Nathaniel Hackett

AFC East Notes: Bills, Hackett, Dolphins

Terry and Kim Pegula shared equal ownership of the Bills upon buying the team in 2014, but the heart attack Kim suffered in June 2022 has brought a belated update to that status. A February 2023 Terry Pegula filing led to Kim being ruled incapacitated and her husband serving as her guardian, according to The Athletic’s Tim Graham (subscription required). Kim Pegula is not expected to be back with the Bills, Graham reports. Days after the ruling, Laura Pegula — Terry’s daughter from his first marriage — represented the Bills at owners meetings. Soon after, Terry transferred a “small percentage” of the team to Laura to comply with NFL rules regarding succession planning, Graham adds.

While this is an obviously concerning update regarding the health of Kim Pegula, 54, Graham indicates many Bills employees are in the dark about her prognosis and Laura Pegula’s role. Each May, teams are required to have succession plans in place. Previously, Kim was set to act as Bills principal owner as a bridge to the couple’s children; Terry is 73. The succession setup may soon become an issue. Bills employees had assumed tennis prodigy Jessica Pegula, Kim’s oldest child and the WTA’s No. 5-ranked player, and her husband, Taylor Gahagen, would eventually run the team. Jessica wrote a Players’ Tribune piece about her mother’s condition in February 2023, informing the public Kim had suffered brain damage from the heart attack. Months after that column, Graham reports Gahagen had been removed from his position as Bills director of corporate development and Laura had been given an equity stake in the franchise.

Remaining in place as CEO of the Bills and Buffalo Sabres, Terry Pegula has not answered questions publicly about the team since 2019. This update certainly calls into question, particularly in light of how the Broncos ended up being sold, the 11th-year owner’s succession view. Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Nathaniel Hackett believes, despite reports the Jets attempted to have some his power stripped this offseason, Robert Saleh still has full confidence in him as OC. “I don’t know what those reports are and I don’t know where their sources came from,” Hackett said, via SNY. “I know what happened with us. It was great. We had a lot of conversations, got to talk to a lot of different people. It’s that simple. It’s already been addressed. … We had a lot of changes, so we were talking to a lot of people.” No known change to the Jets’ offensive plan came about this offseason, though the team has added some new position coaches. Aaron Rodgers has stumped for Hackett on many occasions, and the duo’s relationship from their Green Bay days is largely why the embattled play-caller remains in place. After a rough year as Broncos HC and losing Rodgers four plays into his debut as Jets OC, Hackett joins Saleh and GM Joe Douglas on the hot seat.
  • The Dolphins will pick up $18.5MM in cap space June 2, after the funds from the Xavien Howard cut become available. The team will not look to free agency to make immediate upgrades, per Mike McDaniel. The third-year Dolphins coach said (via’s Adam Beasley) the team — which lost key starters like Howard, Christian Wilkins, Robert Hunt and Jerome Baker this offseason — is “not on the hunt” for FA help.
  • Bills right tackle Spencer Brown will not participate fully in OTAs due to undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, Sean McDermott said (via ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg). The Bills battled injuries at many positions last season, but they were healthy along their offensive front. Brown, who has been the team’s primary RT starter since his 2021 rookie year, played all 17 Buffalo games in 2023.

Jets Made Effort To Hire De Facto OC To Oversee Nathaniel Hackett?

While woeful two-year coaching stretches have occurred throughout NFL history, Nathaniel Hackett is coming off a uniquely brutal period. The short-lived Broncos HC’s rebound effort fizzled four plays into last season, and although Aaron Rodgers‘ presence has effectively kept the embattled play-caller in place as Jets OC, the team does not appear pleased with its top offensive coach.

A report in January mentioned Robert Saleh exploring ways to strip some of Hackett’s authority, going so far as to say the fourth-year HC explored adding to his staff to limit his current OC’s power. It appears such an exploration did, in fact, occur. The Jets are believed to have pursued a hire that would have overseen Hackett on the offensive side, according to SNY’s Connor Hughes. No known hire has occurred at this point.

This shadowy search looks to have been aimed at an assistant HC-type hire, as opposed to a new OC. The latter effort would have required the Jets to comply with the Rooney Rule and dismiss Hackett, whom they hired largely to woo Rodgers in 2023. Unlike the Broncos, the Jets did manage — thanks to the Packers deeming Jordan Love ready to play by 2023 — to reunite Rodgers and Hackett. But the former ended up losing a season due to an Achilles tear. Rodgers’ repeated endorsements of Hackett have almost definitely kept the veteran coach employed.

The Jets actually making such a hire would have brought an extraordinary step, and it is interesting the team would even try this given the NFL’s OC landscape and this type of staff addition’s potential impact on Rodgers. The 20th-year QB certainly wields considerable power with the Jets. Among the 32 NFL teams, play-calling duties either run through a head coach or offensive coordinator. It is not certain the Jets were seeking a new play-caller, but it certainly sounds like they sought someone who could oversee Hackett on this front. With Saleh a defensive-minded HC, guardrails associated with Hackett are not in place.

If the Jets had truly made such an addition, it would have brought another ignominious chapter for a coach whose stock has tumbled since his Broncos stint. Beating out Dan Quinn for the Denver HC job in 2022, Hackett quickly proved overmatched. His bizarre decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal in his Broncos opener preceded a Week 2 game in which Denver fans counted down the play clock, as procedural penalties — or timeouts used to prevent them — piled up. This led to Broncos GM George Paton insisting Hackett hire a game management coach (Jerry Rosburg). A disjointed Broncos season still ensued, as the Hackett-Russell Wilson partnership dropped the team to 32nd in scoring offense. The Broncos made Hackett just the third post-merger HC to be fired before his first season ended.

Jets brass was not impressed with Hackett’s ability to adjust the offense to Zach Wilson last season, and the team’s 10 offensive TDs through 12 games marked the fewest any team had compiled since 2000. The Jets finished 29th in scoring and 31st in yardage last season, putting just about every key team decision-maker on thin ice.

Rodgers’ injury prompted ownership to give Saleh, Hackett and GM Joe Douglas a pass for 2023. It would seem Woody Johnson‘s patience will run out if the Jets extend their NFL-leading playoff drought to 14 seasons.

Saleh is among only six 21st-century HCs to retain his job after beginning a tenure with three sub-.500 seasons. Hackett, who operated as a non-play-calling OC in Green Bay for three years, will be counted on to maximize Rodgers’ age-40 season. Even when Rodgers was healthy last summer, Hughes adds the four-time MVP would repeatedly change a play Hackett called. With Rodgers being just about all that stands in the way of Hackett being axed, this will be an interesting partnership to follow as the Jets hope to justify the 2023 trade for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Assessing NFL’s OC Landscape

This offseason showed the turnover that can take place at the offensive coordinator position. As a result of several decisions in January and February, the NFL no longer has an OC who has been in his current role for more than two seasons. Various firings and defections now have the 2022 batch of hires stationed as the longest-tenured OCs.

One of the longest-tenured coordinators in NFL history, Pete Carmichael is no longer with the Saints. The team moved on after 15 seasons, a stay that featured part-time play-calling duties. The Browns canned their four-year non-play-calling OC, Alex Van Pelt, while three-year play-callers Arthur Smith and Shane Waldron are relocating this winter. Brian Callahan‘s five-year gig as the Bengals’ non-play-calling OC booked him a top job.

The recent lean toward offense-oriented HCs took a bit of a hit of a hit this offseason, with five of the eight jobs going to defense-oriented leaders. Callahan, Dave Canales and Jim Harbaugh were the only offense-geared candidates hired during this cycle. But half the NFL will go into this season with a new OC. Following the Seahawks’ decision to hire ex-Washington (and, briefly, Alabama) staffer Ryan Grubb, here is how the NFL’s OC landscape looks:

2022 OC hires

  • Ben Johnson, Detroit Lions*
  • Mike Kafka, New York Giants*
  • Wes Phillips, Minnesota Vikings
  • Frank Smith, Miami Dolphins
  • Adam Stenavich, Green Bay Packers
  • Press Taylor, Jacksonville Jaguars*

Although this sextet now comprises the senior wing of offensive coordinators, this still marks each’s first gig as an NFL OC. Three of the six received HC interest this offseason.

Johnson’s status back in Detroit has been one of the offseason’s top storylines and a development the Commanders have not taken especially well. The two-year Lions OC was viewed as the frontrunner for the Washington job for weeks this offseason, and when team brass did not receive word about Johnson’s intent to stay in Detroit (thus, waiting until at least 2025 to make his long-expected HC move) until a Commanders contingent was en route to Detroit for a second interview, a back-and-forth about what exactly broke down took place. Johnson should be expected to remain a high-end HC candidate next year, but Dan Campbell will still have his services for 2024.

Kafka interviewed for the Seahawks’ HC job, and the Giants then blocked him from meeting with the NFC West team about its OC position. Rumblings about Kafka and Brian Daboll no longer being on great terms surfaced this year, with the latter yanking away play-calling duties — given to Kafka ahead of the 2022 season — at points in 2023. Taylor may also be on the hot seat with his team. Doug Pederson gave Taylor the call sheet last season, and Trevor Lawrence did not make the leap many expected. After a collapse left the Jaguars out of the playoffs, the team had begun to look into its offensive situation.

2023 OC hires

  • Jim Bob Cooter, Indianapolis Colts
  • Nathaniel Hackett, New York Jets*
  • Mike LaFleur, Los Angeles Rams
  • Joe Lombardi, Denver Broncos
  • Todd Monken, Baltimore Ravens*
  • Matt Nagy, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Drew Petzing, Arizona Cardinals*
  • Brian Schottenheimer, Dallas Cowboys
  • Bobby Slowik, Houston Texans*

Only nine of the 15 OCs hired in 2023 are still with their teams. One (Canales) moved up the ladder, while others were shown the door following that organization canning its head coach. The Eagles were the only team who hired an offensive coordinator last year to fire that staffer (Brian Johnson) after one season. Nick Sirianni fired both his coordinators following a wildly disappointing conclusion.

Hackett may also be drifting into deep water, given what transpired last year in New York. Rumblings of Robert Saleh — who is on the hottest seat among HCs — stripping some of his offensive play-caller’s responsibilities surfaced recently. This marks Hackett’s fourth chance to call plays in the NFL; the second-generation staffer did so for the Bills, Jaguars and Broncos prior to coming to New York. After the 2022 Broncos ranked last in scoring, the ’23 Jets ranked 31st in total offense. Hackett’s relationship with Aaron Rodgers has largely kept him in place, but 2024 may represent a last chance for the embattled coach.

Of this crop, Monken and Slowik were the only ones to receive HC interest. Neither emerged as a frontrunner for a position, though Slowik met with the Commanders twice. The Texans then gave their first-time play-caller a raise to stick around for C.J. Stroud‘s second season. Stroud’s remarkable progress figures to keep Slowik on the HC radar. Monken, who is in his third try as an NFL OC (after gigs in Tampa and Cleveland), just helped Lamar Jackson to his second MVP award. The former national championship-winning OC did not stick the landing — as Jackson struggled against the Chiefs — but he fared well on the whole last season.

Schottenheimer is on his fourth go-round as an OC, while Lombardi is on team No. 3. The latter’s job figures to be more secure, being tied to Sean Payton, compared to what is transpiring in Dallas. With the Cowboys having Mike McCarthy as the rare lame-duck HC, his coordinators probably should not get too comfortable.

2024 OC hires

  • Joe Brady, Buffalo Bills*
  • Liam Coen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers*
  • Ken Dorsey, Cleveland Browns
  • Luke Getsy, Las Vegas Raiders*
  • Ryan Grubb, Seattle Seahawks*
  • Nick Holz, Tennessee Titans
  • Kliff Kingsbury, Washington Commanders*
  • Klint Kubiak, New Orleans Saints*
  • Brad Idzik, Carolina Panthers
  • Kellen Moore, Philadelphia Eagles*
  • Dan Pitcher, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Zac Robinson, Atlanta Falcons*
  • Greg Roman, Los Angeles Chargers*
  • Arthur Smith, Pittsburgh Steelers*
  • Alex Van Pelt, New England Patriots*
  • Shane Waldron, Chicago Bears*

The 49ers do not employ a traditional OC; 16 of the 31 teams that do recently made a change. Most of the teams to add OCs this year, however, did so without employing play-calling coaches. This naturally raises the stakes for this year’s batch of hires.

Retreads became rather popular. Dorsey, Getsy, Moore, Van Pelt and Waldron were all OCs elsewhere (Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle) last season. Smith will shift from calling the Falcons’ plays to running the show for the Steelers. Dorsey, Getsy and Van Pelt were fired; Moore and Waldron moved on after the Chargers and Seahawks respectively changed HCs. Moore and Smith will be calling plays for a third team; for Moore, this is three OC jobs in three years.

Coen, Kingsbury and Roman are back after a year away. Kingsbury became a popular name on the OC carousel, having coached Caleb Williams last season. This will be his second crack at an NFL play-calling gig, having been the Cardinals’ conductor throughout his HC tenure. This will be Coen’s first shot at calling plays in the pros; he was Sean McVay‘s non-play-calling assistant in 2022. Likely to become the Chargers’ play-caller, Roman will have a rare fourth chance to call plays in the NFL. He held that responsibility under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco; following Harbaugh’s explosive 2015 49ers split, Roman moved to Buffalo and Baltimore to work under non-offense-oriented leaders.

Grubb, Holz, Idzik, Pitcher and Robinson represent this year’s first-timer contingent. Grubb has, however, called plays at the college level. Robinson is the latest McVay staffer to move into a play-calling post; he was a Rams assistant for five years. A host of teams had Robinson on their OC radar, but Raheem Morris brought his former L.A. coworker to Atlanta. Pitcher appeared in a few searches as well, but the Bengals made the expected move — after extending him last year — to give him Callahan’s old job.

* = denotes play-calling coordinator

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.

Jets Owner: Robert Saleh, Joe Douglas To Stay For 2024 Season

Rumored to be staying despite overseeing nothing but sub-.500 seasons, the Joe DouglasRobert Saleh tandem will officially be brought back for the 2024 season. Jets owner Woody Johnson confirmed it Sunday.

Johnson, who was finishing up his U.S. ambassadorial tenure when the pair was hired, will sign off on the reported plan to give the power brokers a mulligan after the Aaron Rodgers Week 1 Achilles tear doomed the Jets’ season. Douglas has been on the job since 2019, Saleh since 2021.

My decision is to keep them,” Johnson said, via the New York Post’s Brian Costello. “I think we’ve had some very positive moves. The culture of the team is a lot better. The defense is better. The offense needs a few pieces. … Like I said a year ago, we need a quarterback. We had a quarterback for four plays. Since then we haven’t been able to replace him. If we have a good quarterback, it makes everybody’s job easier. It makes the line better, the receivers better.”

The Jets are 16-32 under Saleh, who will join only a handful of 21st-century coaches in being retained despite beginning his HC run with three straight sub-.500 seasons. The team is a ghastly 25-55 under Douglas, who took over ahead of Adam Gase‘s first season. It is safe to say the Saleh-Douglas duo will be on some of the hottest seats in recent NFL history next season, but Johnson will allow them to stay in charge after the Rodgers acquisition produced a mere four plays of work this year.

This will not go over well with many Jets fans, seeing as the team has collapsed in back-to-back years. But Saleh did execute a defensive turnaround. The team ranked last in both scoring defense and total yardage in 2021; it finished fourth in both categories last season. This year, Saleh’s unit rank 11th in points allowed and seventh in total defense. Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner have emerged as long-term cornerstones, while veteran C.J. Mosley has stabilized his career under Saleh. Complementary pieces have emerged as well, but the 2024 mandate will clearly be on offense, where the team is finishing off one of the worst seasons in modern NFL annals.

New York’s numbers on offense are down from even 2022, when the Zach Wilson train careened off track. The Jets have scored an NFL-worst 13 touchdowns on offense this season. They rank last in total offense and DVOA on that side of the ball, with Wilson — via the team’s shortsighted plan to leave the former No. 2 overall pick as the unquestioned backup entering the season and its refusal to acquire a better option once Rodgers went down in September — leading the charge toward another woeful campaign. Wilson is expected to be elsewhere in 2024, but the Jets’ lead power brokers will be allowed to pick up the pieces around Rodgers.

Considering Rodgers’ endorsements of Saleh and Douglas this week, that seemed to entrench the duo for the ’24 season. Johnson did not, however, mention OC Nathaniel Hackett on Sunday. That could be telling, and Hackett has submitted one of the worst two-year runs in NFL history.

After leading the way in the Broncos’ offense plunging to the NFL basement last season, Hackett has followed that up with comparably awful Jets offense. Denver ranked last in scoring in 2022, leading to Hackett’s firing after just 15 games, tanking the play-caller’s stock after a successful Green Bay run (as a non-play-calling OC). But Rodgers has long backed Hackett. The four-time MVP’s support for Hackett this week will likely lead to the veteran coach sticking around as well. Indeed,’s Ian Rapoport adds Hackett is expected to come back for the 2024 season.

Look no further than Johnson’s comments on Rodgers’ presence as an indication the QB will get his wish for OC continuity. Rodgers has been practicing with the team for nearly three weeks, doing so despite undergoing Achilles surgery in September. Rodgers’ much-discussed comeback will fall just short, but the Jets activated him from IR and are pleased with the impact he has made on the organization even without playing into the second quarter of Week 1.

I think if you see Aaron Rodgers right now and the impact he’s having on the team and what he’s able to do with virtually no practice, it’s amazing,” Johnson said. “He’s in the fourth quarter of the league year and he’s throwing like he’s practiced all year. When he starts practicing and gets the timing with receivers just perfect, I think you’re going to see some amazing things.”

The Jets convinced Rodgers to accept a historic pay cut for the 2024 season, and after he was close to retiring this year, the 19th-year veteran said this week he wants to play through at least the 2025 season. Not counting this year as one of the two seasons he plans to play with the Jets, Rodgers will likely be given a considerable say in how the team addresses some of the Johnson-referenced offensive deficiencies in 2024. After the Jets based 2023 around how Rodgers could transform their operation, Johnson will keep the keys in Douglas and Saleh’s hands to see this plan to fruition.

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’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 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.

Jets Aiming For Zach Wilson To Start For Rest Of Season; Latest On Team’s Coaching Staff

The Jets’ latest round of quarterback adventures will feature Zach Wilson reinstalled as the starter. Robert Saleh called the former No. 2 overall pick the best option the team has, and the third-year coach indicated he had always viewed Wilson as the most talented healthy QB on the team despite demoting him for a third time last month.

This marks the second Wilson re-emergence after a benching. The Jets demoted the BYU alum from starter to third-stringer in November 2022, but after leapfrogging Joe Flacco for the QB2 role weeks later, Wilson regained the gig following Mike White‘s rib injury. The Jets will dispense with a Wilson incremental depth chart climb, moving him from QB3 to QB1 in Week 14. Last week’s QB1 (Tim Boyle) being off the team makes that jump a bit easier. Trevor Siemian and ex-Nathaniel Hackett Broncos charge Brett Rypien are now on the roster, with Rypien guaranteed to stay for at least three weeks due to the Jets poaching him off the Rams’ practice squad.

Although Aaron Rodgers remains in the IR-return window, the Jets’ preferred starter is not expected to play this season. Saleh did not rule out Rodgers, who has linked a return to the Jets’ chances at a playoff berth, but said Wilson “God willing” will be New York’s starter the rest of the way.

At 4-8, the Jets are all but eliminated from the postseason race. The team has lost five straight, reminding of its close to last season, which involved a six-game skid to wrap the slate. The rumor about Wilson being reluctant to start again may have come from the embattled QB asking at least one teammate for advice on how to handle the team’s final few games, Rich Cimini of notes. Wilson said The Athletic’s report depicting reluctance to return as the starter was “absolutely not” accurate.

One more season remains on Wilson’s rookie contract. Even with Wilson costing the Jets $11MM-plus in dead money to waive during the 2024 offseason, Cimini indicates the disappointing passer is unlikely to be part of the ’24 Jets. Given his performance and repeated benchings, it certainly adds up the organization will have had its fill by season’s end. The Jets attempting to redevelop Wilson — by handing him the QB2 job this offseason and then declaring him their unquestioned starter once Rodgers went down — can be scrutinized; assuming Rodgers is back next season, it makes sense for the organization to bring in a more reliable backup for its 40-year-old starter.

Regarding Rodgers’ comments about the Jets’ poor culture leading to the Wilson information leaking, Saleh disagrees with the injured veteran about the Jets having a culture problem, Cimini tweets. It is quite possible the Rodgers-Saleh-Hackett-Joe Douglas quartet will be back next season, with ownership writing this one off as a lost campaign due to Rodgers’ Week 1 Achilles tear. Of course, how much more losing will Woody Johnson tolerate even in these unusual circumstances?

The Jets have scored 10 offensive touchdowns this season, topping the 2006 Raiders and 2011 Rams (11 apiece) for the fewest through 12 games this century. Given Hackett’s disastrous showing as the Broncos’ play-caller last season, his stock has cratered since a three-year run as the Packers’ non-play-calling OC. But a perception around the league has pointed to the Jets taking a mulligan on this season,’s Dan Graziano notes. Rodgers’ influence is also believed to be strong enough he will be able to dictate how the Jets proceed with their staff. Rodgers’ first seven months in New York lend credence to that, which could bode well for the current staff. Saleh is 15-31 leading the Jets.

Johnson was serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom when both Douglas and Saleh were interviewed, and Graziano adds acting owner Christopher Johnson is believed to have overseen the Saleh hire in January 2021. How Wilson and the Jets fare down the stretch could have some sway in terms of which staffers have the opportunity to lead a presumably Rodgers-quarterbacked team in 2024.

Nathaniel Hackett To Remain Jets’ Offensive Play-Caller

Another poor outing on offense for the Jets was on display last night, but changes on the sidelines for the unit will not be forthcoming. Head coach Robert Saleh said after the game (via SNY’s Connor Hughes) offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will retain play-calling duties.

Hackett was hired this offseason after his disastrous head coaching stint in Denver. The 43-year-old was fired before finishing his first campaign in charge of the Broncos, but his New York agreement paved the way for another opportunity to lead an offense (and, of course, began the speculation connecting Aaron Rodgers to the Jets). The former Packers duo were indeed reunited, though Rodgers’ Achilles tear has altered the Jets’ season on offense in particular.

After repeatedly receiving votes of confidence from Saleh and Co., Zach Wilson has handled starting duties in Rodgers’ absence. That decision has not sat well with everyone in the locker room, and the former No. 2 pick’s lack of development (coupled with underwhelming play from a banged-up offensive line) has hamstrung a team which entered the year with signficant expectations. Hackett has received criticism as well, but he will remain in his current role for at least the time being.

After being held to just six points by a Chargers defense which has not fared particularly well in 2023, the Jets sit 30th in the league in scoring and 28th in total offense with an average of 16.5 points and 303 yards per game. Those struggles have outweighed top-10 performances in a number of defensive categories and threatened to hold New York out of the postseason barring a notable uptick in offensive production. A return from Rodgers – something the Jets are still holding out hope for – could change the team’s outlook, but the 39-year-old has made it clear suiting up in 2023 (if at all possible) would not take place unless a postseason berth was in reach.

Hackett had considerable success with the latter during their shared time in Green Bay, although play-calling duties were not part of the equation during that time. Hackett was deemed responsible in no small part for Russell Wilson‘s career-worst season in Denver last year, and it would come as a surprise if he were to receive another HC look in the near future. A rebound down the stretch in New York as OC would be a welcomed development, though.

Former Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing is on the Jets’ staff as passing game coordinator. He would represent an experienced option if Saleh were to decide a change in play-caller would be helpful to New York’s late-season prospects. As things stand, though, no such shake-up is in the cards.

Sean Payton: Russell Wilson Still Has It

Being one of last season’s most disappointing teams, the Broncos launched another reboot by obtaining Sean Payton’s rights from the Saints. Payton, however, will be tasked with coaching Russell Wilson and working with holdover GM George Paton. But the longtime Saints coach can certainly be viewed as the centerpiece presence in Denver.

As such, Payton fired off some strong stances in an interview with USA Today’s Jarrett Bell. Among the people taken to task by the Super Bowl-winning HC: predecessor Nathaniel Hackett. This Broncos season will do plenty to determine which 2022 pillar was more at fault for the Broncos’ woes last season; Payton is placing considerably more blame on Hackett than Wilson.

Everybody’s got a little stink on their hands; it’s not just Russell. It was a (poor) offensive line. It might have been one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL. That’s how bad it was,” Payton said, via Bell.

“… I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.”

This is not the first time Payton has said the team’s 2022 mess was not entirely on Wilson. The Broncos’ Pat ShurmurTeddy Bridgewater offensive setup finished 23rd in scoring offense; the Hackett-Wilson pairing sunk it to last. The team gave Wilson a private office and allowed his personal team facility access. While noting QB offices are not out of the ordinary, Payton reiterated he shut down Team Wilson staffers’ facility access.

Perhaps most importantly, the Broncos gave Wilson autonomy in designing the offense last year. Although injuries to the likes of Garett Bolles, Javonte Williams, Tim Patrick and others led to the quarterback’s stunning nosedive, Wilson’s effort to play more from the pocket produced prolonged periods of stagnancy as the Broncos stumbled to a 3-10 start. Paton forced Hackett to bring Jerry Rosburg out of retirement to manage games after glaring managerial snafus transpired during the Broncos’ first two contests, and the GM ended up firing the first-time HC after a blowout Christmas Day loss to the Rams. Hackett, who gave up play-calling duties midway through his short tenure, is one of just three coaches since the 1970 merger to be fired before their first season concluded.

Wilson, 34, still took the brunt of the criticism, having been traded for a picks package headlined by two first-rounders and two seconds. He finished with a career-low 16 touchdown passes, and after closing his Seahawks tenure with QBR rankings of 10th, 11th, fifth, eighth and 10th from 2017-21, the perennial Pro Bowler dropped to 27th in his first Broncos campaign.

That wasn’t his fault,” Payton said of Wilson’s facility setup. “That was the parents who allowed it. That’s not an incrimination on him, but an incrimination on the head coach, the GM, the president (Damani Leech) and everybody else who watched it all happen. Now, a quarterback having an office and a place to watch film is normal. But all those things get magnified when you’re losing. And that other stuff, I’ve never heard of it. We’re not doing that.

“It doesn’t happen often where an NFL team or organization gets embarrassed. And that happened here.”

It is certainly interesting Payton mentioned Paton, whose job security took a hit after the Hackett-Wilson pairing produced a spectacular letdown. Payton has been connected to potentially bringing in more familiar front office personnel. This could loom as an important season for the Broncos’ GM, given the events of the past year.

Wilson’s five-year, $245MM extension runs through 2028. His cap number jumps from $22MM to $35.4MM between 2023 and ’24. The Broncos can escape this contract with a $35.4MM dead-money charge in 2024 with a post-June 1 cut designation — though, that would be an extreme move, considering dead money would come in 2025 as well — should the form Wilson showed in 2022 represent a true decline rather than a coaching-induced blip.

Payton has praised offseason pickup Jarrett Stidham, who signed a two-year, $10MM deal. But the team remains committed to Wilson, who will have Williams, Patrick and Bolles back, along with big-ticket O-line pickups Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers in the mix. After eyeing a partnership with Payton in the past, Wilson has a clear bounce-back opportunity.