Last year, when the Broncos hired former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to serve as the team’s new head coach, many believed that the Broncos next would land quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Many also regard it as not coincidental that, only hours after Rodgers announced a plan to stay in Green Bay, the Broncos struck a deal for quarterback Russell Wilson.
This year, with Hackett becoming the new offensive coordinator of the Jets, speculation already has commenced that, like his Green Bay predecessor, Rodgers will be Broadway bound.
But will he join the Jets? First, Rodgers has to decide that he wants to play. Second, he has to decide that he wants to not play for the Packers. Third, he has to choose the Jets as his destination. Fourth, the Jets and Packers need to work out an acceptable deal. Fifth, Rodgers and the Jets need to negotiate an acceptable contract.
After the first three, the last two should be fairly easy. The Packers, who will escape nearly $60 million in cash and cap obligations, surely won’t want a major haul for a player who may have only one year left.
Fifteen years ago, they got a fourth-round pick for Brett Favre, with the possibility that it would upgrade to a first-round selection. Once Rodgers decides that he wants to play, that he wants out of Green Bay, and that he wants to play for the Jets, the Packers won’t be in position to make unreasonable demands.
Ultimately, the best the Packers may get is two picks. One in 2023 and another in 2025, if he plays in 2024.
As to Rodgers’s contract, the reality is that he’s already owed $58.3 million, fully guaranteed, for 2023. Although he has said “there would have to be some adjustments” to his contract, that doesn’t mean he’d take a penny less than he’s owed. Nor should he. It means that payments would need to be configured in order to better manage the cap numbers for 2023, 2024, and beyond.
Finally, the third question on Rodgers’s list has an interesting wrinkle. Earlier this week, Rodgers suggested that media have vilified him under orders of Big Pharma -- Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson. The Jets are owned by Johnson & Johnson heir Woody Johnson.
Would working for Johnson’s team be a non-starter? Or would he simply ignore the connection? Regardless, he’s sure to be asked about it during an introductory press conference that likely wouldn’t have him uttering the word “excited” (or some variation of it) more than 40 times.