FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Aaron Rodgers walked into the Jets’ facility on Wednesday for his introductory information convention to applause from workers after they watched a montage of his highlights from his 18-year tenure with the Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers, the quarterback for whom the Jets traded this week after a prolonged negotiation course of, had landed in New Jersey the evening earlier than. On Wednesday morning, he attended conferences with Jets officers whereas barefoot, Coach Robert Saleh stated. Rodgers additionally walked previous a case holding the group’s solely Super Bowl trophy, which the Jets gained within the 1968 season, and stated he seen it was “getting lonely.”
Rodgers appeared relaxed and at dwelling throughout his first official day as a Jet, bringing optimism that one of many best quarterbacks of the trendy period can restore success to a franchise within the NFL’s largest market. The Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, proudly owning the longest postseason drought in main North American males’s skilled sports activities, however the group and Rodgers hope that his arrival — even towards the tip of his profession — will finish that streak.
“I’m an previous man, so I need to be a part of a group that may win all of it, and I imagine that this can be a place the place we are able to get that accomplished,” stated the 39-year-old Rodgers.
The Jets and Packers formally agreed to commerce phrases on Wednesday after information of the deal broke on Monday. The Jets despatched the No. 13 general decide on this yr’s draft, in addition to two later-round picks and a conditional second-round decide within the 2024 NFL draft, in alternate for Rodgers, the No. 15 decide and a later-round decide on this yr’s draft. The first spherical begins Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
Rodgers gained a Super Bowl, appeared in 4 different NFC championship video games and gained the Most Valuable Player Award 4 instances whereas with the Packers. But he grew disgruntled with the franchise over the previous two seasons due to a perceived lack of enter over personnel selections, amongst different grievances. Rodgers alluded to his strained relationship with the Packers on Wednesday when he blamed poor cellphone reception at his dwelling as a cause he had not communicated with Green Bay officers this low season.
After the Packers completed 8-9 final season and missed the playoffs, Rodgers contemplated retiring. A cadre of Jets executives in March — together with Saleh, the group proprietor Woody Johnson and General Manager Joe Douglas — visited Rodgers in Malibu, Calif., and that dialog helped sway Rodgers to hitch the Jets, he stated.
“At that time, I felt like that is the place I used to be speculated to be,” Rodgers stated. “I actually try to hearken to the indicators and synchronicities that the universe places in our face every single day, and this was mainly the path that every little thing was pointing.”
Later in March, Rodgers appeared on former NFL punter Pat McAfee’s present and stated he meant to play for the Jets. In the weeks after, Douglas and Brian Gutekunst, the Packers’ basic supervisor, publicly stated they wished to finalize a deal, however negotiations stretched over six weeks because the groups’ entrance places of work stalemated over compensation. Rodgers, although, stated he was assured the commerce would get accomplished.
“I believed it was going to occur the complete time, it was only a matter of, I feel, ready one another out,” Rodgers stated. He added: “I imagine there was some main synchronization to make this occur, however I’m excited in regards to the alternative right here..”
Rodgers performed below Nathaniel Hackett, who was employed because the Jets’ offensive coordinator in January, for 3 seasons in Green Bay, and he stated their sturdy bond was one other promoting level for becoming a member of the Jets.
The Jets’ roster additionally consists of final season’s offensive rookie of the yr, receiver Garrett Wilson, and the defensive rookie of the yr, cornerback Sauce Gardner — two gamers who had overtly recruited Rodgers. Gardner and different gamers modified their social media profile footage to a photograph of Rodgers in school, and Gardner additionally videotaped himself burning a Packers cheesehead hat in Rodgers’ honor.
The Jets’ 2022 season began promisingly at 6-3, behind a stout operating sport and one of many league’s finest defenses. But inefficient play from quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 general decide within the 2021 NFL draft, brought on Saleh to bench him with seven video games left within the season. With that instability below heart and vital accidents, most notably to rookie operating again Breece Hall, the Jets completed 7-10 and missed the playoffs.
Rodgers stated he hopes to be a mentor to Zach Wilson, with whom he had a earlier friendship, and to be a frontrunner within the locker room. Saleh stated Rodgers needs to be a stabilizing presence, and that his selection of the Jets was validation that the franchise is efficiently rebuilding itself.
“Obviously you may argue that our arrow’s pointing up,” Saleh stated.
Rodgers stated he envisioned being with the Jets previous this season, however stated he didn’t need to concentrate on the longer term. His agent, David Dunn, attended the information convention, and Rodgers stated he and the Jets would restructure his contract. But for nevertheless lengthy Rodgers stays a Jet, Johnson stated he could be content material.
“With no matter he needs to do, we’re good,” Johnson stated. “We’re so glad he is right here. This is transformative.”