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Joe Douglas: Despite “tenuous points,” Jets weren’t walking away from Aaron Rodgers deal

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Joe Douglas joins Mike Florio to discuss the Jets schedule opening against the Bills and their Black Friday game, open up about trading for Aaron Rodgers from start to finish and more.

The Jets wanted Aaron Rodgers, and Aaron Rodgers wanted the Jets. Once that became clear, the Jets weren’t inclined to walk away from trade talks with the Packers.

In a Thursday interview with #PFTPM, Jets G.M. Joe Douglas addressed the question of whether, during the negotiations, the Jets ever came close to backing out.

“There were several points, I would say tenuous points, over the course from the Combine to now,” Douglas said. “I can say never a point where we felt like we were just gonna turn our back and walk away. I felt like the conversations that [Packers G.M.] Brian [Gutekunst] and I were having were positive. And of course there was some sticking points here and there, but ultimately we were able to get on the same page. But through the process, we had decisions that we had to make, in terms of which avenue we were going to pursue. And so ultimately we made the decision to pursue our number one choice and follow it through, see it through.”

Douglas then was asked whether he ever believed the Packers would keep Rodgers on the roster, paying him nearly $60 million to not play.

“That was certainly one scenario that they could have followed through on,” Douglas said. “Whether or not we thought it was real or not, our focus was always just, ‘Let’s get this player in the building.’ And we know there was things they could do, they knew there was some different avenues that we could possibly go down. But ultimately I think we were both working in good faith to get this deal done.”

One of the main sticking points was the trigger for the elevation of the 2024 second-round pick to a first-rounder. Douglas did not dispute the characterization from a recent ESPN.com report that Green Bay declined to tie the upgrade to team success, arguing that it’s “their problem” if Rodgers plays and the Jets don’t win.

“At the end of the day,” Douglas said, “Green Bay was very steadfast in that they wanted to make this about play-time only. And so I felt like, once we got into the weeds on what the play-time percentage could be, we got to a point where we felt comfortable pulling the trigger on the deal.”

The two sides settled at 65 percent playing time, which is a little more than 11 games. If Rodgers misses nearly six games, it won’t be easy for the Jets to make it to the playoffs.

Frankly, it won’t be easy if he plays all 17 games. But the Jets decided to roll the dice on one of the all-time greats. It’s hard to imagine the Jets not thriving if Rodgers plays all or most of the season.