Aaron Rodgers is all but likely done for the year with an Achilles tear after only four plays in a Jets uniform. It’s a devastating reality that’s just the latest chapter of decades-long Jets purgatory.
The relieving news, however, is it doesn’t seem like he’ll retire. That would be a true disaster for a team that had Super Bowl aspirations with the future Hall of Famer. Rodgers was on Friday’s Pat McAfee Show and spoke as if he was working to return in 2024. He even quoted Kevin Garnett’s famous “anything is possible” quote when asked if he could return at some point this year (it’s tough to believe he actually will).
So after a season of Zach Wilson leading this talented roster, Rodgers is expected to be back next year to maximize whatever’s left of the Jets’ championship window.
But here’s a hypothetical: what if Wilson plays great, and looks a lot better than he did during his troublesome first two seasons? What if he actually jells with a talented supporting cast, which includes one of the best young receivers and best young running backs in the game?
If that happens to be the case, the Jets may have a legitimate decision to make involving Wilson and the game’s most important position.
The reason we think the Jets are possibly a playoff team, and no longer a surefire Super Bowl contender, is because of the quarterback position. We think the defense, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and running backs Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook are all great, but Zach Wilson could hold the team back.
That’s because we’re just assuming he’ll struggle based on his results from 2021-22. But if he actually improves and the Jets make a deep playoff run, things could get interesting.
Because then you would have a developed, mobile quarterback entering the second year of a Nathaniel Hackett offense who has grown with his teammates after another full season of reps. He would still be on a rookie contract for another 1-2 years with the fifth-year option decision due next offseason.
Rodgers is the more talented option for 2024. The much more talented option. And he’ll give you the best chance to win a title. But are you going to start him for what could only be a year while Wilson heads back to the bench, even after a solid 2023 campaign? Are you going to trade Wilson and have no contingency plan for when Rodgers eventually exits?
It just seems like it would make total sense to bring Wilson back in some capacity if he does indeed impress. He still needs to…you know…actually step up for this hypothetical scenario to take shape. He didn’t play great in the opening win over the Bills. And Rodgers’ massive contract (with $17.2 million and $51.5 million cap hits over the next two years) will obviously play a significant role.
However, a positive trajectory this season for Zach could make things interesting in Florham Park.