Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, the Jets‘ offseason quarterback search is now in full swing. And the top two targets have been identified: Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr.

The Jets need to land either of the two veterans to move in the right direction after another disappointing season. But which direction should be the priority?

Aaron Rodgers. The future Hall of Fame quarterback is certainly the most talented option for the Jets. Despite the Packers missing the postseason this past year, Rodgers just won back-to-back MVPs in 2020-21 and is still capable of playing at a very high level in his late 30s. There’s a huge difference in age (16 years) between Zach Wilson and Rodgers, but the latter would certainly be a major step up at the game’s most important position.

Rodgers would elevate the Jets’ young and talented offensive roster and could be their best shot at becoming legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The Jets know this, too, and have already reached out to Green Bay to inquire about Rodgers, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

The issue, however, is the price. While general manager Joe Douglas could have leverage in any trade talks due to the Packers’ potential desire to pivot to backup quarterback Jordan Love, Rodgers will still cost at least two first-round picks. Plus a great deal of cap space — the veteran passer’s contract carries cap hits of $31.6 million and $40.7 million over the next two years.

Douglas and company will need to shell out plenty of resources to land Rodgers’ services. But when you look at the state of the roster and consider how much an improvement at quarterback could do for the organization, a trade very much still seems worth it.

Derek Carr. The longtime Raiders quarterback isn’t as talented of an option as Rodgers. But he’d certainly be cheaper. The Raiders are expected to release Carr this week and he’ll hit free agency, instead of being part of a blockbuster trade.

The Jets wouldn’t have to give up any draft capital nor would they need to break the bank for Carr, who figures to earn a starting quarterback-type salary but not one as luxurious as Rodgers’.

Bringing in Carr could now make even more sense since the Jets hired Todd Downing as their new passing game coordinator. Downing was with Carr from 2015-17 when he was the Raiders’ quarterbacks coach for two seasons before taking on the offensive coordinator duties.

While Carr doesn’t make the Jets a Super Bowl team, he could make them a playoff team. And that’s a start with this current roster. The Jets haven’t reached the postseason since the 2010 season and need some sign they’re headed in the right direction as a team. Carr could assist in that regard and be more of a long-term option than Rodgers if need be. Carr will be 32 years old entering next season.

The verdict. One option would put the Jets in a potential Super Bowl window but would be incredibly expensive. The other option wouldn’t be nearly as expensive and could still put the team in the right direction even without a Super Bowl over the next 2-3 seasons.

Having said that, and even with the latest hire of Downing, the Jets need to get Rodgers.

The narrative is the same: Douglas has put the roster in a great position to win and the quarterback position is what’s preventing the team from taking that next step.

The Jets haven’t made the postseason in over a decade, the fanbase is incredibly impatient, and jobs are on the line. Including those of Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh. The front office needs to put its foot down and realize patience is no longer a virtue — the picks need to be dealt and the money needs to be spent to get Rodgers to come to Florham Park. It’s the only way for the Jets to capitalize on any title chances they may have.

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