The trade-to-be that was discussed for months finally came to fruition Monday. Three days ahead of the NFL Draft, 40 days after Aaron Rodgers announced his desire to play for the Jets, the star quarterback is headed to Florham Park.
The Jets, according to ESPN, gave up a 2023 first-rounder (No. 13), second-rounder (42), and sixth-rounder (207), plus a conditional 2024 second-rounder that will become a first-rounder if Rodgers plays 65% of the team’s snaps. And in return, the Jets received Green Bay’s 2023 first-round (15) and fifth-round (170) picks, and their best quarterback since the Joe Namath years. One who could bring them their first Super Bowl title in over half a century.
So did general manager Joe Douglas succeed with the biggest move of his career? Well, the positives surely outweigh the negatives right now. But only one possible outcome will determine whether this works.
The upside. If you take into account the pick swap and the fact Rodgers will certainly be playing 65% of the snaps barring injury, the Jets essentially gave up a 2024 first-rounder and 2023 second- and sixth-rounders for Rodgers and a 2023 fifth-rounder.
So first- and second-round picks for Rodgers, while moving up from the sixth round to the fifth round this year.
It’s a good trade. Sure it’s multiple high-round picks for an expensive 39-year-old quarterback who’s one of the more eccentric personalities in league history. But it was always going to be that way.
Regardless of Rodgers’ age, he was — and is — the Jets’ final hope for a successful 2023 season and possible Super Bowl run. Multiple picks were always going to be on the table, and given the aforementioned pick swap and late-round movement, the Jets really only gave up two selections for the keys to a title.
The downside. Two clear negatives here: the expenses and the pressure.
Rodgers’ current contract guarantees him nearly $60 million next season but, according to NFL Network, he’ll sign a revised contract with the Packers in the coming days. So it’s not yet clear how much the Jets owe Rodgers, but he’ll still be an expensive asset. He’s a star quarterback who’s supposed to bring them a Lombardi Trophy for crying out loud.
Rodgers will also be 40 years old in December and admitted he was 90% retired when entering his infamous darkness retreat in February. So this needs to work.
The future Hall of Fame passer could call it quits after one season with the Jets. Obviously, everything is always up in the air with Rodgers. But it’s definitely possible this is his final year. So the Jets must capitalize on this rare opportunity.
But that brings us to our final consensus…
Title or bust. Regardless of how you currently view the trade, only one occurrence will decide its success: the Jets winning a Super Bowl.
That’s the end game here. Rodgers isn’t coming to MetLife just to break the 12-year playoff drought. He’s not coming to develop Zach Wilson. He’s coming to win a title. And both he and the Jets know it.
The jobs of Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are on the line. And Rodgers doesn’t want to waste what could be his farewell season.
If the Jets are parading through the Big Apple next February, we’ll know if the trade worked.
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