aaron rodgers nathaniel hackett jets
Syndication: Stevens Point Journal

The Jets have been on the hunt for a new offensive coordinator since parting ways with Mike LaFleur last week. The known list of candidates is up to five, and the latest is Nathaniel Hackett.

He joins Kevin Patullo, Marcus Brady, Nick Caley, and Darrell Bevell as other coaches have been legitimately connected to the Jets for this position in some way. The reaction to this news on the Twitter machine has been mixed. There’s been a lot of “Oh my God, no thank you” reactions because of how his tenure with the Denver Broncos transpired.

He spent one year in the Mile High City and was fired after just 15 games (which included a 4-11 record). That’s not ideal, but he wouldn’t come to New York as a head coach, ya know.

The other type of reaction has included cooking up a conspiracy theory saying the Jets’ interest in Hackett could mean they’d try to make a run for Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.

These two were both in Green Bay between 2019 and 2021 when Hackett served as the offensive coordinator. Head coach Matt LaFleur called plays, but the Packers were among the league’s best-scoring offenses. Rodgers also took home MVP honors in 2020 and 2021.

When we combine this with Rodgers’ recent comments about his future, it becomes even more interesting. While appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, he said the following (quote via the Associated Press):

Do I still think I can play? Of course. Of course. Can I play at a high level? Yeah. The highest. I think I can win MVP again, in the right situation. The right situation — is that Green Bay or is that somewhere else? I’m not sure.

Could the right situation be in New York with the Jets and his old OC? When looking at what Gang Green is missing, the answer to that question might just be yes. But any potential trade would be complicated thanks to Rodgers’ current contract.

Rodgers is effectively scheduled to make just under $60 million in 2023 thanks to a $58.3 million option bonus that is fully guaranteed. The only option the Packers have is when they hand over the cash (but it has to get done before Week 1). And he is also due another $47 million bonus in 2024, also fully guaranteed. So his dead cap hit in 2023 would be just under $100 million.

Assuming Rodgers is not willing to drastically rework the deal, the Packers would almost assuredly want to designate Rodgers as a post-June 1 trade. That would allow them to spread the dead cap money out and avoid such a massive immediate hit. But that would also mean Rodgers could not show up to the Jets (or any other team) until June 1. This would hypothetically complicate the Jets’ offseason plans since they’d have to juggle cap space.

The bright side is Green Bay would likely pay a significant portion of Rodgers’ guaranteed money to grease the skids on a trade. And they couldn’t demand much in return because of this ridiculous contract (along with his age and recent performance).

So could this actually happen? I mean, sure, nothing appears to be off the table right now for New York. But it seems incredibly unlikely. Even if Robert Saleh and Co. think Hackett is the best option for them moving forward, it certainly wouldn’t “guarantee” Rodgers also becoming a Jet. That won’t stop some fans from dreaming about it, though.

James Kratch also contributed to this story. Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.