Monday, January 23, 2023

AFC contender emerges as favorite for Aaron Rodgers

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An ideal trading partner for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has emerged over the rest of the suitors.

The New York Jets started the season with a top-notch NFL defense, a rising rookie running back at Breece Hall and a former No. 2 overall pick in Zach Wilson under center — a formula that gave them a 7-4 start and a legitimate playoff raised hopes. But Team of the Year’s final six games all ended in losses and three quarterbacks made significant snaps, though Wilson never suffered a serious injury.

The Jets’ young defense and a healthy Hall are ready to challenge in the AFC East division in 2023, but they need a signal caller capable of keeping up with the rest of the talent on the roster and the organization is ready to provide for that pay.

Enter Rodgers.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler spoke about Rodgers’ potential suitors in Sunday’s Jan. 22 issue sport Centermentioning the Jets by name as frontrunners to take care of the Packers’ four-time MVP QB if Green Bay ultimately decides to move him.

“We don’t know the roster of teams yet, it’s very early days, but we know Aaron Rodgers doesn’t want a rebuild situation. That will eliminate some of the teams,” Fowler said. “So he’s entitled to that $58 million [in 2023] – a team has to be ready to revise it. But you look at a team like the Jets — the expectation is they’ll be scouring the earth for a new quarterback. … They’re not rebuilding anymore, they’re probably ready to win.”

If the Packers move on from Rodgers, it’s likely a joint decision. That means he will have a say in his new location and New York is taking steps to make itself as attractive as a travel destination.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday that the Jets had interviewed former Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for her position as open offensive coordinator. Hackett served in the OC role for the Packers for three seasons before coaching the Denver Broncos last year. During his time on the job, the team won three straight NFC North Division titles, while Rodgers won back-to-back MVP Awards in Hackett’s last two years at Green Bay.

Rodgers spoke enthusiastically of Hackett even after the Broncos fired him before the end of his freshman season as head coach, suggesting the bond between the two men remains strong. Bringing Hackett to New York could tip the scales in the Jets’ favor, as Rodgers has long been interested in playing out west should he ever leave Green Bay — with the San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders at the heart of most of those hypotheticals Suggestions.

This will be the third straight off-season of trade talks surrounding Rodgers, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken any less seriously. In fact, the opposite is probably true.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported over the weekend that both the team and the quarterback understand that “a trade is a very real scenario.” With Jordan Love raring to go in Green Bay, now might be the perfect time to step away from Rodgers’ onerous contract and start a new era.

If the Packers don’t trade Rodgers this offseason, Love is expected to demand a trade of his own, which would complicate Green Bay’s long-term future far more than parting ways with the 39-year-old Rodgers.

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