Off the Runway: New York Jets Acquire Aaron Rodgers


Rodgers says goodbye to his longtime team the Green Bay Packers. (Courtesy of Twitter)

At long last, it’s time for the New York Jets to take flight.

After much speculation and anticipation, the Jets have completed a trade for former Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.
Gang Green acquired the four-time NFL MVP along with the 15th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and a 2023 fifth-round pick in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, a 2023 second-round pick (No. 42), a sixth-round pick (No. 207) and a conditional 2024 second-round pick that will become a first if Rodgers plays 65% of plays this season.Last season, New York finished with a 7-10 record, missed the playoffs and struggled to maintain a consistent offense. Second-year signal caller Zach Wilson was benched twice, and ended his season with the NFL’s worst completion percentage and fifth lowest QBR.

Despite their issues at quarterback, the Jets’ 2022 campaign was far from a failure. Wideout Garrett Wilson and cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner took home Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, respectively. Running back Breece Hall rushed for 480 yards and four touchdowns before tearing his ACL in October. Additionally, the Jets’ defense showed promise under second-year head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. The bunch gave up the second fewest yards per play over the course of the year and kept the team in games, even when the offense was stagnant. The blockbuster trade for Rodgers is a clear sign that the Jets are attempting to move off of Wilson, and make a legitimate Super Bowl run this upcoming season.

The 39-year-old veteran has a proven track record and is one of the game’s most dynamic players. He had a down year in 2022, failing to lead the Packers to the playoffs due to a lack of pure firepower. He finished the season with 3,695 passing yards and 26 touchdowns, but never seemed to find his groove or establish a rapport with a particularly young Green Bay receiving corps. He’ll have no shortage of weapons in the Meadowlands. Wilson, Hall and tight end C.J. Uzomah will join newly signed wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Allen Lazard in forming a formidable unit that will be led by newly hired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Rodgers worked with Hackett in Green Bay from 2019-21 and has a strong relationship with the coach. The pairing, combined with a multitude of offensive playmakers and a stingy defense, places the Jets in prime position to make their first playoff appearance since 2010.

Back in January, New York owner Woody Johnson referred to the quarterback position as the “missing piece” for the Jets, and now there is finally a definite bona fide savant under center.

The franchise has not won a championship since legendary quarterback Joe Namath’s heroics in Super Bowl III. Just as there have been narratives surrounding the Jets’ inability to win big games, Rodgers has faced scrutiny for his inconsistency during the playoffs.

He won Super Bowl XLV as a member of the Pack and took home MVP honors for his performance, but has posted a 7-9 playoff record since then. Once he arrives in New York, he’ll have an opportunity to simultaneously change two narratives with heavy histories. It remains to be seen if Aaron Rodgers will lead the Jets to the promised land, but his mere presence signals they are now off the runway.