Aaron Rodgers
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Aaron Rodgers-Jets rumors are swirling.

The Jets need an upgrade at quarterback amid Zach Wilson’s drastic development, and the team also hired Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator on Thursday. Hackett was Rodgers’ offensive coordinator in Green Bay from 2019-21 before lasting 15 games as Broncos head coach this past season.

The future Hall of Famer and the quarterback-needy franchise could be a great match. And one of the Jets’ top players is giving Rodgers his shine.

“He’s definitely great. He’s definitely elite,” star cornerback Sauce Gardner said Thursday on ESPN Radio’s “Fitz & Harry” program. “He’s been doing it [since] damn near before I was born. I can’t discredit nothing that he do. I’ve seen him do so many good things. He’s a great quarterback for sure.”

When asked whether he would want Rodgers as his quarterback, Gardner responded, “I wouldn’t mind that. I want what’s best for the offense. But at the same time, I just gotta focus on my job and what we got going on on the defensive side.”

Gardner handled it well. He simply praised Rodgers without ousting Wilson or Mike White or whoever.

But you can only imagine others within the organization probably feel the same way about Rodgers as Sauce does. Which could make things interesting down the stretch.

If the Jets truly want Rodgers, whether that’s this week, next week, next month, or at any point before the 2023 season, they should make the move. And there’s a chance owner Woody Johnson will put his foot down for the move to occur.

Because there are various jobs on the line. After a disappointing 7-10 campaign that ended with a six-game losing streak, Jets general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are on the hot seat. There’s no way this team can try the Wilson experiment for a third straight year or try to sell White as a franchise quarterback after 2-3 good games.

In a make-or-break year, with everything on the line, the Jets must swing for the fences. It’s not the time to rebuild. It’s not the time to go through the whole draft-and-develop process the Jets have failed at various times. This is going to be year five of Douglas and year three of Saleh — the first playoff appearance since 2010 is a must. And in order for the Jets to accomplish, they need to upgrade the roster’s most important position.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.