus from the spring. It’s one thing to not earn money in the future. It’s another to pay back millions.”
King on why the idea would be good for the Packers: “Murphy’s a pragmatist, and he has to be that above all as the caretaker of this franchise. No matter how many times he thinks, Aaron would never hold out and hold us hostage, does he know that? No. Rodgers is willful. Back him against a wall, and Murphy doesn’t know how he’d react. But it would not be good for the team.”
King: “The Packers need to extend an olive branch for a situation – whether they acknowledge the reality of it – that could turn into a football and fan disaster in 2021. This is that olive branch. It’s a face-saving thing for both sides…If the offer is made and Rodgers says yes, it’s a win-win for everyone. If the answer’s no, well, Murphy tried. And then we’d know exactly how much Rodgers dreads putting on the green and gold ever again.”
King on the Falcons trading WR Julio Jones to the Titans: “In the end, the Falcons made a deal with the only team that was really serious about obtaining Jones. The market for Jones wasn’t as hot as the Falcons thought it would be…Tennessee was the last and best shot. But a source close to the deal told me there were three other teams involved in the last week, but none willing to give what Tennessee gave.”
King on other Jones suitors: “Baltimore was interested before the draft but with Sammy Watkins arriving in free agency and Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace coming in rounds one and four of the draft, the Ravens dropped out. New England never had serious interest in committing $38 million to a 32-year-old receiver. Seattle was interested, but not for huge money.”
King on the trade: “That source also told me the key to getting the trade done was Tennessee’s willingness to add a second pick to the deal Sunday morning in a call between GMs Terry Fontenot of the Falcons and Jon Robinson of the Titans. Credit to Fontenot here…Robinson was willing to add another pick—but not without getting a lesser pick back. So in the Sunday call, after some negotiating, Robinson agreed to swap a four in ’23 for a six in ’23, and Fontenot signed off on it.”
King: “There will be much debate over the terms of the deal…I’ll give you 38 million reasons why the Falcons couldn’t get more. Jones is a fantastic player when healthy, but the combination of what he’s owed, plus the fact he doesn’t practice much now and missed nearly half the season last year, kept his future value down.”
Titans GM Jon Robinson to King on the trade: “(Jones’ health) was big in the decision. Missing time last year, what were the circumstances surrounding that? And based on our evaluation of him, he’s healthy and doesn’t look like he’s lost anything to us.”
Robinson on the Titans: “I just talked to Julio an hour ago, and he’s fired up to get here and start working with his new guys…He gives us real multiplicity on offense. We’re high on [free-agent wideout] Josh Reynolds too, and imagine Julio, A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds in the pattern, with Derrick Henry in the backfield. You pack the box for Derrick and, I mean, someone’s gonna be open for Ryan to hit.”
King on the Titans: “There’s also the change-of-scenery thing that should help Tennessee. Jones clearly wanted out of a rebuild in Atlanta and wanted to play for a contender…I can’t think of an offense with two wideouts around 225 pounds or so (Jones and Browns) and a 247-pound back with back-to-back rushing titles. Robinson’s right. Playing the Titans will be a pick-your-poison deal.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on where teams stand on vaccinations: “This is an estimate, and only an estimate. But I’ve heard four to six teams have 60 or more players who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 on the 90-man roster, and about another 10 with at least 40 players vaccinated. To have a normal training camp, without limitations on in-person meetings and social gathering, teams will need approximately 85 percent (the presumed number the league will mandate) players vaccinated. That means 77 of 90 players will have had to be vaccinated by the end of July.”
King: “Jon Rahm tested positive Saturday for COVID-19 and had to withdraw from the prestigious Memorial Tournament in Ohio after the third round – with a six-stroke lead. The virus hasn’t disappeared, and without widespread vaxxing of teams this summer, there will likely be a few Jon Rahm stories inside NFL teams this fall.”
King on the NFL and race-norming: “At a time when the league seems so intent on fighting for social causes, it took too long to come out against race-norming. And the Black players intent on getting justice for head trauma shouldn’t trust the settlement or the league until justice is done for former players.”
King on Naomi Osaka and media access: “We have to have respect for a player’s personal issues. And it’s led me to believe you can’t have a one-size-fits-all media rulebook…I’m empathetic to Osaka. No one wants to see her not play tennis. So let’s figure out a way she can play the game and we can watch her, and hear her in smaller bites than maybe we’d like. I’m okay with that. But let’s not use this, and living in the time of COVID, to change how the media does its job overall. It’s not necessary, and it’s certainly not good for football.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.