Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets-bound?
“I made it clear my intention was to play and my intention was to play for the New York Jets,” Rodgers said Wednesday on “The Pat McAfee Show,” as part of a wide-ranging guest spot. “And I haven’t been holding anything up at this point. It’s been compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me.”
The longtime Green Bay quarterback also said he went into his recent darkness retreat “90 percent retired and 10 percent playing,” but emerged to learn the Packers were exploring trade options.
He also mentioned the 2020 NFL Draft, when the Packers drafted his nominal replacement Jordan Love 26th overall, as a turning point.
“In 2020 they drafted Jordan to replace me,” Rodgers said. “This conversation would have happened a lot sooner had I not won back-to-back MVPs.”
Rodgers said the Jets asked him about players he’d played with over the years during their meeting last week. He denied, however, a report that said he gave the Jets a list of players to sign, including Odell Beckham Jr.
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In January, the Jets hired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who coached Rodgers from 2019-21 in Green Bay, and Rodgers said that ended up being a big factor in his decision.
“There’s a lot of reasons why the Jets are attractive. There’s one coach who’s meant as much to me as any coach I’ve ever had, and he happened to be the coordinator there,” Rodgers said.
Aaron Rodgers split with Packers would be stunning
Even though the possibility of Rodgers leaving the Packers has been discussed to an exhausting degree for the past few offseasons, it’s still shocking to consider.
Rodgers was drafted by the Packers in 2005 and delivered some of the best quarterback play the NFL has ever seen in the 18 seasons that followed, including winning four league MVP awards.
There’s some irony in the potential move. In 2008, the Jets traded for Brett Favre, which gave Rodgers his shot to start with the Packers.
The Jets desperately needed an upgrade at quarterback, and Rodgers seemed to be a possibility from the start of the offseason. The Jets even hired Nathaniel Hackett to be their new offensive coordinator in what looked like an attempt to lure Rodgers to New York. Hackett was a Rodgers favorite from Hackett’s time as the Packers’ offensive coordinator. The Jets got permission to meet with Rodgers in early March, and at that point it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Rodgers would be moving on.
If Rodgers joins the Jets, he’ll have a fantastic defense and a lot of talented offensive weapons. New York would become a dangerous team with a top quarterback on board. Rodgers in the New York market should generate a lot of excitement in a huge market and a lot of attention everywhere else.
It’s a gamble for the Jets to take on a quarterback who will turn 40 years old this season. But for a franchise that hasn’t been in the Super Bowl since 1968 when Joe Namath led a win in Super Bowl III, it’s worth finding out if it clicks.
In Green Bay, Jordan Love would step into a huge spot. He’ll be just the third regular starting quarterback the Packers have had in 30 years.
End of the annual Aaron Rodgers speculation
The relationship between the Packers and Rodgers had seemed uncomfortable for years.
Speculation about Rodgers’ future has gone on for multiple offseasons. This offseason there was the twist of Rodgers going on his darkness retreat and deciding on his future afterward.
Last year, Rodgers won his second straight MVP and told the media afterward he hadn’t decided on his future, saying he didn’t fear retirement. The year before, his status was in question up until training camp. There were questions if he’d be traded, or retire to host “Jeopardy!”
The annual Rodgers drama started again in 2023. This time most of the focus was on a potential trade, though retirement was also an option. Last season Rodgers’ numbers slipped without top receiver Davante Adams, the Packers didn’t make the playoffs and with Rodgers set to turn 40 in December (and former first-round draft pick Love waiting for a shot), it seemed like a change could finally happen.
Rodgers was on the other end of annual speculation, when he was Favre’s backup and Favre would flirt with retirement after every season. Then, near the end of his Packers career, Rodgers was doing the same dance with his future.
Finally, the speculation seems like it has come to an end.
Rodgers has had a great run with Green Bay
Rodgers has had one of the greatest runs any player has had with a franchise. A lot of energy was spent on the Packers making just one Super Bowl with Rodgers at quarterback, but his 18 years in Green Bay was much more than that.
Rodgers played quarterback at the highest level possible for most of his time with the Packers. He is the only four-time NFL MVP, one behind Peyton Manning’s record of five. His 2011 season, when the Packers went 15-1 and Rodgers set an NFL record with a 122.5 passer rating, is perhaps the greatest single season ever for a quarterback. Rodgers also has the second-highest passer rating season ever, with 121.5 in a 2020 MVP season. The Packers went 147-75-1 in his regular-season starts.
And Rodgers won a Super Bowl. At the end of the 2010 season, Green Bay went from a wild-card team to champions. The Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Rodgers was named Super Bowl MVP.
There were exhilarating highs and plenty of lows, especially with several crushing playoff losses. There were the seemingly endless offseasons the past few years wondering if Rodgers would be back.
The Packers have lived a charmed life at quarterback since 1992, going from Favre right to Rodgers. Now it’s Love’s turn.