Woody Johnson

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.

Packers Still Seeking Jets First-Rounder In Aaron Rodgers Trade

Brian Gutekunst said the eventual Aaron Rodgers trade does not need to include a first-round pick, but it seems like the Packers have not abandoned hopes of collecting one from the Jets in these long-running trade talks.

The Packers are still angling to acquire the Jets’ 2024 first-round pick, Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com said during an appearance on the Wilde and Tausch show with veteran reporter Jason Wilde and ex-Packers O-lineman Mark Tauscher. The Packers do not appear to be going after the Jets’ No. 13 pick this year, but Robinson adds they want a 2023 second-rounder and the 2024 first.

New York acquired an additional second-round pick in the Elijah Moore trade and now holds the Nos. 42 and 43 selections this year; the team is willing to give up at least a second-rounder in this deal. It should be expected one of them will be included in a Rodgers trade, and the talks could run up to Day 2 of this year’s draft. Unloading Rodgers by that point and picking up at least one high 2023 draft choice would be the best way for the Packers to give Rodgers’ successor, Jordan Love, more help after an 8-9 season. Should a trade not be completed by the draft, a number of possibilities enter the equation.

The Jets are balking at including a 2024 first-rounder in this deal, per Robinson, who said the Packers are open to including a 2025 draft choice in the swap in the event Rodgers retires after this coming season. Woody Johnson looks to be leading the holdup here, aiming to avoid a Broncos-like scenario that sees the asset struggling after the team parted with a monster trade haul. While the (post-Nathaniel Hackett) Wilson-Denver book is not closed, Seattle does hold the team’s No. 5 overall pick. It would seem Rodgers’ success in the Hackett-Matt LaFleur offense would protect the Jets against a similar combustion, but the 39-year-old QB’s annual retirement flirtations obviously have the Jets skittish about overpaying here.

At a Jets event recently, GM Joe Douglas expressed confidence Rodgers will soon be Big Apple-bound. The Packers owe Rodgers nearly $60MM, but that payment — which can be sent any time between now and Week 1 — is expected to be the Jets’ responsibility. How to restructure Rodgers’ $50.3MM-per-year contract — which runs through 2025 — represents a part of these trade talks as well.

With the Packers undoubtedly wanting no part of that near-$60MM payment, Rodgers will almost definitely be off their roster by Week 1. This process dragging past the draft would still turn up the heat a bit on the Jets, who will surely want Rodgers rostered before at least minicamp in June or training camp at the latest. The Jets standing down as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo signed elsewhere obviously increases the pressure to acquire Rodgers, though Ryan Tannehill could conceivably become an emergency backup plan. The Jets have joined the rest of the league in not pursuing Lamar Jackson.

The Jets did not acquire Brett Favre until early August 2008, and with Rodgers spending the past four seasons running the offense Hackett will implement, assimilation is probably not a significant Jets concern. But the Jets can also attempt to wait out the Packers, as that bonus payment looms. That said, Rodgers developing chemistry with Garrett Wilson and Mecole Hardman will be important for the Jets, who gave longtime Rodgers auxiliary target Allen Lazard an $11MM-per-year deal.

It cost only a conditional third-round pick for the Jets to acquire Favre’s rights 15 years ago. Johnson was part of those negotiations, but his team will need to pay more for Favre’s successor. Day 2 of this year’s draft (April 28) will be the first major deadline in these negotiations.

Jets Rumors: Beckham, Rodgers, Lawson, OL, Elliott

Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made quite a few headlines during the league’s recent owners’ meetings in Arizona. One such headline came from Rich Cimini of ESPN who reported that the veteran wideout was seeking a one-year deal worth $15MM.

It’s a bit difficult to imagine a team dedicating that kind of capital to a 30-year-old wide receiver who is coming off his second ACL injury in three years. Beckham is still a talented athlete and displayed his abilities during his short time with the Rams. Cimini estimates that a contract worth $10-12MM is much more likely for Beckham. In terms of annual average value, this would place Beckham just under Corey Davis and over players like Michael Gallup, Curtis Samuel, and Tim Patrick.

Despite bits of buzz concerning a few other teams, the Jets seem to remain the favorite to land Beckham’s services for 2023.

Here are a few other rumors pertaining to Gang Green:

  • There’s an understanding around league circles that the Packers will eventually trade star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to New York. That understanding has, as of yet, failed to materialize, and according to Cimini, it has Jets owner Woody Johnsonanxious.” Johnson claimed to be anxious but optimistic as the team awaits the resolution to the problem of compensation. As the two sides continue to work towards equal compensation, the Jets aren’t getting impatient, asserting that there’s no deadline on when they’d like a deal to be done.
  • As the Jets entertain more potential additions to their roster, they have their salary cap to keep in mind. A question that has arisen in regard to that issue is whether or not New York will release defensive end Carl Lawson. The Jets have only been able to get one strong season out of Lawson since signing him in 2021. A ruptured Achilles tendon kept him from playing during his first season in New York before he was able to debut for the team this year. Now, after only one season of play, Lawson is set to take up the second-largest chunk of the Jets’ cap space. There is a potential out built into Lawson’s contract that would allow the Jets to cut Lawson with only $333,334 in dead money, saving $15.4MM in cap space. Head coach Robert Saleh reportedly turned down that possibility, according to Andy Vasquez of the Star-Ledger, claiming not to speak for general manager Joe Douglas, but asserting that “as long as (Lawson) can walk and play” he’ll be a Jet.
  • Saleh also spoke to the offensive line, according to Vasquez. While changes on the offensive line may be imminent with the addition of multiple offensive linemen in free agency, the head coach made sure to confirm the plan for Alijah Vera-Tucker to return to the right guard position in 2023. Also concerning the offensive line, Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com provided an update on offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, who reportedly is lighter than his NFL Combine weight after changing training facilities.
  • Another comment from Saleh concerned free agent running back Ezekiel Elliott, according to Vasquez. When asked about the possibility of bringing in the former Cowboy, Saleh told the media, “We love our running back room. I’ll leave it at that.” The Jets enter 2023 with a strong 1-2 punch of Breece Hall, whose rookie season was cut short due to injury, and Michael Carter.

Latest On Jets’ QB Pursuit

Since the Jets’ 2022 season crashed to a halt amidst their quarterback struggles, they are widely expected to be active in pursuing a veteran addition at the position. The team has been very public about doing so, and clarity could be emerging with respect to the names they are targeting.

CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reports that New York is “evaluating” Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr. While he adds that the process is in its early stages, meaning more names will no doubt be added to that list, it comes as little surprise that those three are included in it. Rodgers was mentioned as a trade candidate for the Jets even before Nathaniel Hackett became the team’s new offensive coordinator, but increasingly so due to their connection with one another dating back to the latter’s time with the Packers.

Garoppolo was widely thought to be on his way out of San Francisco last offseason with the team turning its offense over to Trey Lance, but he ultimately remained on a re-worked contract. Now a pending free agent, he would not require trade compensation (as would be the case with Rodgers). His play after taking over for Lance appeared to help his value on the open market, but the 31-year-old then suffered what was initially believed to be a season-ending ankle injury. He may have been able to return in time for the Super Bowl, though the result of today’s NFC title game now makes that a moot point.

As for Carr, his days in Vegas are thought to be numbered, as the three-time Pro Bowler personally alluded to recently. He has begun doing “homework” on potential landing spots in a trade (since he has a no-trade clause), though the possibility remains that he get released and chooses his next team as a free agent.

That trio of passers is also one which Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network lists as targets for the Jets. New York showed signs of being a playoff contender in 2022 with a strong defense in particular, and a number of encouraging performances with a healthy Mike White at the helm of their offense. Interestingly, Pauline notes that “several” Jets players implored general manager Joe Douglas during their exit interviews to move on from Zach Wilson as their starting QB, in addition to firing offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.

The latter move has already taken place, with Hackett now set to play a role in identifying the team’s top options to provide stability at the position relative to Wilson’s inconsistencies (although Pauline also notes that owner Woody Johnson still sees the 2021 No. 2 pick as salvageable). As the QB market takes shape, the Jets are sure to be key players in the case of several veteran passers.

Woody Johnson Prepared To Pay Up For QB Addition, Addresses HC-GM Setup

Everything about the second half of this Jets season pointed to the team entering the 2023 quarterback market. Their owner all but confirmed it Thursday.

Woody Johnson said the Jets will be prepared to spend for a veteran quarterback. The team has not gone in this direction in a while, but its past two top-five draft choices — Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson — have not panned out. Wilson’s struggles ended up holding back a vastly improved defense, something Johnson obviously does not want to recur.

Absolutely,” Johnson said (via ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini) when asked he was willing to spend for a veteran. “We’ve got a cap, so there’s an amount you can spend. But, yeah, yeah. That’s kind of the missing piece.”

Robert Saleh added the Jets will be “aggressive as heck” regarding the quarterback position. A veteran pursuit will mark a change of pace for the organization.

Not only have the Jets devoted their QB investments to rookies over the past five years, they had low- or midlevel QB contracts — Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick — on the payroll in the years before Darnold’s arrival. The organization which tried Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith throughout the first half of the 2010s last made a major veteran investment back in 2008, when it traded for Brett Favre. As such, the Jets appearing serious about trying to pair their reloaded defense with a readier QB would qualify as a significant development.

Wilson’s disastrous start to his career led to a second-season benching — almost unheard of for a modern top-five QB pick — and Johnson said the team likely erred by not bringing in a veteran last year to ease the BYU prospect’s transition. Since-departed OC Mike LaFleur said the same recently.

Zach had a tough year. There’s no denying that,” Johnson said. “I still have confidence that I’ve seen some kernels of real talent there. …[His] confidence level, whatever it was, went down, so that was certainly frustrating for him. And then we had that rotation, which is very hard to do in the NFL — changing quarterbacks.”

The Jets attempting to fix their Wilson mistake with a veteran move has seemed likely for weeks, since the team demoted the former No. 2 overall selection to the third-string level. LaFleur’s exit clouds a potential Jimmy Garoppolo signing. Previously, a LaFleur-Garoppolo reunion made some sense; the ex-49ers duo reuniting would have allowed for a smooth transition. But other QBs will be available.

New York has the option of trading for Derek Carr in February; Las Vegas is prepared to shop him. Otherwise, Smith has been connected to staying with the Seahawks. The Giants now want to re-sign Daniel Jones. Gang Green’s weaponry and defense could conceivably attract Tom Brady, though it is not yet certain if he will play an age-46 season, and Aaron Rodgers‘ Green Bay future is once again murky. The Raiders, who are also connected to Garoppolo, are seemingly set to be a Brady suitor — if the all-time great wishes to play in 2023. The Ravens will not let Lamar Jackson hit the market. The former MVP hitting the trade block after two offseasons of failed negotiations would certainly test Johnson’s pledge to pay up for a QB.

Johnson was serving as ambassador to the United Kingdom when the Jets hired Saleh and GM Joe Douglas. Despite inheriting the two, Johnson said Thursday he would not require a 2023 playoff berth for Saleh and Douglas to stay. However, he also did not confirm the duo would be safe with another postseason absence. The Jets’ 12-season playoff drought is by far the NFL’s longest active streak.

No, I don’t do mandates,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a long wait. Fifty-four years from the last Super Bowl is too long, way too long. I’d like to change that fast, but mandates don’t work.”

Saleh said LaFleur had other options, but it is interesting the Jets will allow their two-year OC to explore them rather than ensure he came back. This certainly points to a firing. Johnson said (via the New York Post’s Brian Costello, on Twitter) he was not part of the decision that led LaFleur out, though he also noted he had private conversations with Douglas, Saleh and LaFleur and offered input. The team is now shopping for a new OC.

Jets Owner Endorses GM Joe Douglas, HC Robert Saleh

The Jets hit another low this past Sunday. Not only did they get blown out by their divisional rival, but they also lost rookie quarterback Zach Wilson for the next few weeks. While no one in New York is happy with the team’s 1-5 record, owner Woody Johnson told reporters that he continues to have faith in general manager Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh.

“I’ve been around for, this is going on 22 years, with my little absence that I had recently, and this is a good group,” Johnson said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini). “We will get it right. Last week, you know, [was] frustrating, but now we turn the page and we’re off to the Bengals.”

The Jets have struggled during Douglas’s two-plus seasons in New York, but he’s also put together the league’s youngest roster and has a clear vision for the future. This is Saleh’s first season at the helm, and even if the Jets finish with one of the worst records in the league, there’s practically no chance the team moves on from their head coach.

“Just talking to the leadership — Joe, Robert, and seeing how their plans are put together,” Johnson said. “How they’re deep thinkers, they want to do things like establish a culture and they’re getting the right players in the right positions.

“It’s just a very young team with a young quarterback. He’s 22 years old, he just turned 22. So he’s seeing things for the first time like a lot of the quarterbacks now, a lot of the young quarterbacks. It’s going to take him a little bit of time, but I have a lot of confidence in Zach, too.”

Staff Notes: Johnson, Lions, Ravens, Browns

Jets owner Woody Johnson is back running his team, after his United Kingdom ambassadorship under President Donald Trump ended. Johnson now oversees a staff hired while his brother — Christopher Johnson — was operating as owner. Woody Johnson is behind the Jets’ current Joe DouglasRobert Saleh power structure, despite not being involved in their respective hirings.

They’ve got a tremendous amount of leeway,” Johnson said of Douglas and Saleh, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “I’m totally in sync with these guys. Chris [Johnson] made some unbelievable choices, and we’re lucky to get both of those gentlemen. I couldn’t be more excited,” he continued. “I’m very optimistic, generally, but I’m particularly optimistic now when I see what happens on the field [in practice].”

It will be interesting to follow Johnson’s relationship with Douglas and Saleh, given the unique circumstances behind this power trio. The returning owner does not plan to interfere with the Douglas regarding personnel, Cimini adds. The Douglas-Saleh partnership follows two unsteady pairings formed during Christopher Johnson’s interim ownership tenure, with the Adam GaseMike Maccagnan tandem lasting less than six months together and Douglas firing Gase — who helped him land the GM gig — after the 2020 season.

Here is the latest from the front office and coaching ranks:

  • Although the Lions hired a new GM (Brad Holmes), several Bob Quinn-era staffers will remain going forward. Holmes will keep Lance Newmark (player personnel director), Dave Sears (college scouting director) and Rob Lohman (pro scouting director) on staff, with select other scouts from Quinn’s regime remaining in place, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press notes. Newmark turned down an offer to join Scott Fitterer‘s Panthers front office, per Birkett. Both Newmark, who has been with the Lions for nearly 25 years, and Lohman, who joined the Lions in 2007, interviewed for the Lions’ GM job that went to Holmes.
  • Holmes did hire some new personnel. Former Panthers and Texans exec Mike Martin will join the Lions as director of scouting advancement, while ex-Miami Hurricanes football ops director Don Corzine is now in Detroit as a senior advisor. These two join John Dorsey and assistant GM Ray Agnew as key new arrivals under Holmes.
  • Going into his third season with the Ravens, Nick Matteo will rise to the position of director of football administration. Matteo, who worked in the league office for 10 years, will be involved with the Ravens’ salary cap. Additionally, Andrew Raphael will rise from an area scout to a national scouting role.
  • Browns assistant coach Callie Brownson was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated last month, 92.3 The Fan’s Daryl Ruiter tweets. Brownson pleaded guilty to the charge, and the Browns suspended her. However, Kevin Stefanski said Brownson will be back for training camp. Currently working as the team’s chief of staff, Brownson became the first woman to coach a position group during a regular-season NFL game — when the team’s COVID-19 outbreak led to her coaching wide receivers and tight ends in separate games last season.

Jets’ Woody Johnson Won’t Interview Coaches

After firing Adam Gase this week, the Jets’ head coaching search is underway. However, owner Woody Johnson won’t be among those interviewing candidates, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Jets To Trade Darnold Or No. 2 Pick?]

Woody Johnson is currently rounding out his term as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom. While he ties up those loose ends, his brother and CEO Christopher Johnson will lead the search. Woody will be kept in the loop, but he won’t chat directly with the candidates.

For all of their warts, the Jets still hold appeal for candidates. Playing in the country’s largest media market, the Jets are armed with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Trevor Lawrence probably won’t be available, but they could still choose from prospects like Ohio State’s Justin Fields, BYU’s Zach Wilson, and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance. Many believe that they will take a QB and deal Sam Darnold, but moving the No. 2 pick and keeping the USC product is also an option.

In addition to the Jets, the Lions, Falcons, Texans, Jaguars, and Chargers are also seeking a new head coach. Before the week is through, we could see more NFL teams join the list.

Latest On Jets Owner Woody Johnson

At the end of last month, we heard that Jets owner and current U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, Woody Johnson, was said to have made racist and sexist comments during his time as an ambassador. Those allegations triggered a State Department investigation, and as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com reports, the State Department thinks the matter requires a more thorough review (Twitter links 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

The State Department’s report says that Johnson “sometimes made inappropriate or insensitive comments on topics generally considered Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)-sensitive, such as religion, sex, or color.” Within the report is a statement from the Office of the Inspector General indicating that Johnson’s comments, gathered through interviews and questionnaires from employees at the U.S. Embassy in London, could represent a violation of EEO laws, which is why it’s pushing for a comprehensive inquiry.

Johnson’s comments are included in the report. He said, “[i]f I have unintentionally offended anyone in the execution of my duties, I deeply regret that, but I do not accept that I have treated employees with disrespect or discriminated in any way.” He added that, in order to address the “perceived or real” allegations in the report, he has reviewed courses on workplace discrimination and has asked his staff to do the same.

Even assuming an additional review is conducted, it seems unlikely that Johnson’s ownership will be seriously threatened. After all, Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder will not be made to sell his club in the wake of sexual harassment allegations made against members of his staff, and as disappointing and offensive as racist or sexist comments might be, it would be surprising to see them trigger an ouster.

Johnson’s brother, Christopher Johnson, is Gang Green’s CEO and chairman and has been serving as the club’s operating head during Woody’s ambassadorship. When news of Woody’s alleged comments surfaced last month, Christopher called almost every player on the Jets roster to listen to their concerns.

Jets Notes: Adams, Johnson, Clowney, Long

Joe Douglas confirmed the Jets had trade talks with several teams regarding Jamal Adams but categorized the sweepstakes-winning Seahawks as the most aggressive suitor. The Jets and Seahawks began talking weeks ago, and Seattle’s two-first-rounders-and-change offer swayed Douglas from planning not to trade his All-Pro safety to pulling the trigger (Twitter links via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano). Adams lobbed salvos at Douglas and Adam Gase, and when Douglas listened to offers for the decorated defender at last year’s trade deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link) Adams reached out to several Cowboys players to inform them of his interest in going to Dallas. This irked Jets teammates, coaches and team brass. While Douglas said he wanted to make Adams a Jet for life earlier this year, the second-year GM said this week he never promised him a contract, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).

Here is the latest coming out of Jets headquarters:

  • Although the 49ers have made some big trades under their current power structure, John Lynch said they did not call the Jets about Adams, via NBC Sports Bay Area. However, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler reported (via Twitter) involved parties believed the Cowboys and 49ers were both involved in talks with the Jets for Adams. The 49ers, who joined the Cowboys on Adams’ list of preferred destinations, re-signed Jimmie Ward this offseason and have starter Jaquiski Tartt back as well.
  • New Jets safety Bradley McDougald said Jadeveon Clowney remains interested in a deal (Twitter link). The former No. 1 overall pick expressed Jets interest in April as well. The Jets were linked to Clowney in March but, despite an apparent need for pass-rushing help, are not believed to be interested in the three-time Pro Bowler. Adams finished as Gang Green’s second-leading sacker in 2019.
  • Douglas convinced Ryan Kalil to unretire and become the Jets’ starting center last season, so reports of him being in talks with recently retired guard Kyle Long earlier this year carried a bit more weight. But Douglas said those talks were merely friends catching up. Douglas spent 2015 in the Bears’ front office prior to leaving for Philadelphia. That said, Mehta notes the two indeed discussed Long unretiring. The Jets re-signed Alex Lewis and added Greg Van Roten to a guard group that includes longtime starter Brian Winters.
  • Amid larger headlines involving current U.S. ambassador to Great Britain Woody Johnson, the Jets owner was reported by CNN to have made racist and sexist comments during his time as an ambassador. Johnson has denied the allegations, which prompted a State Department investigation. Following the report, however, acting Jets owner Christopher Johnson called almost every player on Gang Green’s roster to listen to their concerns, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes.