The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Rodgers to Jets would be a blockbuste­r trade

- By Antwan Staley

In 2008, the Jets acquired veteran quarterbac­k Brett Favre in a trade with the Packers. Now dreams of Aaron Rodgers are dancing through Jets fans’ heads.

Is Gang Green on the cusp of trading for another Green Bay future Hall of Fame quarterbac­k this offseason?

One primary reason a trade could happen is Green Bay’s salary situation, as they’re projected to be more than $16 million over the cap with a long list of free agents this offseason. Considerin­g the Packers finished 8-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018, a rebuild could be coming to Lambeau Field in 2023.

Regarding the Jets, the need is obvious. Jets coach Robert Saleh is coming off a 7-10 season in which the team lost their last six to end the season. Gang Green was one of the seventh seeds in the AFC to begin December, but its downfall was ultimately an anemic offense led by three different starting quarterbac­ks.

Zach Wilson, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, clearly hasn’t worked out, as injuries and poor performanc­es have left the Jets with more questions than answers. Now Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas enter the 2023 offseason firmly under fire to finally find a quarterbac­k who can right the ship and get the Jets to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

Rodgers hasn’t made any decisions about his future, at least not publicly. But if Rodgers indeed wants to move on or the Packers want to move on from the 18-year player, the Jets and Douglas should be on Line 1.

Here’s everything the Jets have to analyze regarding trading for Rodgers.

Why should the Jets want to acquire Rodgers?

It’s simple: Since Joe Namath, the Jets organizati­on has been looking for a franchise quarterbac­k. They got a taste of it when Favre was with the Jets in 2008 after an 8-3 start, but he couldn’t get the team to the playoffs. Maybe Rodgers can do what Favre couldn’t and make Gang Green a Super Bowl contender.

The Jets had one of the top defenses in the NFL in 2022, as they were fourth in yards (311.1) and points allowed (18.6). Having a player like Rodgers, who has won four MVP awards, been a 10-time

Pro Bowler and a fivetime All-Pro, would bring a level of respect the Jets have not had since Rex Ryan was their coach.

On the surface, Jets players supported Wilson, but clearly, there was dysfunctio­n inside the locker room. Wide receivers Denzel Mims and Elijah Moore both requested trades during the course of last season. Having a player of Rodger’s stature would bring a different kind of respect to a locker room full of young talented players.

Rodgers would also have a decent core to work with, including wide receiver Garrett Wilson, running back Breece Hall, and tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. Not to mention, there will be free agents who might decide to take a little less money to play with Rodgers and possibly help the Jets contend in the AFC and in their division with the likes of the Bills and the Dolphins, who both made the playoffs.

Lastly, Rodgers’ worst season in years is still better than any quarterbac­k has produced for the Jets since 2015. In 2022, Rodgers threw for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 intercepti­ons while completing 64.6% of his passes. Wilson led the Jets in passing (1,688 yards) and touchdowns (six) last season as he was benched multiple times during the year.

For those who also like connecting the dots, the Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinato­r. In two of the three seasons Hackett was the Packers offensive coordinato­r (2020, 2021), Rodgers was named the league’s MVP. Although Hackett wasn’t the Packers’ primary play caller in Green Bay, Rodgers still knows all the nuisances of his West Coast offense as the two remain very close.

What would it cost to trade for Rodgers?

The Jets would at least have to give up a firstround pick and maybe two of them to acquire Rodgers. If the Packers trade their franchise quarterbac­k, they would be starting over and need young players to replenish the talent they are expected to lose this offseason.

The team knows that Green Bay isn’t a free agent destinatio­n. Depending on how many teams might be interested, the Packers could ask for two first-round picks or more.

Then there’s the financial aspect of adding Rodgers to the Jets roster, as the team is projected to be $2.6 million over the cap this offseason. Rodgers has $59.5 million guaranteed if he plays in 2023, part of the three-year, $150 million contract extension he signed last March. The contract has a salary-cap charge of $31.6 million for next season.

Rodgers did say he is open to reworking his contract, but it still would be significan­t money heading his way. Jets owner Woody Johnson told reporters earlier this month that he would be willing to spend what it takes for a veteran quarterbac­k. It is time for Johnson to put his money where his mouth is and do what it takes to get a star veteran quarterbac­k to Florham Park this offseason.

Jets will have competitio­n if Rodgers wants to move on

On social media, tons of fans have photoshopp­ed Rodgers into a Jets jersey. But they wouldn’t be the only team interested in Rodgers if he became available. If Rodgers wants to move on, his first choice could be teaming back up with his former receiver in Green Bay.

A trade to the Raiders would reunite Rodgers with Davante Adams, a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro in Green Bay. The Raiders are expected to move on from nine-year quarterbac­k Derek Carr after benching him for the season’s final two games.

The Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans are also teams who could be interested in acquiring Rodgers.

Are Rodgers’ best days behind him?

This is a fair question to ask considerin­g the season Rodgers just had. Rodgers threw for the most intercepti­ons (12) since his rookie year when he threw 13. He also had the fewest yards (3,695) in a season in which he has played 16 games or more.

Rodgers did deal with several ailments last season, including a broken thumb. The Packers also had a subpar offensive line and young and unproven receivers, which dropped their offense from 10th in 2021 to 17th in 2022.

If Rodgers joined the Jets next season, they also have some issues to address, like the offensive line, which featured 11 players with seven of them on injured reserve at some point. The Jets could also use another receiver opposite Wilson and another running back.

Will Rodgers get that opportunit­y to be the Jets’ savior? Stay tuned.

 ?? Morry Gash/Associated Press ?? The Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers during the first half against the Detroit Lions on Jan. 8 in Green Bay, Wis.
Morry Gash/Associated Press The Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers during the first half against the Detroit Lions on Jan. 8 in Green Bay, Wis.

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