The Green Bay Packers traded quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Jets on Monday, ending a three-year energy battle between the staff and one of many recreation’s best passers.
The Jets agreed to commerce the No. 13 general choose on this yr’s draft, in addition to two later-round picks and a conditional second-round choose within the 2024 NFL draft, in change for Rodgers, the No. 15 choose and a later-round choose, after a comparatively prolonged negotiation course of. The commerce, which was confirmed by an individual with information of the phrases who was not licensed to talk publicly, was first reported by ESPN.
Since quarterback Joe Namath led the Jets to their solely Super Bowl in 1969, the franchise has struggled to search out one other long-term successor. The staff has used first-round picks to attempt to repair the place: Richard Todd in 1976, Ken O’Brien in 1983, Chad Pennington in 2000, Mark Sanchez in 2009, Sam Darnold in 2018, and Zach Wilson in 2021. But none have succeeded.
In the promising 2022 season, the Jets began 6-3 behind top-of-the-line defenses within the league and a gifted offense. But lackluster quarterback play was the staff’s most obtrusive gap, and it in the end saved it out of the playoffs for the tenth straight season. Now the Jets get Rodgers, who ought to place the Jets as championship contenders.
Rodgers, 39, spent 18 seasons in Green Bay, the place he gained the league’s Most Valuable Player Award 4 occasions, most lately in 2020 and 2021, however he had grown more and more dissatisfied with the franchise’s course and his lack of enter on personnel selections.
Rodgers grew to become the Packers’ starter in 2008, three years after the staff drafted him with the twenty fourth general select of California, Berkeley. He changed the Hall of Famer Brett Favre, who had delivered one title in 16 seasons in Green Bay earlier than the Packers traded him to the Jets.
Rodgers rapidly eased followers’ nostalgia for Favre. After a six-win season in his first yr as a starter, Rodgers made the Pro Bowl within the 2009 season after main the Packers to an 11-5 file. In his third season as a starter, Rodgers and Green Bay gained a Super Bowl title over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He adopted the championship with arguably one of the best season of his profession. Rodgers gained his first MVP, ending with essentially the most passing yards (4,643) of his profession, and the best quarterback ranking (122.5) in NFL historical past. Rodgers additionally holds the file for the second-highest quarterback ranking, 121.5, set within the 2020 season.
Favre grew to become the primary and solely quarterback to win MVP in three consecutive seasons from 1995 to 1997. Starting in 2003, the award was traded between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, two generational quarterbacks who gained six of 9 MVPs earlier than Rodgers crashed the celebration.
Rodgers grew to become a face of the NFL, famous as a lot for his endorsements with State Farm and Adidas, as for posting a few of the finest statistical performances of any quarterback of his period. But one other championship eluded him and the Packers, whereas Brady, Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Patrick Mahomes have all gained a minimum of two Super Bowls.
The Packers misplaced within the NFC championship recreation 5 occasions with Rodgers beneath middle, a playoff impediment that exposed the fissure between the quarterback and his staff starting in January 2020 after a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers in that spherical.
Ahead of that yr’s draft, Rodgers criticized the Packers for not utilizing first-round picks on large receivers who might pair alongside the then-starter Davante Adams. “We have not picked a ability participant within the first spherical in 15 years, so that may be type of cool,” Rodgers mentioned in an interview.
Green Bay staff executives that yr drafted quarterback Jordan Love with the twenty sixth general choose, a transfer that appeared to echo Rodgers’ choice in 2005 when a veteran Favre was the staff’s starter.
Rodgers responded with one in every of his finest seasons, main the league in completion share (70.7) and landing passes (48) — and one other loss within the convention championship recreation.
That low season, Rodgers stewed privately and in public appearances on podcasts, and even as he guest-hosted the TV recreation present “Jeopardy!”. The stress reached a head in April 2021, when ESPN reported that Rodgers had requested to be traded.
In July 2021, Rodgers skipped necessary minicamp however later attended coaching camp, addressing the rift in his first information convention. “I simply expressed my want to be extra concerned in conversations straight affecting my job,” he mentioned, explaining his want for extra of a job within the staff’s personnel selections.
But the season was outlined as a lot by Rodgers’s efficiency as the explanations for his absences. He examined optimistic for the coronavirus in November, months after he had instructed reporters that he was “immunized,” towards the illness. Rodgers that month decried the league’s vaccination mandate and “woke tradition” in two podcast interviews. The NFL later fined him $14,650 for violating protocols for unvaccinated gamers, which included not sporting a masks throughout his weekly information conferences and attending a Halloween celebration.
Despite the conflicts, Rodgers excelled once more within the 2021 season, throwing 37 landing passes to simply 4 interceptions, main the NFL in passer ranking and guiding the Packers to a 13-4 file throughout one other MVP marketing campaign. The staff misplaced within the divisional spherical of the playoffs, however that low season Rodgers signed a three-year contract extension with a reported $150 million in assured cash.
In March 2022, the Packers traded Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Packers’ offense struggled. Green Bay missed the playoffs, shedding its remaining recreation of the season to the Detroit Lions, a staff Rodgers has crushed 18 occasions in his profession.
After the sport, Rodgers instructed a Lions participant requesting his jersey that he “was going to maintain this one,” implying that it might need private significance. Throughout the low season, Rodgers had been brutally trustworthy about his relationship with the Packers, and gave imprecise and cryptic solutions about his future within the NFL.
As studies of Rodgers’ curiosity within the Jets hit social media within the weeks main as much as the commerce, Jets gamers overtly vied for his companies. Ahmad Gardner, the Jets cornerback often called Sauce, donned a Packers fan’s cheesehead hat after the staff beat Green Bay final season. He burned the hat alongside different Jets teammates on a video meant to recruit Rodgers.
The Jets’ marketing campaign for Rodgers got here simply two seasons after choosing Wilson with the No. 2 general choose, however Wilson hardly ever appeared the half. He was benched in November 2022, after the offense gained simply 2 yards within the second half of a 10-3 defeat to the New England Patriots.
Wilson is getting into the third yr of his rookie contract and now ought to function a backup to Rodgers.
In a league the place groups battle to search out high-quality beginning quarterbacks, the Jets appear to have lastly resolved a decades-long search. Green Bay, however, has had the posh of getting premier play on the sport’s most vital place for the previous 20 years. Now it’ll possible flip to Love, who has began only one recreation over three seasons and must comply with within the footsteps of two of one of the best quarterbacks in NFL historical past.