General manager George Paton had his first draft with the Denver Broncos, and he almost made a trade that would’ve had an immediate impact on the team’s ability to become a contender. They may have transformed from a brink playoff team to true title contenders overnight.
That deal would’ve involved future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a serious amount of picks. The picks would’ve been both a combination of the Broncos and then more future assets from another team.
In this instance, the New Orleans Saints may have been that other team.
The Saints were looking to trade up in the 2021 NFL Draft, and if they had done so with Denver, they could’ve been a catalyst for a blockbuster trade.
Mickey Loomis traded up twice in the 2021 NFL Draft, but neither were the big-time deal fans were craving. Some were hopeful that Loomis would trade up a handful of spots to draft Caleb Farley, the Virginia Tech cornerback who dropped due to offseason back surgery.
"“In the lead-up to Thursday night’s first round, Paton had another reason to find a trade-down arousing: If the Packers were, in fact, willing to discuss a potential trade for Rodgers — even if it were to be negotiated after the draft — his plan would have been to try to trade down with a team like the Saints and accumulate future assets (ideally, first- and second-round picks in 2022) that he could use as part of a package to send to Green Bay,” NFL Network’s Michael Silver wrote."
The package may have been too steep, or the Saints desire to trade up wasn’t quite matching what the Broncos wanted.
Per what Silver noted, the Saints may have been asked to give up their 2022 first-round pick and their 2022 second-round pick. Loomis may have had other plans as the last time the Saints made a strong move in the first round it didn’t quite pan out.
Rodgers has yet to be traded, but it feels as though there’s little chance he returns to Green Bay. He may even threaten retirement if he isn’t traded, so it’s difficult to really think there’s any chance he returns.
As for the Saints, not moving up and giving up that massive amount of draft capital makes sense.
They have a roster that wouldn’t get that much better with Farley. The Saints ended up with Paulson Adebo in the third round. A cornerback from Stanford, Adebo should be seen as a long-term option for New Orleans.
Nonetheless, the Saints needed a good offer to trade up, and it doesn’t feel like the Broncos could appease both sides. To be fair, Denver had no idea if the Packers would’ve even accepted a trade with all those picks anyway.