The story of the famed trade that never was, between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders prior to the 2007 draft has cropped up again. The trade proposed an exchange of then backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Randy Moss, who many thought had lost a step during his time in Oakland.
Now, this trade obviously didn’t happen; Moss ended up in New England for a fourth round pick, which ended up being a huge bargain for the Patriots, as Moss would go on to set a single season record for touchdown receptions and help the Patriots to an undefeated record in the regular season.
But what would have happened if the Rodgers-Moss trade had happened?
Raiders coach Lane Kiffin was desperate to get rid of Moss, so let’s say Ted Thompson gets a hint of that and presses for more. I’m gunna say Moss gets sent over with a third round pick for Rodgers. At the time, this would have been a great for both teams. The Raiders needed a franchise QB (as they would mistakenly draft Jamarcus Russell with the first overall pick) and the Packers were stacked at receiver, but Moss would’ve been unstoppable paired with Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.
Now let’s start with the first ripples of this trade start in…
The 2007 Draft:
- The Oakland Raiders, having the first overall pick and not needing a quarterback anymore, would select Calvin Johnson, as some suspected they should at the time.
- The Detroit Lions, not able to select Johnson with the second overall pick, would likely select Jamarcus Russell, hoping to find their franchise QB finally after struggling to find one, not sold on Joe Kitna.
- With the extra pick in the third round, the Green Bay Packers select Drew Stanton to back up Brett Favre. Stanton falls to the third round after the Lions select Russell in the first, not needing to draft him in the third as they did originally.
- With Moss going to Green Bay, the Patriots don’t trade their third round pick to Oakland, and instead draft wide receiver James Jones.
The 2007 Season:
- Oakland Raiders:
- With the superior arm talent and a truly defined number one receiver, I suspect the 2007 Raiders probably perform a lot better than they did under Russell and company. They go 6-10, as Rodgers did in his inaugural season into the league (2008 with the Packers).
- New England Patriots
- Without Moss, I don’t see the Pats going undefeated. They go a respectable 14-2, make the Super Bowl and tragically lose to the New York Giants again. Sorry Pats fans.
- Green Bay Packers
- Behind the best receiving corps in the league, Favre goes on to set a single season record for passing touchdowns with fifty, and leads the team to a 15-1 record, only to be defeated in the NFC Championship by the New York Giants. Some things never change.
The 2008 Draft:
- Now with their franchise quarterback in place, the Raiders turn their eyes to the running back position. Having won more games in this timeline than before, they miss out on Darren McFadden to the Carolina Panthers from a trade up, and end up selecting Jonathan Stewart.
- Needing to bolster their receiving corps, the Raiders trade up with the New York Jets and select Jordy Nelson in the second round, pairing him with Calvin Johnson for a dominant duo.
- Coming so close to another Super Bowl, Favre decides to stay with the Packers and not “retire” and give it another go before walking away.
The 2008 Season:
- Oakland Raiders:
- Led by Rodgers, with Calvin Johnson, Jordy Nelson, and Zach Miller catching passes, and Jonathan Stewart and Justin Fargas touting the football on the ground, the Raiders rise to be one of the best offenses in the league, and go 11-5 on their way to an AFC West championship. An exciting win against Indianapolis provides hope, which is quickly smothered out by a loss to Pittsburgh in the Divisional Round.
- Green Bay Packers
- Favre leads the team to another impressive campaign of 13-3, and defeats Kurt Warner’s Arizona Cardinals on his way to his third Super Bowl, winning his second ring, this time against the Steelers. Favre tearfully wishes goodbye to the Packers and football as he rides off into the sunset. And in this universe, he really means it.
The 2009 Draft:
- Having spent and traded draft picks in years past to obtain the players they have now, the Raiders don’t have that many picks to invest in their team now.
- With Brett Favre retiring, the Packers turn the team over to their backups, Drew Stanton and Matt Flynn, to battle it out in training camp, with the coaches hoping that Stanton will take the lead and be the true successor to Favre.
- After realizing the failure of Jamarcus Russell, the Detroit Lions draft Matthew Stafford, and finally get their franchise QB.
The 2009 Season:
- Oakland Raiders
- Rodgers and company finally make it to the promise land, going 10-6 and making an improbably run through the playoffs and defeating the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs. Sorry, entire city of New Orleans.
- Green Bay Packers
- Behind a mix of Stanton and Flynn, the Packers falter from their high speed and impact offense from behind Favre. Going 6-10, both Moss and Driver decide to retire at the end of the season, realizing their golden years are behind them. The Packers would struggle to find their franchise QB until 2014, when they drafted Derek Carr to lead their offense.
We could go on and on, detailing the myriad of disappointing losses for Rodgers and the Raiders, as well as the Patriots continuing to dominate despite never getting Randy Moss, how the Jets and Vikings would be different without having their stops on the Favre train, but it only gets more complicated and winding as time goes on, as can plainly be seen.
It’s always fun to do these kind of “what if” scenarios, but I had to cut it off somewhere and I figured having both Favre and Rodgers winning Super Bowls in consecutive years would be a good way to do it.