Is Aaron Rodgers a Good Fit for the New York Jets?
By Ha Kung Wong
Aaron Rodgers is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL today. The three-time MVP has led the Green Bay Packers to multiple playoff appearances and a Super Bowl victory during his 18 seasons with the team. However, Rodgers has been upset with the Packers as far back as 2019, after trashing former head coach Mike McCarthy and then proceeding to contradict new head coach Mike LaFleur in the offseason. And of course, that was just the beginning, with 4 more dramatic seasons before finally telling Pat McAfee on his March 15, 2023 podcast that he wanted to play for the New York Jets and he wasn’t the one holding anything up.
Of course, it took more than a month, but it finally happened with the Packers and Jets swapping first round picks, the Packers getting pick 13 overall and the Jets getting pick 15 overall, and the Jets getting Rodgers and a 5th round pick in exchange for giving up a 2nd round pick and a 6th round pick in 2023 and a conditional 2nd round pick in 2024 that becomes a 1st if Rodgers take 65% of the snaps this season. Now that this is all done though, the big question is Rodgers a good fit for the Jets?
Firstly, it’s important to understand the current state of the New York Jets. The team has been struggling in recent years, finishing with losing records 7 seasons in a row. They’ve had issues at quarterback, with Sam Darnold failing to live up to expectations and ultimately being traded to the Carolina Panthers. The Jets selected Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and that also went south, with Mike White (now with the Miami Dolphins) arguably being the best quarterback they’ve had in recent history.
In 2022, the Jets passing offense was one of the worst, having the lowest passer rating (75.0), the lowest completion percentage (56.9%) and the 2nd least passing TDs (15) in the league. The NFL average completion percentage among starters is around 61%, so the Jets certainly didn’t have any NFL average starters in their QB room.
In 2022, Rodgers had a pass rating of 91.1, a completion percentage of 64.6% and 26 passing TDs, significantly better than all the Jets starters combined. It’s pretty clear that Rodgers is an instant upgrade that should be able to thrive with reigning offensive rookie of the year Garrett Wilson along with newly acquired Mecole Hardman and, perhaps most importantly, one of his favorite targets from Green Bay, Allen Lazard. And the Jets actually had no issues with defense last season, allowing the 4th least points (18.6) and 5th least yards (5,288) to opposing teams, so the Jets look primed, theoretically, to take the loaded AFC East, even with the Buffalo Bills at the top.
On the other hand, Rodgers is 39 years old and likely only has a few years left in his career. While Rodgers would certainly improve the Jets’ chances of winning in the short term, it’s not clear if he would be the right choice for the team’s long-term future. Additionally, Rodgers had issues with the Packers and has been vocal about his frustrations with the organization. It’s not clear if he would be able to coexist with a new coaching staff and front office in New York, particularly with Jets head coach Robert Saleh. Perhaps most important is how much Rodgers will commit in the off-season to the Jets, including taking time to build chemistry his receivers not named Allen Lazard.
While Aaron Rodgers is undoubtedly one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, it’s unclear he’ll be the right fit for the New York Jets. The Jets are still in a rebuild and are looking to build a team for the future. Rodgers, on the other hand, is approaching the end of his career and may not be the long-term solution at quarterback. Additionally, his issues with the Packers and his strong personality may not be the best fit for a new coaching staff and front office. That being said, all the other pieces are there, and if anyone can take the Jets to a division championship and beyond, it’s Aaron Rodgers.