March is nearing an end, and the speculation stage around compensation for a potential Aaron Rodgers trade between the Jets and Packers continues.
Although Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst joked with reporters at the NFL's Annual League Meeting on Monday that he wants "all the picks," he cleared up that receiving a first-rounder from New York is not a sticking point.
"That's not a necessity," Gutekunst said regarding the Jets' No. 13 overall pick. "But at the same time, the value of the player, he's a premier player. So, I think getting premier picks back for that or players is important."
Perhaps Gutekunst has been taking a more hard-line stance in private negotiations -- or maybe the Jets adding an additional second-round pick (No. 42) to their arsenal through trading wide receiver Elijah Moore shifts the equation -- but no matter the fine details, both teams expressed optimism Monday for an eventual deal.
Gutekunst, who described discussions with Joe Douglas as cordial, also echoed the Jets GM's sentiments on there being no hard deadline.
"Yeah, I think so," he said when asked if they could afford for negotiations to stretch into May or June. "There's not much going on right now. So, I think it has to work for both parties, and we're both committed to figuring that out. It's really kind of in their court right now, so we'll kind of see where it goes."
But for as warm as the current trade discussions were posed, Gutekunst suggested that conversations with his potential ex-quarterback leading up to this moment had been largely non-existent.
"You come out of the season, you have a lot of conversations," Gutekunst said. "Not only with Aaron but with the rest of the team, coaches and everybody. And as you go through that process, you kind of get an idea of where you're going to move as a team. How you're going to go forward. I think I was really looking forward to the conversations with Aaron to see how he fit into that. Those never transpired. So there came a time where we kind of had to make some decisions. So, we went through his representatives to kind of talk to him about where we're going with our team. And at that point, they informed us they would like to be traded to the Jets."
Asked why those vital talks about Rodgers' place within the club's future never took place other than right after the season despite reaching out "many times," Gutekunst answered: "You know, I can't really put it on anybody. They just never did transpire. A lot of attempts and went through that, but at the same time, again, we're always looking out for what's best for the Green Bay Packers. As time went on, we kind of had to move."
With what's best for the Green Bay Packers appearing to be a transition to Jordan Love, and what's best for Rodgers being a move to New York, the Packers are trending toward having just their third different Week 1 starter since 1993.
Just as Rodgers did under the shadow of Brett Favre, Love would take the keys of the franchise during his fourth professional season should a trade finally come to fruition in the coming days or months.
As far as Gutekunst is concerned, the 24-year-old is prepped and ready -- and they've been in constant communication to make sure of it.
"Jordan's been put in some tough situations, just like Aaron was way back in his time," he said. "I think it's really a credit to Jordan how he's handled that and how professional he's been through this. Him and his representatives. We've been in constant communication with them and him. I think he's got a really good outlook on this. He understands there's so much out of his control. But I know he's really preparing and he's really excited for this opportunity, and we are, as well."