So folks, it actually happened. New York Jets have a new Quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
It wasn’t exactly the smoothest of trades but the blockbuster move is something both teams have been anticipating for some time.
It’ll be the second time in 15 years that the Packers have traded an aging star to the New York Jets.
He’s joining on a two-year contract worth $60M in salary and bonuses. Against the Jet’s salary cap, that’s $15.8M in 2023 and $32.5M in 2024.
The news as you might expect, divided the football fanbase. Some greet the news with praise, others with criticism. Why criticism? There’s an argument for Aaron Rodgers’ reputation but also because of what his trade means in reality.
Before we get into it, let’s get some context…
How did we get here?
According to some pundits, the beginning of the end for Rodgers’ 18 year tenure as QB starts way back in 2020.
Rodgers often joked in interviews about his future and while he was keen to keep playing well into his 40s, where his career would take him would be a ‘beautiful mystery’.
The drafting of Jordan Love as First round Draft QB in 2020, certainly looks like a harbinger. Maybe he felt like he was being pushed out?
It would result in a series of interviews about his future as well as more critical statements from him about the direction and coaching of the team under Brian Gutekunst.
His departure would drag on for another three years, in which such times he’d win consecutive NFL MVP awards in 2020 and 2021 and divide his fanbase over vaccinations.
Roughly within the space of eight days (7th – 15th) both the Packers and Rodgers begin discussing his future with the team.
His tenure ended ‘unofficially’ when he told them that he wanted to join the New York Jets.
A trade agreement between the two teams started and a hold up occurs as both teams struggle to thrash out the terms. Rodgers said the hold up had nothing to do with him.
April rolls round
April 24th rolls round and the terms are agreed between Packers and Jets. It’s quite a comprehensive package.
The news breaks before the Packers coach can deliver a pre-draft press conference. Gutekunst was happy to get the deal done.
What’s the deal?
The Packers would receive the following picks from Jets:
2023 First Round Pick (NO:13)
2023 Second Round Pick (NO:42)
2023 Sixth Round Pick (NO:207)
Conditional 2024 Second Round Pick (The Second Round Pick becomes a First Round if Rodgers gets 65% of plays)
The Jets would get from Packers:
Aaron Rodgers (Two-year contract worth $60M.)
2023 Fifth Round Pick (No:170)
According to the pundits, Rodgers wins and so do both teams. Critics don’t think so but we’ll get to that.
New York Jets
The Jets are getting a four-time NFL MVP and Super Bowl XLV MVP as well as a future Hall of Famer.
As for their playoff and Super Bowl chances, Jets are also likely to end their 12 straight consecutive streak of missing the Playoffs.
Rodgers could work much better with the likes of Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard (former Packers) and Mecole Hardman. The Jets struggled with a rotation of QBs with Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco and Mike White. This resulted in a lack of consistency.
Green Bay Packers
It ends the Rodgers era, one of the longest and most prestigious careers at the Packers. It also stops all his public flirting about retirement over the past three years.
Managing to snap up all of these picks from the Jets just days before the draft, is great news for Packers going forward.
Gutekunst managed to twist Jets GM Joe Douglas’ arm to include even the 13th overall pick in return for the 15th overall pick from Packers.
The swaps also mean the release on their salary cap. Packers would’ve had to pay Rodgers’ $58.3M salary.
There are other winners too!
Love will be assuming the mantle as QB1 for the Green Bay Packers going into the new season.
He’s healthy and his arm is cocked and ready to support Matt LaFleur’s 2023 plans. He’ll also have the help of Jet’s No. 13 overall pick and the extra Second Round draft coming off the back of Rodgers’ trade.
Jets skill players
Having Rodgers as QB benefits the likes of Receiver Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman. Expect them to perform much better with an experienced QB.
Just like when Tom Brady un-retired himself and joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rodgers’ arrival at the Jets gives the fans a spark of enthusiasm for a team which has been struggling for so long.
There are losers too!
While so much was made of Wilson as starting QB and the Jets would draft him as NO:2 overall, his two seasons have been riddled with injury and poor performance. The result is now that he’s back on the bench and being replaced by a 39-year-old.
Douglas has certainly taken a risk given that the Tom Brady effect for Bucs actually paid off for 2020/21, but to replicate it and expecting the same result is another issue.
It doesn’t take away from the value of having an experienced QB in the team but he has traded a First and Second Round Pick for this year. Is Rodgers really at MVP level anymore?
Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots
Rodgers joining the Jets actually challenges the Dolphins and Patriots for the division title next season. Both teams have been struggling to stay over .500 while they also scrap for the position of Second behind the Bills in the AFC East.
Critics have weighed in. One of those is former Baltimore Ravens QB and analyst Robert Griffin III. He suggested that Jets were ‘ABSOLUTELY FLEECED’ from this trade.
On Twitter he said,
‘The Jets are BONAFIDE Super Bowl contenders now, but that doesn’t change the fact that they got ABSOLUTELY FLEECED on this trade. Packers are getting a better first round pick this year, a 2nd rounder this year, and a more than likely 1st rounder next year for 1-2 years of Rodgers’.