Aaron Rodgers

Jets Notes: Adams, OL, Hogan

Even before the Jets acquired Aaron Rodgers, the team was busy adding many of the quarterback’s former teammates from Green Bay. With Rodgers expected to be fully healthy heading into the 2024 campaign, the organization is once again expected to pursue some of the veteran’s preferred targets.

However, one major name that may be unrealistic is Davante Adams. Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda.com writes that an Adams-to-Jets move isn’t “remotely possible.” For starters, the Raiders have no real desire to trade their star wideout. The organization values the player’s leadership, and new head coach Antonio Pierce expects the veteran to be a part of their desired “winning culture.”

Further, the Jets would never be willing to meet the asking price for the star wide receiver. If the Raiders would ever consider trading Adams, Pauline believes they’d request New York’s 2024 and 2025 first-round picks. It’s unlikely that the Raiders would accept an offer of a first-round pick and a third-round pick, even if that first was the No. 10 pick in the upcoming draft.

Adams’ stint with the Packers ended before Rodgers’ tenure in Green Bay, and he was sent to Las Vegas to play alongside his college QB, Derek Carr. The two showed their chemistry in 2022, with Adams finishing with 1,516 receiving yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns. However, the organization moved on from Carr last offseason, and inconsistency at the QB position led to Adams putting up some of his worst numbers in years. The wideout ultimately finished this past season with 103 catches for 1,144 and eight touchdowns, with each of those stats marking his lowest totals since his 12-game performance in 2019.

Because of those declining numbers and the organization’s uncertainty at quarterback, there were some rumblings that Rodgers could look to recruit Adams to New York. For the time being, it sounds like the receiver is staying put.

More notes out of New York…

  • The Jets have significant holes on their offensive line, and ESPN’s Rich Cimini estimates that the team will pursue two new offensive tackles and a guard. Considering that long shopping list, Cimini expects the team to pursue at least one OL via free agency. The organization could also look to fill one of those holes with their first-round pick, with Cimini pointing to Penn State’s Olumuyiwa Fashanu or Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga as options.
  • Following the Jets’ disappointing 2023 campaign, there were a handful of damning reports surrounding the organization’s inner turmoil. According to Pauline, some in the organization believe assistant general manager Rex Hogan was responsible for the leaks. These leaked reports ranged from Zach Wilson’s reluctance to be inserted back into the lineup to coach Robert Saleh‘s excuses for the team’s record. Hogan and the Jets mutually decided to part ways following the season.
  • Speaking of Wilson, we heard earlier this week that the former first-round pick has started to evaluate trade options. The Jets are all but guaranteed to move on from Wilson this offseason, and it sounds like the organization is giving the QB some say in his next destination.

Jets Owner Woody Johnson Talks HC/GM Hot Seat, Offensive Struggles, Rodgers

FEBRUARY 9: When speaking to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, Johnson noted that Saleh will “concentrate” on the team’s offense this season (video link). That is notable given the latter’s background on defense, and the continued presence of much-maligned OC Nathaniel Hackett. Johnson praised defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich as well as New York’s special teams units, doubling down on the team’s abundant need for offensive improvement. It will interesting to see what alterations could be made with Saleh committing more time and attention to that side of the ball.

FEBRUARY 8: Following their offseason acquisition of Aaron Rodgers, the Jets had high hopes heading into the 2023 campaign. Those hopes were dashed when Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on his fourth snap. The Jets still managed to finish the season with seven wins, but a five-game midseason losing streak revealed some major cracks in the foundation.

While owner Woody Johnson gave both head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas a vote of endorsement following the 2023 season, the duo won’t be completely excused for the team’s underwhelming performance. While speaking with reporters during tonight’s NFL Honors, Johnson seemed to hint that the HC/GM duo will be on the hot seat heading into the 2024 campaign.

“They’ve seen me about as mad as I could be with what was going on with the offense particularly,” Johnson said (via Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com). “We’ve got all this talent and we’ve got to deploy talent properly. So I think they all got the message.

“This is it, this is the time to go. We’ve got to produce this year, we have to produce this year.”

The Jets are 16-32 under Saleh, and the organization has gone 25-55 with Douglas leading the front office. While Johnson admitted that he’s not a “playoff mandate (guy),” he is counting on his coach and GM to improve on their seven-win campaign (via Costello).

During his conversation with reporters, Johnson seemed to express specific disappointment in the offense in 2023. He even took a clear shot at former second-overall pick Zach Wilson, stating that the team needs a backup quarterback since they “didn’t have one last year” (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). Johnson also pointed to the offensive line when asked about the team’s overall plan for success in 2024.

“We need to keep the quarterback vertical,” Johnson said (via Beasley). “It’s really all about the offense. For the last five years, it’s been about the offense. The offense has to score, keep the defense off the field.

“Defense is good, but we got, I think we were developing a really good plan for free agency and the draft, coaching trying to get the offense, so we have a balance, more of a balance, a balance on offense. We run the ball better in the red zone. A change in our practice schedule? We’re looking at everything. So we know we know what we can’t do, so now we got to do it.”

The owner also made it clear that he’s counting on Rodgers to return to top form. When asked if the Jets could close the gap between themselves and the top of the division, Johnson pointed directly at his veteran QB.

“Yeah. I think we can close it with Aaron Rodgers, yeah for sure,” he said (via Beasley). “We’ve got a very good defense. If we can do anything on offense. I mean, we won games without scoring a touchdown. That’s absolutely incredible.”

Latest On Aaron Rodgers’ Jets Influence; Robert Saleh Considering Reducing Nathaniel Hackett’s Role?

The Jets were ready for a different story in 2023. After year after year of question marks at the quarterback position, New York finally made the move for that franchise passer for which fans had been clamoring for so long. Yet in that trade for the then-39-year-old Aaron Rodgers, the Jets were getting much more than an upgrade to their quarterbacks room.

A lot of the influence that Rodgers demonstrated over the Jets last year came before he ever arrived. In order to “woo” Rodgers during the trade standoff, owner Woody Johnson approved the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, per Zack Rosenblatt and Dianna Russini of The Athletic. Hackett had a history with Rodgers, serving as his offensive coordinator for three years in Green Bay, two of which resulted in an MVP award for the four-time All-Pro. Unfortunately, though, Hackett was coming off of a disastrous campaign as head coach of the Broncos, during which he became just the fifth head coach since 1970 not to finish their first season as head coach.

Even before that, the Jets stayed busy signing many of Rodgers’ former teammates like wide receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, quarterback Tim Boyle, and offensive tackle Billy Turner. Not to mention that the veteran quarterback also pushed the team to add offensive tackle David Bakhtiari and tight end Marcedes Lewis to the roster, as well. Lots of this undue influence on personnel stemmed from his past in Green Bay, where he felt general manager Brian Gutekunst shut him out, especially after the drafting of his eventual replacement Jordan Love. In an effort to make Rodgers feel more in the loop, the team gave him a direct line of communication to general manager Joe Douglas.

Rodgers was even reportedly consulted on the lack of success from his offensive coordinator following Rodgers’ season-ending Achilles injury. Rosenblatt and Russini report that the team reached out to several veteran quarterbacks after Rodgers’ injury, including Chad Henne, Carson Wentz, and Colt McCoy. Of course, former Jet Joe Flacco was available, but the Jets staff reportedly didn’t view Flacco as an upgrade over backup quarterback Zach Wilson.

When the team ultimately chose to move forward with Wilson (and eventually Boyle and Trevor Siemian), many were critical of Hackett’s ability to adjust to the team’s new situation without Rodgers, with coaches and players describing the play-caller as “lacking in attention to detail.” The article reports that head coach Robert Saleh has explored the idea of adding new offensive staff and reducing Hackett’s role, an exploration that seems to involve Rodgers’ input.

Unlike Hackett, Saleh reportedly jumped into action after Rodgers’ injury, diving into a study of how the league’s best coaches of the past had dealt with similar situations. He found that, with the exception of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, all of the best current names in NFL coaching circles experienced losing records in seasons without their top passing option.

It was also Saleh who informed Wilson after his initial benching that he would be inactive for the remaining stretch of the season. When the head coach was forced to reverse course among injuries and other factors, it was Rodgers that Saleh turned to in order to convince Wilson to play again. That plan proved ill-conceived, though, as Wilson had soured on his former idol. Wilson reportedly expected to have a direct line to Rodgers as he undertook the duties of the starting quarterback. Despite reports that Rodgers had taken Wilson under his wing, due to the veteran’s obsessive pursuit for the world’s quickest return from a torn Achilles tendon, Wilson barely heard from him.

Aside from all of the internal influence, Rodgers’ activities outside of the building have caused ripples, as well. Even setting aside the headline-grabbing comments about late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, Rodgers’ famous paranoia was causing issues inside the Jets’ facility as he told Pat McAfee that there had “been a bunch of…leaks,” sending Saleh and staff into a witch hunt.

Regardless of it all, the plan remains largely the same for 2024. Saleh and Douglas, after public endorsements from Rodgers, will remain in place. Depending on how conversations between Saleh and Rodgers play out, the offensive coaching staff may look slightly different, but Hackett is likely to remain in place, as well. Rodgers, likely to be fully healthy by the beginning of the 2024 season, will return as the starting quarterback wearing several other hats beneath his helmet, his influence ever-present.

Community Tailgate: Jets’ Future

After Aaron Rodgers spent months attempting to come back from an Achilles tear earlier than anyone before him, the lofty goal of returning this season proved unreachable. The Jets activated their preferred starter from IR, and while Rodgers can keep practicing to close out the season, his next game opportunity will come in 2024.

Rodgers said following his darkness-retreat excursion this winter he was “90% retired,” but the future Hall of Fame quarterback has changed his tune since joining the Jets. Turning 40 earlier this month, Rodgers now hopes to play two more seasons. Having planned a two-year run with the Jets, the four-time MVP is planning to start that clock in 2024 — after this lost season ended four plays in. The Jets’ outlook changed at that point as well.

Pivoting back to Zach Wilson, the Jets saw their season resemble a 2022 campaign that became defined by a losing streak. The Jets tumbled out of playoff contention, partially contributing to the call to shut down Rodgers, and have now started four quarterbacks in at least two games. The team’s playoff drought doubles the longest current regular-season-only streak in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL.

Robert Saleh will soon become the rare coach to receive a fourth season after starting his tenure with three consecutive sub-.500 showings, with Woody Johnson confirming he and fifth-year GM Joe Douglas will be given a mulligan and return in 2024. With Rodgers given significant say in organizational decisions, his recent endorsement — and rumors leading up to it — pointed to Johnson sticking with the embattled HC-GM duo. While Johnson did not mention OC Nathaniel Hackett last week, Rodgers being a long-running supporter of the struggling coordinator — after a three-year Packers partnership — looks to count for the most at this point.

Saleh still will be joining a select few in being retained after three consecutive sub-.500 seasons. Not counting interim coaches, 152 HCs have been hired since 2000. Only five have managed to last into Year 4 without a .500 season in their first three years. Here is that short list:

  • Dom Capers, Houston Texans (2002-05)
  • Mike Nolan, San Francisco 49ers (2005-08)
  • Jeff Fisher, St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2012-16)
  • Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-16)
  • Jon Gruden, Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2018-21)

Even going back to the start of the free agency era in 1993, which seems like a decent line of demarcation for modern hiring practices, only one other HC qualifies for this exclusive club. The Bengals gave ex-Jets HC Bruce Coslet a fourth season in charge in 2000, but his three straight losing slates came after a 7-2 mark as a 1996 interim hire. No other coaches hired from 1993-99 meet the criteria, putting Saleh (and the Falcons’ Arthur Smith, should the 7-8 Falcons lose once more and he survives) in rare territory.

For all the Wilson drama to take place during Saleh’s tenure, the former 49ers DC has turned around the Jets’ defense. The team ranked last nearly across the board on that side of the ball in Saleh’s first year. By 2022, the unit had rocketed to fourth place in scoring and total defense. This season’s group has not been quite as good, sitting 16th in points allowed and seventh in total defense (but third in DVOA entering Week 17). Saleh’s defensive chops and Douglas’ ability to provide sufficient pieces — though, predecessor Mike Maccagnan brought in top front-seven pieces C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams — have been on display over the past two seasons.

Still, this year has brought a new chapter of Jets drama. Rodgers’ weekly spot on the Pat McAfee Show featured countless updates on a rehab effort that fell short, with the future Hall of Famer’s comments continually forcing Saleh to address various remarks. Rodgers also criticized the team’s culture after The Athletic’s report that indicated Wilson was hesitant to reclaim the starting role. Saleh pushed back on Rodgers’ criticism but also said he always believed Wilson was the team’s best QB option, even as he turned to the since-cut Tim Boyle for two games.

Wilson’s presence has largely defined Saleh’s tenure. The bust-in-progress is 12-21 as a starter and has been benched regularly since November 2022. The Jets handing the former No. 2 overall pick the backup job, while attempting an unusual redevelopment effort, turned out to be a mistake. But the team compounded the error by refusing to bring in a quarterback capable of unseating Wilson once Rodgers went down. Months later, the Jets rank last in offensive DVOA.

A September report pegged ownership as being behind the failure to seek a true Wilson upgrade, which led to the Trevor Siemian practice squad addition. Another report indicated the Jets did not want to add a starter-caliber veteran due to the effect it would have on Wilson. While Wilson is not expected to be part of the 2024 Jets, his three-season tenure — one Douglas greenlit despite the BYU alum’s unusual prospect profile — has been a low point in franchise history.

After another round of ongoing drama and offensive woes, the Jets will bank on a 40-year-old Rodgers bailing them out on the heels of the most significant injury of his career. Considering the ex-Packers (Hackett included) the team brought in this year, it should again be expected Rodgers will have significant personnel sway. Will that be a wise move for the Jets? Weigh in with your thoughts on Jets ownership’s decision to retain its current setup in PFR’s latest Community Tailgate.

Aaron Rodgers Eyeing Trade For Davante Adams; Other Packers On Jets’ Radar?

The Jets are officially retaining Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh; they are expected to keep OC Nathaniel Hackett as well. Jets decision to run back this trio would not go over well with a notable sect of the fanbase. The team is riding the longest playoff drought in major North American sports, but ownership is prepared to give the group a pass after Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear sank this season.

With Rodgers having what certainly appears to be considerable say in the Jets’ decision-making, it should then be expected the team will listen to him regarding 2024 personnel moves. Already pegged as being prepared to pursue Davante Adams in 2024, the Jets look certain to make a genuine pursuit to reunite Rodgers with his former No. 1 Packers target. The Raiders wide receiver appears on Rodgers’ 2024 watch list, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes.

[RELATED: Jets Keeping GM Joe Douglas, HC Robert Saleh]

Rodgers’ 2023 wish list should probably give the Jets pause about more acquisitions driven by their quarterback. Allen Lazard went from signing an $11MM-per-year contract (with $22MM fully guaranteed, most among free agent wideouts this offseason) to being a healthy scratch for a game this season. After producing a career-high 788 receiving yards with the 2022 Packers, Lazard has 311 this season. Randall Cobb has four catches this season, and Dalvin Cook‘s $7MM contract has produced little. But an Adams addition would present a much higher floor.

The Raiders also continue to be linked to considering a trade. With the power brokers that signed off on the Adams trade (Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler) gone, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano indicates there is a strong chance either the Raiders or Adams determines by the 2024 offseason this partnership should end after two years.

Adams, who turns 31 today, is 32 yards away from his fifth 1,000-yard season. A first-team All-Pro three years running, Adams has taken a step back this season. Voicing frustration about his role in the Raiders’ offense this year, Adams will likely finish well shy of his 1,516-yard 2022 showing in Las Vegas. With the Raiders closer to rebuilding after the ousters of McDaniels, Ziegler and OC Mick Lombardi, Adams could well be traded for the second time in three years.

It would cost the Raiders $23.6MM in dead money to trade Adams before June 1 of next year. Though new regimes are not as concerned with accumulating dead money associated with players previous staffs brought in, Champ Kelly is firmly on the radar to be retained as the Raiders’ full-time GM. Kelly was in place as assistant GM when the Raiders traded first- and second-round picks for Adams in March 2022. While Adams remains a high-end wideout, it would likely not cost as much for the Jets to pry him from the Raiders as it did for Las Vegas to obtain the then-franchise-tagged target.

More Packers may be on Rodgers’ 2024 list as well. The quarterback is a strong Aaron Jones backer, Cimini adds, and his friendship with David Bakhtiari is well documented. The Packers will likely release Bakhtiari after another injury-abbreviated season. The Jets need help at tackle and were briefly linked to a Bakhtiari pursuit this summer, but the 32-year-old blocker’s injury trouble since his New Year’s Eve 2020 ACL tear will limit his market.

It is unclear if the Packers will jettison Jones, though they would be tagged with barely $5MM in dead money if they designated the talented veteran as a post-June 1 cut. Jones joined Adams in being one of the Packers’ best skill-position players during Rodgers’ tenure, but he remains valuable to the team. Though, one season remains on Jones’ reworked contract. And the Packers pivoted heavily toward a youth movement in the wake of the Rodgers trade. AJ Dillon is unsigned for 2024. With Cook almost definitely not coming back and Michael Carter being waived recently, the Jets will be looking for a new Breece Hall backup.

Rodgers’ influence and importance to the Jets may lead to a significant say in 2024 personnel moves, but he is officially shut down for the 2023 season. His comeback from September Achilles surgery falling short still led to the Jets using an IR activation. Rodgers is believed to have resisted such a move, per Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, since he now takes up a roster spot despite not factoring into the team’s gameday plans. Douglas and Saleh made the push to activate Rodgers so he can continue practicing.

Jets To Start Trevor Siemian In Week 16

The Jets will join the Browns and Vikings in starting four quarterbacks this season. Zach Wilson will be sidelined due to the concussion he suffered against the Dolphins, moving Trevor Siemian into the starting lineup against the Commanders.

Siemian, whom the team signed to its practice squad early this season, will follow Aaron Rodgers, Wilson and Tim Boyle as Jets starting QBs. Brett Rypien, a Nathaniel Hackett charge during the latter’s one-and-done season in Denver, is the backup. After an effort to poach Rypien off the Rams’ practice squad failed earlier this season, the Jets succeeded earlier this month.

This will be Siemian’s second start as a Jet. The journeyman passer debuted with the team during Week 2 of the 2019 season, one he began as Sam Darnold‘s backup. A Darnold mononucleosis bout ushered in Siemian, though the backup suffered a season-ending injury during that Monday-night game against the Browns. Although Siemian has been with seven NFL teams (Broncos, Vikings, Jets, Titans, Saints, Bears, Bengals), he has started for four.

Seeing their Rodgers-dependent plans go awry four plays into the season, the Jets are eliminated from playoff contention. The team turned to Wilson, punting on opportunities to bring in a more experienced backup in the offseason and then on a chance to acquire a better QB following Rodgers’ injury. Siemian, who had inquired with the Jets about an opportunity after Rodgers went down, circled back to the team in late September.

Siemian, 32 next week, has completed just 48.7% of his throws (19-for-39) in relief of Wilson and Boyle this season. The Bengals cut Siemian after Jake Browning beat him out for their QB2 job in August. Both summer Burrow backups will end up making starts, with Browning now having made four this season.

Robert Saleh confirmed Rodgers will not operate as the Jets’ emergency third QB. The future Hall of Famer, after a much-discussed comeback effort, was activated off IR this week. But Rodgers closed up shop on the bid to return to game action. He remains eligible to practice to close out the season, however.

The Jets’ evolving QB group will look different in 2024. Rodgers is planning to play a 20th season (and perhaps a 21st in 2025), but Wilson is unlikely to be retained in the fourth year of his rookie contract. Siemian and Rypien are on one-year deals. It is conceivable one of them stays as a third-string option, but the Jets will be expected to pursue a QB2 upgrade.

Jets To Activate Aaron Rodgers From IR

After a few reports indicated Aaron Rodgerscomeback bid would fall short, the Jets quarterback also poured cold water on his long-rumored effort to return from a Week 1 Achilles tear. But the Jets will still keep their preferred starter at practice.

The Jets will activate Rodgers from IR today, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports. This is somewhat of a procedural move, with no game action expected. But it will also allow Rodgers to keep practicing with the team to close out the season. Robert Saleh confirmed Wednesday that Rodgers will be moved back to the 53-man roster, noting the team considers more practice work part of the QB’s rehab.

With the Jets designating Rodgers for return on Nov. 29, Wednesday marked the activation deadline. Had the team not activated Rodgers, he would have reverted to season-ending IR and been shut down. Saleh said (via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo) Rodgers will not play again this season, confirming what the 40-year-old passer said during his latest Pat McAfee Show appearance. But the third-year HC added that Rodgers would have undoubtedly pushed to come back had the Jets not been eliminated from playoff contention.

Rodgers’ activation leaves the Jets with two IR-return moves remaining, but with the team’s eye on 2024 already, it will use one of the spots to keep its expected ’24 starter at work with teammates. Rodgers expects to not only play in 2024 — his long-held goal upon being traded to the Jets — but to stay for the ’25 season as well. Even though this has been a historically woeful season for the Jets’ offense, Rodgers practice work looks likely to be relevant for next year.

The Jets look unlikely to make major changes to their staff in 2024. This is due in large part to Rodgers’ preference for the Saleh-Joe DouglasNathaniel Hackett group. The four-time MVP endorsed each Tuesday. While staying the course will be unpopular with many Jets fans, Rodgers undeniably has tremendous sway in how the organization functions at present. Rodgers was “90% retired” weeks before being traded, and the Packers QB had flirted with retirement during his final Packers years. The Jets may not want to risk rocking the boat here. Keeping Hackett around will ensure Rodgers returns to the same offense in 2024.

Hackett being set to keep his job due to a close relationship with Rodgers (from their three years together in Green Bay) might be a difficult sell for many, considering this season comes on the heels of a historically bad Broncos HC tenure. Hackett has offered a brutal two-year sample as a play-caller, after a successful run as a non-play-calling OC with the Packers. Though, the Jets’ dependence on Zach Wilson doomed Hackett this season. That said, the Jets are worse offensively than they were before Mike LaFleur‘s exit. The Jets rank last in offensive DVOA, holding back another strong defense. After refusing to upgrade on Wilson during the offseason or once Rodgers went down, this fate was not difficult to envision.

Wilson remains in concussion protocol, but the disappointing third-year QB will remain the starter if he is cleared in time for Week 16. Trevor Siemian replaced Wilson against the Dolphins. Wilson is unlikely to be with the Jets beyond this season.

Aaron Rodgers Expects To Play Beyond 2024

The Jets have one more day to activate Aaron Rodgers from injured reserve. With the team officially out of playoff contention and Rodgers having torn an Achilles tendon barely three months ago, a comeback always seemed unrealistic.

After multiple reports placed the future Hall of Famer returning this season as unlikely, Rodgers confirmed he does not expect medical clearance this season. Rodgers said during his latest Pat McAfee Show appearance he would still be pushing the Jets to play had he been 100% (h/t NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport), but even after the speed-bridge surgery he underwent, the 40-year-old passer does not view himself as fully healthy.

That said, the Jets can still expect the recent trade acquisition to be back in 2024. Not only does Rodgers — who was close to retirement before the trade — expect to be back next season, the 19th-year veteran said he does not anticipate the ’24 campaign being his last. Rodgers hinted at playing beyond his 20th season this summer, but he had taken a year-to-year approach in his final seasons with the Packers.

Rodgers reaffirmed Tuesday he wanted to play two seasons with the Jets. One of those seasons would officially be in the books once the ex-Packers great reverts to season-ending IR on Wednesday, but he now views 2023 as a lost season (via Cimini) that will not count in this evolving equation. Hence Rodgers now wanting to play through the 2025 slate.

More pertinent for the Jets’ plans regarding their power structure, Rodgers said he believes in the Joe DouglasRobert SalehNathaniel Hackett trio. Referring to Saleh as a “fantastic” coach (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini), Rodgers has delivered what is expected to be a pivotal endorsement of a leader who will finish with a third straight sub-.500 season in New York. Jets ownership, however, has been viewed as being fine with writing off this season due to Rodgers’ injury and giving Saleh another shot.

Rodgers’ proclamations could represent great news for a coaching staff that has been unable to generate consistency — particularly on offense, where the Jets have submitted a historically woeful effort — following their quarterback’s season-defining injury. Not many modern-era HCs have been given a chance to return after starting a tenure 0-for-3 in winning seasons, but it is looking like the Jets will lean on Rodgers’ views here and stay the course. Saleh and Douglas would certainly enter the 2024 season on hot seats, while Hackett will be coming off two dreadful seasons as a primary play-caller. But the superstar QB’s injury is pointing to a mulligan.

In reworking Rodgers’ contract this offseason, the Jets convinced the four-time MVP to take a pay cut. Rodgers agreed to an unprecedented reduction in guaranteed money — from nearly $110MM to $75MM — through the 2024 season, and his ’23 campaign ended abruptly. No guaranteed money remains on this adjusted contract in 2025, but Rodgers is due a $35MM option bonus at that point. While the Jets will want to see how their high-profile pickup performs in 2024 after this late-career injury, their run of QB issues would not exactly point to nixing a Rodgers 2025 return.

One of the players to have rejoined Rodgers after a Green Bay stay, Allen Lazard said recently (via Cimini) Zach Wilson looks to understand he only has a few weeks left with the team. The Jets have been considered likely to separate from the disappointing No. 2 overall pick in 2024, but despite a number of benchings over the past two years, the team is hoping Rodgers’ backup can start the rest of this season. The Jets would take on an $11MM-plus dead-money hit by moving Wilson off the roster in 2024, but given his role in this disastrous season, it certainly looks like the team is finally ready to cut bait. Wilson presently resides in concussion protocol, but Saleh confirmed he will start in Week 16 if cleared.

Wilson appears to be on his way out of New York, but Rodgers endorsing the team’s GM-HC-OC trio may well lead to it remaining in place. Hackett will be attempting to come off one of the modern NFL’s worst HC stays (in Denver last year), though Rodgers has long endorsed the former Packers non-play-calling OC. Douglas is now the GM overseeing the longest active playoff drought in major North American sports. Douglas was obviously not in town for the Jets’ entire drought, but he has been in place since 2019.

Jets’ Aaron Rodgers In Line To Receive Medical Clearance; 2023 Return Remains Unlikely

The potential return of Aaron Rodgers to the Jets’ lineup has been a storyline since his New York debut lasted four offensive snaps in Week 1. He has maintained an aggressive rehab schedule since tearing his Achilles, however, and another milestone in that process in within reach.

Rodgers in on track to receive medical clearance to return to play in the coming days, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The four-time MVP returned to practice late last month, opening his 21-day activation window. The Jets must bring him off injured reserve by Wednesday to avoid having him revert to season-ending IR, though it very much remains to be seen which direction team and player will take.

As Schefter and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network note, Rodgers and the Jets will discuss their course of action given the fact he is far from 100% healthy and New York’s bleak playoff chances. Sitting at 5-8 to begin the day, the team faced a steep uphill climb to remain in touch of the postseason as of Week 15. The Jets could be eliminated from the playoffs today depending on how their game and others in the AFC shake out. Knowing the slim chances of a wild-card berth, it is currently unlikely Rodgers takes the field before September 2024.

The Jets’ December 24 matchup against the Commanders has been known as Rodgers’ targeted return date, but both reports confirm it would be unlikely he would be in the lineup at that point even if he is cleared. The 40-year-old has yet to fully simulate a game environment in practice, though head coach Robert Saleh has expressed a sense of being impressed by his mobility when on the field. As things currently stand, Zach Wilson is in line to remain New York’s starter to close out the season after (once again) being placed back atop the depth chart.

Given the injuries suffered by Rodgers (who underwent a speed bridge procedure to rapidly accelerate the healing process) and a number of other key offensive players, the Jets are expected to treat 2023 as a write-off. No major staff changes are expected as a result, and any tweaks on that front, along with roster moves, will likely be made with Rodgers in mind. The future Hall of Famer is essentially on the books through 2024 as a result of the revised pact he agreed to in the offseason. That contract calls for over $38MM in compensation next year, which remains the most probable point at which he will be available for the Jets.

Jets Not Expecting Coaching Changes

Twists and turns keep coming for the Jets, who have seen Zach Wilson‘s trajectory define the Joe DouglasRobert Saleh regime. After a chaotic season on the quarterback front, the Jets are again back with Wilson, who is taking the snaps today despite being benched three times between November 2022 and November 2023.

With their Tim Boyle experiment going poorly, en route to the veteran backup being cut the day after he made a start, the Jets are aiming to have Wilson start the rest of the season. This is, of course, contingent on Aaron Rodgers not deciding to finish his oft-discussed comeback effort for a team that almost definitely will not make the playoffs. Saleh did not rule out Rodgers coming back regardless, though he also needed to answer questions about Rodgers’ swipe at his own team’s culture this week. That gripe that came after a report indicated Wilson was reluctant to return to the starting lineup. In short, just about nothing has gone as the Jets (4-8) envisioned this season.

Wilson is more likely than not to be playing elsewhere in 2024, but as of now, the Jets are not expecting any changes to the coaching staff, according to The Athletic’s Dianna Russini (subscription required). Ownership is presently onboard with running it back “with an identical formula” in 2023. Russini adding a caveat that Rodgers’ opinion will be pivotal in how the Jets proceed with their coaching staff effectively illustrates where the team is right now.

It would be rather strange to see a team go through a season like the one the Jets are winding down and stand pat with its staff. Entering today’s Jets-Texans matchup, Saleh is 15-31 as a head coach. Granted, much of the struggles trace to Wilson, who has been one of the worst draft picks of the decade and is moving toward becoming one of the biggest quarterback busts in modern NFL history. The Jets attempted to move past the Wilson issue by trading for Rodgers, but the team has received scrutiny for how it operated following the latter’s Achilles tear.

After effectively handing Wilson the backup gig in a redevelopment effort this offseason, the Jets did not make much of an effort to upgrade following Rodgers’ injury. A rumor surfaced in September indicating the Jets lacked interest in adding a starter-caliber QB in order to protect Wilson’s confidence, with Saleh coming off as a Wilson apologist in the locker room. Another early-season rumor pointed to Jets ownership not wanting to allocate much money toward the position due to having already done so for Rodgers this offseason. The results have been predictable, with Wilson entering Sunday last in QBR. The Jets’ 10 offensive touchdowns through 12 games are the fewest any team has mustered since 2000. That said, Rodgers has long backed Nathaniel Hackett. This endorsement is rather significant for the embattled OC.

Giving Saleh’s staff a pass for this season could also be justified. After the 2021 Jets’ defense ranked last, its Saleh-led 2022 unit finished fourth. DVOA places the Jets’ defense third this season. The Jets hold the NFL’s longest playoff drought, having not advanced to the postseason since 2010. Over the past 10 years, only three HCs — Todd Bowles (Jets), Jeff Fisher (Rams) and Jon Gruden (Raiders) — have been retained after starting their HC runs 0-for-3 in playoff berths. The Raiders did not have much choice with Gruden, who was attached to a 10-year contract.

Although the Jets have made tremendous defensive strides over the past two years, their dysfunctional environment persists. It should not be considered stunning if the Jets fire Saleh or Hackett (the latter’s ties to Rodgers notwithstanding), but as it stands now, ownership may well be fine giving the staff a mulligan for this injury-marred season.