On Tuesday, the Jets brass flew out to California to meet with Aaron Rodgers after receiving permission from the Packers. Jets owner Woody Johnson, general manager Joe Douglas, coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett traveled with the hopes of acquiring the former four-time MVP.
Now it appears Gang Green is closer to landing the 39-year-old quarterback.
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the Jets are “optimistic” that they will land Rodgers in a trade.
Rodgers is scheduled to male $59.5 million guaranteed if he plays in 2023, as that is part of the three-year, $150 million contract extension he signed last year. It carries a salary-cap charge of $31.6 million next season.
While the Packers and Jets will continue to engage in trade compensation conversations, they could also restructure Rodgers’ contract to allow for an easier cap hit. But Rodgers’ salary cap hit is only $15.8 million in 2023 and 32.5 million in 2024.
Currently, the Jets are $1.7 million over the salary cap. All 32 NFL teams must be under the cap by the start of each new league year, which starts on March 15.
The four-time MVP is coming off one of his worst seasons last season as he passed for 3,695 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also threw 12 interceptions, which was the most since 2010.
Also, Rodgers did not record a single 300-yard passing game as he dealt with a broken thumb and injuries to his ribs and a knee during the season as the Packers missed the playoffs and had their first losing record (8-9) since 2018.
Since the end of the season, the 39-year-old has been contemplating his future as he could retire, remain with the Packers or ask for a trade to another team. He went on a darkness retreat in southern Oregon to find clarity on his future, but Rodgers remains undecided as he said on the Aubrey Marcus Podcast that he would make a decision about his future soon.
If Rodgers is traded to the Jets, he would instantly make them a contender in the AFC East. Last season, the Jets defense finished fourth in yards (311.1) and points allowed (18.6).
But the Jets offense was anything but spectacular in 2022, as they started three different quarterbacks throughout the year. Former first-round pick Zach Wilson was benched multiple times as he passed for 1,688 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 54.5% of his passes in nine games. Joe Flacco and Mike White also started multiple games for the Jets, but they’re both unrestricted free agents.
After the Jets finished 25th in total offense (318.2) and 29th in points scored (17.4) and did not score a single touchdown in their last three games of the year, they’re looking for a veteran quarterback this offseason. Gang Green spoke with Derek Carr about potentially signing with the team, but Rodgers was always its No. 1 option. After waiting for about a month, Carr signed a four-year, $150 million contract with the Saints on Monday.