The concept of Aaron Rodgers finding a way to the New York Jets has been entirely speculative up to this point and based on loose connections, like the team hiring Nathaniel Hackett — paired with their dire need for a top tier quarterback.
Things have now taken a turn, and this can be firmly upgraded from wild rumor to absolute possibility.
Per sources. Aaron Rodgers and the Jets had conversations today. While nothing is imminent Rodgers is open to the idea of going to NY— trey wingo (@wingoz) March 7, 2023
This is very important because it makes two critical elements clear:
- The Packers allowed Rodgers to speak to other teams, otherwise this would be tampering. This shows they are open to the idea of No. 12 returning to the NFL and trading him away.
- Rodgers has given his okay to the Jets. While he doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, the threat has always been that if he’s dealt to a team he doesn’t like, he’ll simply retire and kill the entire process.
Outside of it being objectively hilarious that Rodgers would follow the same career trajectory as Brett Favre did when he was traded from the Packers to the Jets in 2008, this would be a brilliant move for Rodgers, the Jets, and the Packers.
Why the Jets are great for Aaron Rodgers
If there’s one thing Rodgers’ NFL resume is missing it’s more rings — and if we’re being honest, that isn’t happening in Green Bay within the next year or two. Outside of Rodgers this team has a distinct lack of identity and had fallen into being a jack of all trades, master of none.
Middling in both offense (14th) and defense (17th), Green Bay is good enough to make the playoffs, but just can’t hang with the elite teams in the NFL. While there’s enough talent to not warrant a full tear down a rebuild, too many pieces need to be put together to get the Packers to the next level. They need to upgrade their pass rushers, find more weapons on offense, and prepare to deal with their offensive line aging out and retiring.
That’s a bad situation for a 39-year-old quarterback trying to make one last push to hoist the Lombardi before retirement.
The Jets, on the other hand, have absolutely everything Rodgers needs to succeed right now. Their defense was good enough in 2022 to almost earn a playoff spot on its own. Importantly, the Jets also have a heck of an offensive base with Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore at receiver, with Breece Hall at running back to glue it all together.
This is a team that could legitimately win a Super Bowl with a better quarterback, and Rodgers is still one of the best in the league.
Why Aaron Rodgers is great for the Jets
It’s impossible to overstate just how bad the Jets’ quarterbacks were in 2022. This is a team that ranked 2nd in the NFL in points allowed per drive and allowed only 18.6 points per game. Meanwhile the team was 29th in scoring, netting just 17.4 points per.
In Green Bay, even in a down year, Rodgers led a problematic, weapon-deprived offense to score 21.8 points per game. If we ported this performance over to the Jets then New York makes a deep playoff run. If we factor in the improved weapons, and the defensive boost caused by getting a quarterback who doesn’t throw many interceptions — now the Jets are a potential Super Bowl favorite.
It’s absolutely stunning how good that Jets defense is. While the 49ers led the league in points allowed (16.3), their defense also didn’t have to contend with a short field as often. San Francisco quarterbacks combined for nine interceptions in 2022, while the Jets threw 14 — running the most conservative offense imaginable to mitigate the risk of their QBs blowing the game.
Rodgers allows the Jets to open up their offense, move the ball more, and take a giant step forward.
Why trading Aaron Rodgers is great for the Packers
This isn’t working. It hasn’t been working, and it’s only getting worse. Much like the Packers headache with Brett Favre in 2007 and 2008, this team needs relief — and it’s time to reach for the Ibuprofen.
Signing Rodgers to a massive extension in 2021 was a questionable move at the time, but Green Bay was backed into a corner. This team had been desperately trying (and failing) to keep the window open for some time now, and dealing Rodgers expedites a retooling.
Like I mentioned before, I don’t think the Packers need a full tear down a rebuild. There’s enough talent to work with, but also some major questions that need to be answered — all of which can’t be addressed with Rodgers on a big-money contract.
Not only does trading Rodgers get the Packers some much-needed draft capital, but it allows them the freedom to truly evaluate Jordan Love in game settings before his rookie contract is up.
The only way out of the Rodgers contract mess was finding a trade partner, and while we don’t know the details yet, it’s safe to assume he’ll restructure his contract to facilitate a deal. It opens Green Bay up to be financially fluid and address their other needs, while taking a step forward for the health of the franchise.