NFL Combine News and Rumors Day 4: Takeaways Around Aaron Rodgers, Free Agency, and the New York Giants

    What were the takeaways from Day 4 of the NFL Scouting Combine, with Aaron Rodgers, free agency, and the future of the event generating buzz?

    NFL Combine News and Rumors Day 4: Takeaways Around Aaron Rodgers, Free Agency, and the New York Giants

    As we move towards the second day of workouts at the 2023 NFL Combine, the crowds of media and league personnel are appreciably thinner. Though more than 300 college players are participating in the biggest job interview of their lives, the topic of conversation continues to revolve around a quarterback selected in the 2005 NFL Draft.

    If you want to keep note of everything surrounding your favorite 2023 NFL Draft prospects, PFN is tracking every single player’s Combine measurement and testing results. Here are a few takeaways from Friday at the Combine.

    NFL Combine Takeaways From Day 4

    Packers Ready for Split With Aaron Rodgers?

    The Aaron Rodgers saga continues, and for yet another year, no one seems to know when it will conclude. After speaking with multiple people on-site, the sense I’m getting is the Green Bay Packers ready for an amicable divorce with Rodgers. They have no problem parting ways with their franchise signal-caller, but the franchise wants it done in a respectful manner.

    This does not deviate from what I’ve been hearing and reporting here at PFN since the Senior Bowl. The New York Jets and Las Vegas Raiders remain the top two suitors for the quarterback’s services if he chooses to move on from Green Bay. I reported from the Senior Bowl the Jets will go “all out” for Rodgers.

    MORE: Should the Packers Move On From Aaron Rodgers?

    At the same time, I also reported Davante Adams was privately recruiting his former quarterback, and just hours later, the All-Pro receiver released his now famous “Mine” tweet. The sense I’m getting from people is the Raiders will take a wait-and-see approach if Rodgers becomes available despite reports stating the franchise feels they have “too many holes on their roster” to move assets for him.

    But just as I reported a year ago, Rodgers has all the leverage and the final say on where he will play this season — or if he plays this season.

    New York Giants Have Decisions To Make Soon

    Expect more concrete information on free agency starting next week.

    While interest in prospective free agents and generalities have been discussed between agents and teams here in Indianapolis, there are many franchises that still don’t know how much money they will have to spend in free agency once the market opens.

    For example, the New York Giants have been expressing interest in several free agents during Combine meetings, but the franchise has major decisions to make on two big-ticket players, Daniel Jones, and Saquon Barkley.

    Jordan Raanan of ESPN reported the Giants and Jones could strike a deal by Tuesday’s franchise tag deadline, noting, “there will be a four at the front of the annual salary.” A deal with Jones would leave Barkley to receive the franchise tag if he’s not signed long-term.

    Until those situations are sorted out there can be no detailed talk about additional spending.

    Is the Combine Hurting Free Agency?

    There is the belief from many I spoke with that the league hurt free agency by moving it further away from the finish of the Combine.

    In years past, the official start of free agency would commence just a few days after all the teams left Indianapolis. Presently, the official start of free agency doesn’t begin for almost 10 days after the end of the Combine.

    How does this hurt free agency? Unlike in the past, free agent deals no longer get done at the Combine. Where contract numbers and structure were finalized during Combine week, it’s now more of a registering of an interest conversation.

    I’ve spoken with a number of agents who told me teams are now sharing information on the numbers they offer free agents. In the opinion of several agents, this hurts second- and third-tier free agents that aren’t part of the all-out bidding wars teams often participate in for the top players on the market. One agent referred to it as “legal collusion.”

    The Combine is changing, and not necessarily for the better

    I first attended the Combine in 2001, and it was a secret affair that only allowed entrance to select team personnel. We’ve witnessed dramatic changes to the event in just a handful of years as the league continues to commercialize and market the Combine. This doesn’t sit well with a number of franchises.

    The more they open up access, the less time that team personnel spends around the Combine throughout the entire week. In the past general managers, coaches, and coordinators would take in the entire week, including workouts, interviews, and weigh-ins.

    MORE: Top 100 NFL Free Agents in 2023

    Now, many come for a few free agency meetings and player interviews, then leave town to watch the workout film back at the team facility. Moving the Combine out of Indianapolis will only push teams further away. While the league has contracted to hold the event in Indianapolis in 2024, it’s anyone’s guess as to its location after that.

    The mere mention of moving the Combine to a city such as Los Angeles causes an uproar in league circles. Franchises love the fact you don’t need a car in Indianapolis, and everything is connected to the Crowne Plaza Hotel — where the players stay –, Convention Center, and Lucas Oil Stadium.

    It will be interesting to see what happens moving forward.

    Tony Pauline is an NFL Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Tony’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @TonyPauline.

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