Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers prepares to play 49ers, team to which he wanted to be traded

Sep 26, 2021 at 9:28 AM--

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is preparing to play the San Francisco 49ers tonight. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network took the matchup as an opportunity to remind everyone that, had the offseason gone Rodgers' way, it might have been him, not Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterbacking the Niners' offense.

"Sources say that the 49ers were Rodgers' top choice when it came to a new destination," Rapoport wrote this morning. "And when the 49ers made their phone call to coach Matt LaFleur, it was done because they got word that Rodgers was more than into it."

While none of this is new information, it is undoubtedly relevant given tonight's matchup. In the hours leading to the 2021 NFL Draft, word spread that Rodgers was unhappy in Green Bay and sought a trade. That prompted the 49ers to do their due diligence and call to inquire about the availability of the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur responded quickly, saying he was not available.

"It didn't seem like it was worth the call, but I know how we would have felt if it was going to happen and that we didn't call," Shanahan explained this week. "You call them, and you get a quick answer, which is what you were expecting, then you move on."

A month before the call, San Francisco had traded three first-round draft picks and a third-rounder to move up to the No. 3 overall pick. That selection obviously would have needed to be part of any deal for Rodgers. However, the Packers already have Jordan Love waiting in the wings to take over for Rodgers, so a top quarterback wasn't necessarily needed.

One has to wonder if the 49ers may have been better positioned to discuss trade options for Rodgers had they still owned their initial selections.

The 49ers ended up drafting quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick, and he is currently serving as Garoppolo's backup.

This past offseason was the second time Rodgers hoped to land with San Francisco. The Niners passed on the quarterback in the 2005 NFL Draft, instead selecting Alex Smith with the No. 1 overall pick.

The 49ers and Packers will kick off tonight at 5:20 p.m. from Levi's Stadium.

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