The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
The Jets need to stop playing Aaron Rodgers’ game and go get a QB
INDIANAPOLIS — The Jets are playing a dangerous game of musical chairs when it comes to the quarterback position.
Case in point, freeagent quarterback Derek Carr is in Indianapolis this week meeting with the Jets brass along with representatives from the Saints and Panthers trying to find a new home after the Raiders released him last month. However, the Jets clearly are keeping their eye on Aaron Rodgers and the Packers as the veteran superstar is their preferred No. 1 option at quarterback.
Last week, Rodgers returned from his “darkness retreat” in Oregon as he contemplates his future in the NFL, whether that’s what the Packers or somewhere else. But judging from his comments on “The Aubrey Marcus Podcast,” it doesn’t sound like Rodgers is any closer to committing to the Packers or playing football.
“I’m not looking for somebody to tell me what the answer is,” Rodgers said on Wednesday. “All the answers are right inside me, I touch many of the feelings on both sides in the darkness.
“I’m thankful for that time. There’s a finality to the decision. I don’t make it lightly. I don’t want to drag anybody around. I’m answering questions about it because I got asked about it. I’m talking about it because it’s important to me. If you don’t like it and you think it’s drama, and you think I’m being a diva or whatever, then just tune it out. I’ll make a decision soon enough and we’ll go down that road.”
If all the answers are inside Rodgers, then it is time to fish or cut bait. Free agency and the new league year begin March 15 and both the Jets and the Packers are in limbo when it comes to their respected quarterback positions.
Green Bay needs to build a roster around Jordan Love, who the Packers drafted 26th overall in the 2020 NFL draft, should Rodgers retire or decide he wants to be traded. The Raiders, who are also potentially targeting Rodgers should he become available, can select a quarterback in April’s draft with the seventh overall pick.
The Jets have desperately needed a quarterback for decades, even dating back to their backto-back AFC Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010. Clearly, Carr is interested in the Jets because he traveled to meet with them in New Jersey last week and again this week in Indianapolis. He sat down with owner Woody Johnson on Wednesday. But instead, they insist on waiting on Rodgers and playing a game he is ultimately in charge of.
“I think it’s hard to put an exact timetable,” Jets general manager Joe Douglas said at the NFL Combine on Tuesday. “I think everybody would like it done sooner rather than later, but everyone has their own process.
“(I) feel like we have our process and exploring the market, exploring options, and each player has their own process in terms of what they have going on. So, I can’t give a direct timetable, specific timetable, but again, when the decision is ready to be made, I feel very strongly we’re going to make the right decision for the Jets.”
The problem with playing musical chairs is when the music stops, and a player is without a chair, the game is over. Instead of putting the power in Rodgers’ hands, the Jets must be proactive in this veteran quarterback search. If they don’t, Gang Green could end up without either Carr or Rodgers.
Carr could sign with either the Saints or Panthers. Then there could be a mystery team waiting to pounce once the new league year begins.
If the Jets are going to play the waiting game, at least do it for Lamar Jackson. There’s a chance the Ravens could place the non-exclusive tag on their star quarterback, which
would allow the soon-tobe free agent to negotiate with other teams, including the Jets. Then if the Ravens refuse to match an offer, Baltimore would be rewarded two first-round picks.
Jackson is 26 years old, a former MVP in the prime of his career. Rodgers, 39, is a future Hall of Famer and one of the best to play the position, but if last year’s numbers of 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions are any indication, his best days might be behind him.
If the Jets continue to chase and even land Rodgers somehow, they likely
would be in this exact situation again in 2024. Not to mention, the Jets would have to trade for Rodgers and give up premium draft capital for him. If Jackson is not a possibility for the Jets, then they should sign Carr.
The Jets defense finished fourth in yards (311.1) and points allowed (18.6) last season. Having a player like Carr, who will be 32 later this month, leading the offense combined with a defense that will likely keep improving should consistently have the Jets in the playoff hunt.
This is a crucial moment for both Douglas and coach Robert Saleh.
After entering last December 7-4 and seemingly on the brink of ending their postseason drought of now 12 years (the longest in the NFL), the Jets lost six consecutive games to end the 2022 season.
Time is of the essence, and if you’re the Jets you don’t want to be the team without a QB when the music stops. Be proactive, go get Carr, or Jackson, and don’t look back.
If the Jets continue to go down this road and wait on Rodgers, more heartbreak could be on the horizon for a franchise that has already suffered plenty of misery for over 50 years.