Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers Addresses Packers Exit

Aaron Rodgers‘ Green Bay departure would have been far messier had it occurred in 2021, when he requested to be moved. But the divorce, coming after a prolonged trade negotiation, has still produced a stream of headlines. The new Jets quarterback attempted to set the record straight regarding a few key 2020s Packers plotlines.

Shortly after the Packers traded up for Jordan Love in 2020, Rodgers said he no longer knew finishing his career in Green Bay was realistic. Before the 2021 trade request, Rodgers earned his third MVP honor despite the Packers using their first-round pick on a backup quarterback. While the Love choice did not directly impede Green Bay in 2020, the team suffered another narrow NFC championship defeat — at home against Tampa Bay — as its first-round pick did not contribute. That loss began an annual run of Rodgers-driven offseason uncertainty in Green Bay.

Did I wanna, years down the line, go, ‘Well, what if we had just taken somebody who could impact our team because we had just gone to the NFC championship?’ Yeah, of course,” Rodgers said (via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman; subscription required) of the Packers’ decision to draft Love. “I don’t think any other competitor would say anything different.

… We didn’t win the Super Bowl. [The Packers] had their guy in waiting. I knew that [the team going with Love] was always a possibility, that they would wanna go, ‘You know what? We tried hard. We tried to win a championship. We had a good team, but now it might be time to go with Jordan, move some contract stuff around and do that.'”

The organization made that decision two years after Rodgers requested a trade. The Packers could have obtained more for Rodgers in 2021, given his age and MVP form, but they rebuffed trade overtures during that offseason. Rodgers’ agent is believed to have made a blunt request to Packers president Mark Murphy at that time: trade Rodgers or fire GM Brian Gutekunst. The Rodgers-Gutekunst feud simmered throughout the ’21 offseason, and this ultimatum surfaced that summer. Wednesday’s report lends more support to the Rodgers-or-Gutekunst rumors. The 18-year veteran told Schneidman communication between he and Green Bay management improved once he returned to the team, but it still pales in comparison to the talks he has held with Jets management in the weeks since he arrived.

Although Rodgers re-signed with the Packers — on a three-year, $150.8MM deal the Jets are now in the process of restructuring — in March 2022, team brass has revealed dissatisfaction with the future Hall of Famer’s commitment level last year. The Packers viewed Rodgers skipping OTAs last year as detrimental to Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs‘ rookie-year development, Albert Breer of SI.com notes, and Schneidman adds the team was dissatisfied with Rodgers’ day-to-day commitment throughout last season. The four-time MVP, who has been at Jets OTAs this offseason, disputed the notion his 2022 absence hindered the Packers.

When I’m in, I’m all in, and you wanna ride with offseason workouts?” Rodgers said. “I won MVP without doing offseason workouts. Like, was my commitment any less then? I’d say not at all. The way that I come back to work, not just physically in good shape but mentally refreshed, is the best thing for me to have the season I wanted to have during those in Green Bay. I think that’s just a cop-out written to try and find something to disparage me about that, honestly, when you know what offseason workouts are really about, it’s completely ridiculous.”

The key difference between Rodgers’ 2021 OTAs absence and his 2022 no-show: receiving talent. Green Bay dealt Davante Adams to Las Vegas and let Marquez Valdes-Scantling leave for Kansas City in free agency last March. Adams has said the Packers’ final offer surpassed the Raiders’ deal (five years, $140MM) and that he wanted to leave Green Bay. But the sides also went through failed negotiations during the 2021 offseason. Adams sought to be the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver during the summer ’21 talks; Rodgers said the Packers’ initial offer was nowhere close, indicating it checked in below $20MM per year.

Adams broke off talks with the Packers ahead of last season and played out the $14.5MM-per-year extension he had signed in 2017. Although the Packers upped their offer before franchise-tagging him in 2022, Rodgers wonders if the team’s early hesitancy affected the All-Pro wideout’s desire to stay.

They offered him less money than Christian Kirk and [Adams] is going, ‘Are you serious right now? I’m the best receiver in the league, and you’re gonna offer me less than Christian Kirk?’” Rodgers said of the Pack’s offer compared to Kirk’s $18MM-AAV Jaguars deal. “With all due respect, he’s not on Davante’s level.

I’m sure that the team will say that’s just the business of negotiation — it’s like, yeah, but you’re also sending a message to that guy, and a lot of times it can stick with guys and make them a little sour on things. … That goes back to the first offer that they made, and I don’t think [the Packers] had the foresight — obviously didn’t have the foresight.

Rodgers’ numbers suffered without Adams and Valdes-Scantling, with Doubs and Watson — the latter’s late-season surge notwithstanding — not measuring up to the veterans’ contributions. Gutekunst deferred to Rodgers’ MVP awards when asked in January if the veteran starter or Love gave the Packers a better chance to win. Three-plus months later, Rodgers became a Jet. Gutekunst did not believe he could sit Love for a fourth season, per ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky and Rich Cimini; the sixth-year GM had said many times this offseason the fourth-year backup was ready to play.

Gutekunst and Rodgers did not meet this offseason; scheduling conflicts have been cited. The Packers have also accused Rodgers of rebuffing efforts to meet, per ESPN.com. Rodgers said he reached out to Packers management regarding a meeting with the front office and Matt LaFleur before he trekked to the darkness retreat, but after he referenced the Pack’s lack of communication, a desire to play for the Jets — rather than retire — emerged post-darkness. As Brett Favre did 15 years ago, Rodgers will now attempt to prove the Packers wrong.

Did Brian text me more than I texted him? Yeah, but did I ghost him? No,” Rodgers said, via Schneidman. “I texted him back. There was back-and-forths that we had and so this is the story you wanna go with? You’re gonna stand on this hill of austerity and say that arguably in the conversation of the best player in your franchise history, you’re gonna say I couldn’t get a hold of him and that’s why we had to move on?

Like, come on, man. Just tell the truth; you wanted to move on. You didn’t like the fact that we didn’t communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like.”

Latest On Aaron Rodgers, Jets QB Depth

As the Jets continue to work on a new deal with Aaron Rodgers, the team is also considering other moves at the position. GM Joe Douglas told reporters that the organization could consider bringing back veteran Joe Flacco next season.

[RELATED: Jets, Aaron Rodgers Working Towards Restructured Contract]

“We’re always going to keep the door open when any good player is available,” Douglas said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini on Twitter).

Flacco completed his third season with the Jets in 2022 (minus a brief stint with the Eagles). He actually got his most run this past year, completing 57.6 percent of his passes for 1,051 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions in five games (four starts). The veteran ended up starting nine games across three seasons with the organization, guiding the team to an 1-8 record while in the starting lineup.

The former Super Bowl MVP was initially signed to be the backup to Sam Darnold, and he was reacquired to play behind Zach Wilson. If Flacco were to re-sign with New York, he’d now be competing with Wilson for that QB2 spot behind Rodgers. The Jets are also rostering Tim Boyle and Chris Streveler at the position.

Meanwhile, the Jets continue to work with Rodgers on resolving his cap situation for both the 2023 and 2024 seasons. As Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com points out, the Jets were surprised to learn that the QB had previously pushed the entirety of his fully-guaranteed $58.3MM option bonus to the 2024 season. As a result, Rodgers is eyeing a minimum salary commitment for 2023 and a untenable $107.55MM worth of compensation for 2024.

“We knew at the end of the trade that Aaron and Green Bay needed to work some things out,” Douglas told Florio. “We didn’t know the exact ramifications. It was just important to us that the cap number wasn’t going to go higher than it was at the time that we agreed to it. We didn’t know that it was actually going to go down to the minimum, so when they re-did the deal, you know, we saw the new number, knew that we saw that it was low for this year. We’re still working on restructuring aspects of the deal as we speak, but we feel like we’re in a really good place.”

There have been some questions about how long Rodgers intends to keep playing, with some wondering if his stint in New York may only last one season. As Florio notes, if Rodgers hopes to sniff a large chunk of that $107.5MM, he’ll likely have to commit to a new two-year pact with the Jets, locking him in through the 2024 campaign.

Packers Sought Russell Wilson-Type Haul For Aaron Rodgers; Jets Debated Stronger Derek Carr Push

Aaron Rodgers has begun attending Jets offseason workouts, but it took an extensive process for the Packers to move him off their roster. The teams had different goals when they begun negotiations.

The Packers initially sought a trade package comparable to the haul the Seahawks received for Russell Wilson or the Lions picked up for Matthew Stafford, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports. But with Rodgers moving out of the picture in Green Bay, the Jets were never expected to pay what it would have likely cost the Broncos (or another suitor) to pry Rodgers from the Packers in 2021 or ’22. Still, the lag time between the first Rodgers-related discussion between Packers GM Brian Gutekunst and Jets counterpart Joe Douglas — in January, when the latter represented the only interested party among those Gutekunst contacted — led to some uncertainty.

Just before Derek Carr committed to the Saints, Jets brass debated if they should make a stronger push for the longtime Raiders quarterback, Costello adds. The Jets hosted Carr in February and met with him again at the Combine. Though, Gang Green viewed the 10th-year veteran as its Rodgers backup plan throughout the process. With the Jets not knowing until March 12 Rodgers was even planning to play in 2023, they saw their top backup plan vanish when Carr signed with the Saints on March 6.

Shortly after the Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett as OC — a move widely rumored to be a Rodgers-related decision — Robert Saleh instructed his staff to study Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Tannehill, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes. The former 49ers starter surfaced as a Jets option, while the longtime Titans first-stringer has been involved in trade rumors this year. But the Jets waited out Rodgers and received confirmation, via the four-time MVP’s agent contacting Douglas, his client was onboard with the Jets.

The Packers could have obtained more in a trade for Rodgers had they unloaded him in 2021 or ’22, but Jordan Love had not progressed to the point the team was ready to roll with the former No. 26 overall pick. Gutekunst sought to tell Rodgers the Packers planned to field a younger roster this season and make moves to help their salary cap, per Breer, with this meaning Rodgers favorites Randall Cobb, Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis would not be back. (Cobb is now a Jet, with Lewis potentially on the team’s radar.) Of course, Gutekunst and Rodgers never got around to a meeting regarding his future. The parties had multiple January meetings in California scheduled, Breer adds; neither came to fruition. Gutekunst dealt with Rodgers’ agent during the trade talks.

As for the trade price, one of the Jets’ counterproposals — during the sides’ off-and-on talks — involved a 2025 Packers second-round pick coming back in the event Rodgers did not return in 2024. The March Rodgers-Jets summit did not involve discussion about how much longer Rodgers would play, though that later became an understandable component of the Jets’ trade push. Instead of the Jets receiving a 2025 second from the Packers — in the event Rodgers retires after this season — the teams agreed on the deal that included the 2024 first-rounder being a conditional pick and not a locked-in 1, Breer adds. That said, Rodgers has only failed to play 65% of his team’s offensive snaps twice in his 15-year starter run. It represents a fairly safe bet the Jets will send the Packers their 2024 first-rounder in this swap.

Rather than the 65% figure, the Jets wanted to tie the 2024 draft choice to team placement, per Breer. But the Packers did this in the Brett Favre trade 15 years ago; the Green Bay icon’s biceps injury ended up leading the Jets out of the playoff race and reducing the Pack’s compensation to a 2009 third-rounder. With Packers president Mark Murphy involved in both negotiations, the Packers did not relent on a refusal to tie the pick to the Jets’ 2023 record.

Douglas was a bit leery about a potential post-draft suitor emerging as an alternative for Rodgers, Breer adds. The Jets had lost Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in a two-team race last year. The All-Pro wideout was nearly a Jet, but when the Dolphins entered the fray, Miami became Hill’s preferred destination. This helped provide the impetus for the Jets to complete the deal by the draft, even as no other teams were closely connected to Rodgers this offseason.

The 2023 pick-swap component also did not enter the negotiations until late. That turned out to matter, with many believing the Jets were prepared to draft tackle Broderick Jones in Round 1. The Steelers moved up three spots, from No. 17 to No. 14, to prevent that from happening. New York selected edge rusher Will McDonald with its Green Bay-obtained No. 15 pick. The Packers chose Iowa pass rusher Lukas Van Ness at 13.

Jets Rumors: OL, Rodgers, Hennessy, Brownlee, Duvernay-Tardif

The Jets landed a gamechanger at quarterback this spring, and now it’s up to them to figure out how to protect him. Head coach Robert Saleh made sure to communicate that the plan is to play the five best linemen, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post, clarifying that the center and tackle spots, specifically, will be open for competition.

The guard spots are presumably safe. Despite a down year for Laken Tomlinson, the Jets signed him to a three-year deal last year to start at guard. After an admirable rookie year as a starter, Alijah Vera-Tucker put together a strong start to his sophomore season last year, even being forced into playing tackle due to injuries before a torn triceps injury of his own sidelined him for the rest of the year. Confirming earlier reports, Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post recently reported that Vera-Tucker is still on track to return from his injury by training camp.

At tackle, Mekhi Becton is also slated to return in time for training camp after missing all but one game of last season due to an avulsion fracture of his right knee. Duane Brown mostly held down the left tackle position while right tackle was mostly handled by Vera-Tucker, Max Mitchell, and George Fant. Fant departed as a free agent, but the team brought in veteran tackle Billy Turner from Denver who can compete for the position, as well.

At center, Connor McGovern has handled starting duties in New York for the last three years, grading out as a top 10 center in the league in each of the past two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). The Jets only re-signed McGovern to a one-year contract, though, so it may not be so surprising that his job is open for competition. That point was further dictated by New York drafting one of the top center prospects in the draft, Wisconsin’s Joe Tippmann, in the second round as the first center off the board. Despite McGovern’s recent years of success, Tippmann may represent the future at the position for the Jets.

Here are a few more rumors surrounding Gang Green this offseason:

  • Speaking of the Aaron Rodgers acquisition, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer indicated that Rodgers playing two more years was reportedly a big part of the team’s discussions with him before the trade. That supposed dedication was only reinforced when Rodgers claimed that he would participate in offseason workouts. Many veterans don’t feel the need to attend such workouts, but considering Rodgers is new to the facility, NBC Sports’ Mike Florio’s report that he plans on being present for “more than half” of the remaining offseason workouts is encouraging for Jets fans.
  • New York recently re-signed long snapper Thomas Hennessy to a four-year extension. The new deal, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a value of $5.97MM. The deal has a guaranteed amount of $1.96MM consisting of an $875K signing bonus and Hennessy’s first year base salary of $1.08MM. $670K of his 2024 salary is guaranteed for injury at signing, and the rest of the $1.21MM will become fully guaranteed on the fifth league day of the 2024 season. He’s set for base salaries of $1.26MM in 2025, $1.3MM in 2026, and $1.35MM in 2027, but the contract has a potential out built in after this season that would allow the Jets to cut Hennessy after this year with only $700K of dead cap.
  • The Jets recently included Southern Mississippi wide receiver Jason Brownlee in their group of undrafted free agents. New York was clearly eager to ink Brownlee, giving the rookie a $246K guarantee, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. That amount is the equivalent of the guarantee given to a low fifth-round pick.
  • With all their offensive line suffering so many injuries last year, the Jets were happy to have the help of veteran Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. Now, with his contract expired, Duvernay-Tardif may have set his sights past football. The medical school graduate has been spinning several plates since the season ended, working shifts in the emergency department of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, starting a Masters of Public Health program at Harvard, and promoting a French skin care brand. Still, while Duvernay-Tardif maintains that medicine is still his future, he hasn’t committed to retiring claiming that he’s still in shape “if the phone rings in October.”

Latest On Corey Davis, Jets Wide Receivers

With Aaron Rodgers now under center for the Jets, the team has been busy adding wide receivers to their roster. Naturally, that’s led some to question Corey Davis‘ future with the organization, but coach Robert Saleh told reporters yesterday that the veteran wideout would be sticking with the Jets (per Connor Hughes of SNYtv on Twitter).

The Jets inked Davis to a three-year, $37.5MM deal back in 2021, but the receiver hasn’t necessarily lived up to his contract. Davis has appeared in 22 games with the Jets over the past two years, hauling in 66 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns. The Jets could have cleared around $10MM in cap space by moving on from the former fifth-overall pick, but Saleh noted that Davis will have a role on offense in 2023.

“Again, the cool thing with what [offensive coordinator] Nathaniel [Hackett‘s] bringing and this whole system is there is a lot of versatility amongst the receivers in terms of them being able to play multiple spots,” Saleh said (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “The one thing when Corey got hurt last year, we got small pretty quick, if you guys remember.”

The Jets have been busy adding some of Rodgers’ former targets, including Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb (they’ve also added two other former teammates, quarterback Tim Boyle and offensive tackle Billy Turner). This has led some to wonder if Rodgers had a specific list of targets that he wanted the Jets to pursue, similar to what went down with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. However, Saleh dismissed that notion, noting that multiple individuals play roles in recruiting certain players.

“It’s very common for new faces to want old faces, to come in and help accelerate the installation of an entire program,” Saleh said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini). “Everything is pinned on the quarterback. It’s not just him.

“Hackett has something to say about it. He loves Lazard. He loves Randall. He took Billy Turner with him to Denver, and he wanted him here. Of course, you’re going to surround a coach with people who he feels like will plant the flag … that whole narrative — what people are trying to put on the quarterback — it’s tired. It’s common practice in the NFL.”

Besides Davis and the two aforementioned acquisitions, the Jets WR depth chart also consists of Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, free agent addition Mecole Hardman, and former second-round pick Denzel Mims.

Jets, Aaron Rodgers Working Towards Restructured Contract

The main takeaway from the Jets’ acquisition of Aaron Rodgers was, understandably, the draft capital they paid the Packers, and the impact he will have on New York’s Super Bowl aspirations. Another factor of interest, though, is Rodgers’ contract.

As of now, the Packers are set to incur a dead cap charge of just over $40MM, a far larger figure than the roughly $15MM he is scheduled to count against the Jets’ cap in 2023. A re-worked contract is the holdup to this blockbuster trade becoming official, and will no doubt have an effect on the way it is ultimately viewed. As Jets owner Woody Johnson recently stated, though, the price New York paid caused “zero” hesitation to sign off on the move.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini confirms that Rodgers’ agent, David Dunn, is still in the process of negotiating a new deal with the Jets. Doing so could provide much-needed clarity on how long the 39-year-old plans to play in the Big Apple, since he did not confirm his intention to continue his career beyond 2023.

On that point, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that the end result of negotiations could be a two-year Jets pact allowing Rodgers to receive the full compensation he is owed in 2023 and ’24. That figure sits at $108MM, as a result of the new deal he agreed to with the Packers last offseason; much of it is made up of the option bonus he was initially due to earn this season ($58.3MM). Florio adds that the bonus is now expected to be paid out next year.

Of course, committing to Rodgers over the next two campaigns will be a worthwhile investment on the Jets’ part if he can return to his pre-2022 form. New York has taken a number of steps aimed at making sure that takes place, including the addition of players on his reported ‘wish list.’ Before that point, though, the team had already hired ex-Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to guide their offense.

Hackett (who flamed out as the Broncos’ head coach in 2022 after struggling mightily to orchestrate a serviceable offense) has a long-standing relationship with Rodgers, something which should help the pair in their attempt to duplicate their success of years past. The latter, to no surprise, named the veteran coach as a factor in his decision to head to New York.

“A big reason I’m here, I gotta mention, is Nathaniel Hackett, who is here,” Rodgers said, via NBC Sports’ Ryan Taylor. “Hack and I became really close friends for three years in Green Bay. I love him like a brother. And I believe in him. And I’m really happy to be back working with him.”

Assuming a new contract is ironed out in the near future, Rodgers will be cleared to join his new team and officially begin the second chapter of his NFL career. The particulars, from a financial standpoint, could go a long way in determining the Jets’ ability to make any further moves in the post-draft portion of the offseason.

Aaron Rodgers Not Committing To Playing Beyond 2023; QB Plans To Attend Jets OTAs

The Jets and Packers announced the Aaron Rodgers trade Wednesday, and the 19th-year veteran looks set to deviate from his previous 2020s offseasons.

Rodgers said he plans to be in the building Thursday and suggested he will be present for the Jets’ offseason workouts, via SNY’s Connor Hughes and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter links). Rodgers did not attend voluntary Packers workouts in 2021 or ’22. Seeing as there were no onsite workouts during the spring and summer of 2020, it has been a bit since Rodgers last attended his team’s OTAs. Elaborating, Rodgers said he will attend “a lot” of the offseason program, via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini.

OTA attendance stands to matter less for Rodgers here compared to some other legendary QBs who changed teams. While Peyton Manning and Tom Brady were joining new offensive systems — schemes eventually tailored to the all-time greats’ preferences — Rodgers will follow new Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett to the Big Apple. While Hackett did not call plays in Green Bay, Rodgers has spoken highly of him. It is safe to expect Hackett to install the offense Matt LaFleur uses in Green Bay.

But Rodgers attending voluntary workouts will allow for time for him to develop a rapport with the non-Allen Lazard skill players on the Jets’ roster. It took Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson a while to be on the same page as Rodgers last season. It appears the relocating QB will make a change as he adjusts to the likes of Garrett Wilson, Mecole Hardman and the Jets’ tight end corps. Corey Davis, for now, also remains a Jet.

Expected spring attendance aside, Rodgers is not yet committing to playing beyond this season. The 15-year Packers starter did not shut down a 2024 return, via the Washington Post’s Mark Maske (Twitter link), but he will continue a year-to-year arrangement. Rodgers, 39, once sounded interested in playing into his 40s. In recent years, however, he had flirted with retirement.

This offseason, Rodgers admitted he was “90% retired” before his winter darkness retreat. Still, the four-time MVP hinted that playing into the mid-2020s was a possibility.

The reason I take care of myself is because I’ve always dreamed about being a starter into my 40s,” Rodgers said Wednesday (via Cimini and the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Ryan Wood). “I turn 40 later this year. I’m going to be here for the foreseeable future. … They definitely gave up some picks for me to be here, so this isn’t like one-and done in my mind.”

Although rumors indicated Rodgers’ potential return in 2024 could end up affecting the teams’ trade package, Monday’s agreement did not include any term fluctuation regarding the QB’s plans beyond this year. The only conditional component to the trade is Rodgers’ 2023 participation. If he plays at least 65% of the Jets’ offensive snaps this season, the 2024 pick exchanged will be upgraded to a first. If an injury prevents Rodgers from hitting that benchmark, the Packers will collect a second-rounder.

When the Jets went through a similar process with Brett Favre in 2008, the team ended up receiving just one season from Rodgers’ Packer predecessor. Favre retired for a second time, and the Jets released his rights. Language in the 2008 trade effectively prevented the Jets from trading Favre to the Vikings, his 2009 destination, and the team largely went with rookie-contract QBs for the next 15 years. Zach Wilson‘s performance over the past two seasons, however, changed the organization’s plans. Rodgers will be expected to make the Jets a Super Bowl contender in a loaded AFC.

More adjustments are coming to Rodgers’ contract, but Pelissero adds he did make a change to his deal that saved the Packers some cash. He signed a revised Green Bay deal Tuesday afternoon; the restructure pushes all but a minimum salary and a small workout bonus into 2024. The expected move will save the Pack $14.58MM in 2023 cap space (all Twitter links). The $58.3MM bonus converts to a 2024 base salary, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein (on Twitter). Rodgers’ three-year, $150.8MM deal now includes a $107.6MM payment in 2024; the Jets will obviously adjust that figure at some point. Rodgers still counts $40.3MM in Packers dead money, but Silverstein adds the NFC North team will be clear of Rodgers cap hits by 2024.

For those interested, Rodgers will wear No. 8 (his number at Cal) out of respect to Joe Namath, whose Jets No. 12 jersey is retired.

Jets GM Talks Rodgers Trade, Compensation, Zach Wilson

The Aaron Rodgers-to-Jets trade is all but official. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter), the future Hall of Fame quarterback will be introduced at a press conference tomorrow afternoon. Rodgers himself acknowledged the impending move, writing a farewell to Packers fans on Instagram this evening (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Twitter).

[RELATED: Jets, Packers Agree On Aaron Rodgers Trade]

Meanwhile, Connor Hughes of SNYtv hinted on Twitter that we’ll soon learn the details of Rodgers’ reworked contract with the Jets, potentially as soon as tomorrow. During his press conference today, Jets general manager Joe Douglas indicated that there had been “positive” discussions between the Jets front office and the quarterback’s representatives.

Douglas touched on a number of additional subjects during his press conference today, mostly related to the acquisition of the former MVP. We’ve compiled some of the notable soundbites below (h/t to the team’s website):

On the process of negotiating with the Packers after Rodgers stated his desire to play for the Jets:

“You never want to get too far ahead of yourself. Really, you felt honored back a few weeks ago when Aaron said he wanted to be a New York Jet. You felt honored, you felt good. That’s what Robert [Saleh] has been able to do here so that a player like Aaron Rodgers wants to be here.”

On the draft compensation the Jets sent to Green Bay, a swap of first-round picks (which Douglas acknowledged was one of the final components of the agreed-upon deal, per Cimini on Twitter):

“Obviously, we’re comfortable with how this deal shaped. I don’t think anyone ever walks away from a negotiation where you feel like you won everything in terms of what’s gone back and forth. But ultimately, our goal from the beginning was to add Aaron to the team, so we were able to get that. We agreed to terms yesterday and we’re just excited to bring him here.”

On their decision to pair their youthful roster with a 39-year-old quarterback:

“He’s not very far removed from back-to-back MVPs. You still have someone that maybe didn’t play at 100 percent [health-wise] throughout the year but still performed at a high level. … His relationship with Nathaniel [Hackett] and some of the other players that are on the team, we feel obviously that it’s an adjustment when you’re somewhere for 18 years. But we feel with the people we have in place, he can get comfortable quickly.”

On former second-overall pick Zach Wilson, who will now serve as Rodgers’ backup:

“I feel like this is going to be a great thing for Zach. Zach’s ceiling is unlimited. No one works harder, no one loves ball more than Zach Wilson, and him having the opportunity to really shadow and be with a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback every day, every hour he’s in the building, that’s a great opportunity and a great experience.”

Jets, Packers Agree On Aaron Rodgers Trade

After several weeks of negotiations, the Jets and Packers agreed to a deal Monday. Aaron Rodgers is heading to the Big Apple for a picks package that includes first-rounders changing hands, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reports (on Twitter).

Fifteen years after it took only a conditional third-rounder for the Jets to land Brett Favre, the latest future Hall of Fame Packers QB fetched the NFC North franchise a much bigger haul. Here are the trade terms:

Packers receive:

  • 2023 first-round pick (No. 13 overall)
  • 2023 second-round pick (No. 42)
  • 2023 sixth-rounder (No. 207)
  • 2024 conditional second-round pick, which can become a first if Rodgers plays 65% of the Jets’ offensive plays this season

Jets receive:

  • Rodgers
  • 2023 first-round pick (No. 15)
  • 2023 fifth-round pick (No. 170)

As part of this trade agreement, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) Rodgers is expected to sign a revised contract to help the Packers’ cap. As it stands now, a trade would tag the Pack with $40.3MM in dead money. The adjusted contract is expected to keep the trade from becoming official for a bit, and Brian Gutekunst said (via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman) the deal is not yet final and that he has not yet spoken with Rodgers. But with the terms agreed to, this weeks-long process is near the goal line. The sixth-year Packers GM said the expectation is this will be official before the draft, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

As it stands now, the Jets will owe Rodgers a $58.3MM bonus this year. It is not known how a restructure would affect the Jets’ cap, but as of now, Rodgers would be set to count barely $15MM on the AFC East team’s 2023 payroll.

This represents an interesting trade package for the Packers, as the deal does not contain any protection for the Jets if Rodgers retires after this season. At the very least, Green Bay will receive two additional second-rounders for Rodgers. The Canton-bound QB has played at least 65% of the Packers’ offensive snaps in all but two of his 15 seasons as a starter (excepting 2013 and 2017). That points to the Packers receiving the Jets’ 2024 first-rounder. Although Gutekunst said recently it would not require a first-round pick for the Packers to unload Rodgers, it looks more likely than not this deal will lead to a future first coming back to the Pack.

Rodgers met with the Jets in early March and expressed interest in joining the team soon after. The Jets also met with Derek Carr, but the Saints came in with a big offer to ramp up the pressure on Gang Green to come away with the four-time MVP. Rodgers’ current contract — a $50.3MM-per-year deal agreed to in March 2022 — runs through 2025.

While Rodgers said years ago he would love to play into his 40s, the legendary passer has flirted with retirement for a bit now. It should not be considered a lock Rodgers plays more than one season with the Jets; he said he was 90% retired going into his much-discussed darkness retreat. Favre retirement No. 2 occurred after one Jets season; an even brighter spotlight figures to be on the 2023 Jets as a result of the trade for Favre’s successor.

Shortly after signing Mecole Hardman, the Jets dealt Elijah Moore to the Browns. Armed with two second-rounders, the Jets used the first of those in this trade. They will enter this draft with a pick two spots down in Round 1, but ahead of this pivotal Rodgers-led season, Gang Green still has first- and second-round picks with which to bolster their roster.

Although rumors about this latest Jets-Packers QB blockbuster not being done by the draft circulated, this will cut the cord ahead of the team’s first offseason with Jordan Love in the starter’s spot. Talks intensified late last week, per Schefter and ESPN’s Rich Cimini, and continued into the weekend. It is safe to say the Jets will top their 2022 total of primetime games (one) this season. While the Packers’ number figures to dip, Love’s effort to follow one of the game’s all-time greats will certainly generate considerable attention as well.

In January, Gutekunst deferred to Rodgers’ four MVPs when asked if the longtime starter or Love gave the 2023 team a better chance to win. Rodgers expected to be welcomed back to Green Bay, but as the offseason progressed, this relationship — which produced a 2021 fracture that included a Rodgers trade request — encountered more turbulence. After the Packers traded up for Love in 2020, Rodgers said the prospect of him finishing his career with the Packers no longer appeared certain. The Love pick did precede back-to-back MVPs — both seasons featuring new Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett in a non-play-calling OC role — and Rodgers deciding he wanted to play the 2022 season in Green Bay. But after a disappointing season, trade winds blew again.

Rodgers, 39, is coming off a down year. He finished 26th in QBR and saw his counting stats dip across the board. But the veteran passer was playing through injuries. A broken thumb and a rib malady affected Rodgers, who was also playing without Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. While second-round pick Christian Watson showed late-season promise, a Watson-Romeo DoubsAllen Lazard troika represented a considerable step down from Rodgers’ previous receiving corps. This led to the Packers falling from back-to-back No. 1 seeds to 8-9 and out of the playoffs, inviting more questions about Rodgers’ Wisconsin future.

The Packers have Love tied to only one more year of low-wage salaries, with their latest extended QB transition mostly preventing them from building around the valuable rookie-QB contract, but the team will finally gauge the Utah State alum’s viability as a long-term starter. The Packers must decide on Love’s fifth-year option — worth $20.27MM — by May 2. Love has thrown 83 career passes. His lone start of consequence — a November 2021 Arrowhead Stadium tilt — did not go well, but the Packers are believed to have seen substantial growth in 2022. That said, the team going from Rodgers to Love invites tremendous risk. After a 6-10 starter debut in 2008, Rodgers — one of the greatest players in franchise history — proved the Packers right. Will Love do the same?

While Love is still an unknown commodity, the Jets had seen enough from Zach Wilson. The former No. 2 overall pick entered his rookie and sophomore NFL seasons unchallenged for the starting role, but after failing to make strides in his second season, Wilson landed on the bench after holding a much-improved Jets defense back. Mike White‘s injury issues moved Wilson back into the starting lineup late last season, but the BYU product’s future as a Jets contributor is very much in doubt. After White left for Miami, Wilson remains in place as a backup, but his future as a Jets starter — this early-career redshirt effort notwithstanding — is probably over. Two years remain on Wilson’s rookie contract.

The Wilson-to-Rodgers upgrade will be massive, regardless of the latter’s 2023 form. Rodgers is a 10-time Pro Bowler who piloted the Packers to five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl XLV win. The Packers generated steady criticism for not achieving enough with Rodgers under center, but the team largely eschewed free agency during the bulk of Ted Thompson‘s GM tenure. Gutekunst proved more active, but his 2022 receiver plan constrained the superstar QB.

The Jets have operated aggressively, adding Lazard and Hardman at receiver (and pursuing Odell Beckham Jr.), and trading for safety Chuck Clark. Rodgers has begun recruiting for his new team, making a pitch to Calais Campbell, who ultimately signed with the Falcons. But it should not be expected the Jets are done adding veterans around their biggest QB name in at least 15 years. Like the Buccaneers were with Tom Brady and the Broncos with Peyton Manning, the Jets can safely be classified as “all in” around their QB prize.

They were not on the radar when Rodgers initially asked to be traded. The Broncos loomed as the most likely destination, but while the Packers could have obtained more in a 2021 or 2022 trade with Denver, a Hackett reunion will instead transpire in New York. Denver being unable to land Rodgers led the team to Russell Wilson and Hackett — after a disastrous partnership — becoming the third HC since the 1970 merger to be fired before his first season ended. Hackett will have a fascinating bounce-back opportunity.

After whiffing on Wilson and not hitting on other first-round QBs (Mark Sanchez, Sam Darnold), the Jets committed to finding a veteran and acquired the biggest name available. But this introduces high stakes. The jobs of Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas, after the team ended last season on a six-game losing streak, may well be tied to Rodgers’ 2023 success. The Jets, however, stand to be a factor in a loaded AFC. This Rodgers-in-New York period promises to be one of the most interesting partnerships in NFL history.

Packers, Jets Resume Aaron Rodgers Talks

More than one month has passed since Aaron Rodgers went public with his desire to play for the Jets in 2023. That led to the widespread belief a trade would soon follow, but neither New York nor Green Bay has operated with much urgency to finalize a move.

After a period without talks taking place, the two sides have resumed negotiating (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). That comes as no surprise, with the upcoming draft being frequently mentioned as a logical deadline for a price (and the handling of Rodgers’ contract, which includes a $58.3MM bonus owing sometime in 2023) to be agreed upon. The first or second day of the draft could very well see a deal come to fruition, depending on the nature of the draft capital which ends up being exchanged.

That has remained the sticking point throughout this process, with the Packers reportedly being willing to accept an offer not involving a first-round pick for the four-time MVP. The Jets have, understandably, been hesitant to part with a Day 1 pick this year or next for a 39-year-old player, though that factor could complicate the situation to the point where conditional selections are included in the final deal.

Green Bay remains hopeful that a 2024 first-rounder could be coming their way, but in the immediate future it remains likely that New York will part with at least one of their second-rounders. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes that one of the Jets’ Day 2 selections (Nos. 42 and 43) is still at the heart of the agreement, most of which is in place. Matt Schneidman of The Athletic corroborates that notion, adding that a trade finalized during this week’s draft will all-but assuredly include at least one of New York’s first three selections (subscription required).

The Jets could be well-positioned to add further to their new-look offense (built in no small part with the assumption that Rodgers will be at the helm soon) especially if one of the class’ top tackles are still on the board at No. 13. Their decision to move on from wideout Elijah Moore generated their extra second-rounder, and keeping one would allow them to add another notable rookie to an already strong roster. The team’s window to compete in a crowded AFC would obviously accelerate if Rodgers were indeed to head to the Big Apple for one or more seasons.

Rapoport adds that nothing is imminent at this point, but hope exists on both sides that a trade can cross the finish line this week. Such a development would put an end to one of the league’s top offseason storylines, and represent a crucial inflection point for each franchise for at least the short-term future.