The Jets have been in the headlines for much of this offseason. Because of a guy who’s not even on the team…yet.
Let’s discuss the Aaron Rodgers situation and some issues the organization still needs to resolve this offseason.
New quarterback in Florham Park? I’m sure you heard: Aaron Rodgers wants to come to the Jets.
The star quarterback appeared on the Pat McAfee Show last week, a program that nearly a half-million people watched to get an update from the longtime Packer following his “darkness retreat.” Rodgers implied his relationship with the Packers has been harmed due to the organization’s apparent desire to move on from him. The future Hall of Famer says he intends to play for the Jets. He’s holding out hope a trade gets done.
So, what could that trade deal entail?
The Jets wouldn’t be giving up two or three first-round picks. This isn’t the Browns with Deshaun Watson or the Broncos with Russell Wilson. Rodgers is 39 years old with a highly expensive contract that pays him nearly $60 million in guaranteed money next season.
The Packers understand the Jets are in desperation mode, with a playoff roster but a glaring void at quarterback. New York is already reaching for the stars after waiting this long for Rodgers, so it’s reasonable to believe the team is willing to give up a first for the star quarterback.
On top of that, general manager Joe Douglas could be sending the Packers two second-rounders. Or a second- and third-rounder. Regardless, expect it to be around three picks shipped to Lambeau for a new starting signal-caller.
Wide receiver changes. The Jets’ starting receiver core should look a bit different in 2023, thanks to Douglas’ recent reshuffling. After signing Allen Lazard to a four-year deal last week, the general manager traded 2021 second-rounder Elijah Moore to the Browns. He then proceeded to sign Mecole Hardman to a one-year contract to provide the group with even more speed.
So now the starting three are set to be Lazard, Hardman, and 2022 Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson. Which differs from last year’s starting group of Wilson, Moore, and Corey Davis.
Yes, Douglas whiffed on Moore, who didn’t live up to expectations and actually requested a trade last season. Yes, he overpaid for Davis, who’s played only 22 games and caught 66 passes in two years after signing a three-year, $37 million deal. But with the Rodgers trade looming, and the Jets desperate to win, Douglas needed to right the wrongs as quickly and efficiently as possible.
And there could be a third newcomer as well. Perhaps someone who would start over Hardman.
Connor Hughes of SNY reports the Jets’ interest in Odell Beckham Jr. is “very real,” and that Beckham and Rodgers have discussed teaming up in the Big Apple.
Sources: #Jets interest in Odell Beckham Jr. described to me as “very real.”
He and Aaron Rodgers are close and have discussed playing together in New York. Basically, Rodgers wants OBJ.
With Elijah Moore gone .. opening is there.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) March 22, 2023
Beckham is still capable of starting but is coming off an ACL tear suffered in Super Bowl 56. He hasn’t played a single down of football since.
If the Jets can conjure up the funds to somehow take on Rodgers’ contract while also paying Odell, they should absolutely make this happen. Again, the team is in “win now” mode. Anything is on the table.
It’s unclear the contract Beckham would get from any team. But if OBJ really wants to return to MetLife Stadium and attempt to win a title with Rodgers, he might accept a deal that’s only around $7-8 million, give or take.
Offensive line issues.
The Jets are set at the two guard spots, with Laken Tomlinson on the left and Alijah Vera-Tucker opposite of him. Other than that, the offensive line has various question marks.
Mekhi Becton looks great, per a picture he recently posted on Twitter. But can the Jets trust him to remain healthy through an entire season? Is Duane Brown’s age (38 in August) going to be too much of a factor? Is second-year tackle Max Mitchell ready for a starting role? How will the Jets replace free-agent center Connor McGovern?
If the team is going to fix the tackle issue internally, its best bet will be to start Brown on the left side. With Mitchell, who still must develop, serving as the primary reserve swing tackle.
But if not, Douglas must fix the issue in the first round. That’s, if he doesn’t trade the team’s No. 13 overall draft pick for Rodgers. Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Oklahoma’s Anton Harrison are two of the top tackles in the draft. One, or both, could be available when the Jets are slated to pick.
As for the center position, the Jets did just sign Wes Schweitzer in free agency. He’s mainly been a guard through his six-year career but could certainly compete for the job in training camp and the preseason.
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