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Plans for after Jets get or don’t get Aaron Rodgers

What happens?

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Will the Jets get Aaron Rodgers?

Yeah I know it doesn’t seem possible for this trade to fall through now, but there’s nothing written in stone. If Rodgers doesn’t come to the Jets I fear there may be a meltdown in the fanbase mainly because somehow they believed that Rodgers was a guarantee of a Super Bowl win.

Consider this. Even though he has had a fairly good team the last 6 years, he has only made the Playoffs 3 times with and gone to no Super Bowls. The Packers had losing records in 3 years. Rodgers didn’t deliver the goods; it’s as simple as that.

Tom Brady seldom had a stacked squad, but you have seen what he did. It’s a weird comparison, but Brady never had the caliber of receivers Rodgers had through the years. I mean Davante Adams was a top 3 receiver for years, and they always had others. Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, and Jamaal Williams had over 130 receptions one year and over 1,800 yards rushing.

But let me digress.

The situation is that Aaron Rodgers has around $59.5 million guaranteed by the Green Bay Packers (not the Jets) as we sit here. If the Jets walk away then what does Green Bay do? Aaron Rodgers stated in his interview that Green Bay said they were moving on from him, and he had no hard feelings about that. That last part is probably a lie. Yeah he loves the city and the people of Green Bay, but he has zero love for Brian Gutekunst and said so. He felt Gutekunst had treated some of his teammates very poorly so there is no love lost there.

The Green Bay Packers want to find out what they have in QB Jordan Love, a player they foolishly selected in the 1st round of the 2020 draft (#26 overall from Utah State) instead of getting WR Tee Higgins or WR Michael Pittman to help Rodgers feel appreciated and help the team and him out. Love was never going to help the Packers in 2020.

If the Packers just cut Rodgers before June 1 they will incur a $99.8 million dead cap hit in 2023 that they can’t afford so they aren’t doing that. If they cut him after June 1 it isn’t much better with a $75 million dead cap hit. If the Packers trade Rodgers before June 1 they have a $40 million dead cap hit. If they trade Rodgers after June 1st then the dead cap hit is $15,833,570 million and the cap savings for them this year would be nearly the same at $15,790,000. So it behooves the Packers to wait. (All these numbers are taken from Over the Cap).

The problem is that if the Packers wait then they don’t get any 2023 Draft picks from the Jets. 2024 draft picks are less desirable because you have to wait a year. In Draft terms it is often figured as a 2023 2nd round pick is equal to a 2024 1st round pick. So if the Packers want to wait until next year for their pick and believe that Aaron Rodgers is worth at least a 2nd round pick this year then they will be asking for a 2024 1st round pick.

Now I’m sure Joe Douglas understands this, but he is probably thinking that Green Bay set up this contract for Rodgers. Why would the Jets need to bail out the Packers over a foolish move they made? Plus Green Bay wants more than a single pick. That’s why the negotiations have probably been hard.

Really it comes down to the Packers and their idiotic belief system. I mean Green Bay doesn’t want Aaron Rodgers anymore; it’s simple as that. Problem is that they gave Rodgers a ridiculous contract extension in 2022 with the forlorn hope of winning a Super Bowl that never materialized. That was their mistake. Now they are trying to save face to the their fans and the media by getting prime picks for a franchise icon even though they wish he was gone. The worst case scenario for Green Bay is that no trade is made, and Rodgers shows up for camp leaving the Packers on the hook for a huge contract.

If the Packers could get rid of Rodgers for a 3rd round pick (being rid of that contract) they would do it in a heartbeat if the fans and media were okay with that. But in reality they would be crucified by both if they let Rodgers go for that. It’s the crux of the problem.

As of now the ball is in Green Bay’s court. Time is ticking. let’s see what happens.

Okay we can’t wait for that; here are a couple of scenarios.

The Jets get Aaron Rodgers. What now?

I will not debate the value of Aaron Rodgers. He is a far better player at quarterback than the Jets have now or since Joe Namath. He is worth a 2nd round pick in 2023 and future considerations depending on how long he stays. I still don’t think Joe Douglas would give up a 2024 1st round pick (rumored to be what the Packers want), but he may if it’s the only pick plus Green Bay gives the Jets something back if Rodgers retires in less than 3 years. Also Joe will want some cash (as in salary cap space) as well.

If the cost of Aaron Rodgers is minimal in Draft value, and the Packers will absorb some of the future cap money (something few are talking about) in this contract it should be a done deal. Rodgers is guaranteed over $100 million so the Packers will have to be on board for a good portion of it. As long as everything works out (That is still a lot to be considered.) Rodgers should be a Jet in the near future.

What comes next?

Rodgers will be the Jets’ hope but everyone knows he won’t be here long.

The Jets already have a strategy for this; hopefully.

It should be to build the offense (with the line as the utmost importance). The Jets will certainly use the Draft to do this but also may use future picks to trade for some current NFL players. This is a seriously dangerous plan but something you have to do because Rodgers is like a lit candle that has burned far down. Eventually (and I mean soon) he will no longer be here so you need to put all your eggs in one basket and hope for the best. When you take this step you have to go all the way. If you don’t then why bring Rodgers in to begin with?

What if Rodgers wants to stay in New York or more than two years?

Hey he might like the big city after being in the league’s smallest market for a long time. Remember he is a California guy, but the vibe of New York may spark some emotion from Rodgers. He might enjoy the energy of a city that never sleeps next to Green Bay where they roll up the streets at 9 pm. There is nothing wrong Green Bay, but it’s not New York. Yeah Rodgers staying in New York with the Jets would be a good thing.

Aaron Rodgers may come off as an arrogant, rich, entitled football player who cares little about money, but he is still playing. He has numerous endorsements that pay him millions each year. He has made over $100 million in his lifetime.

He must have a desire to be great although he hides behind an aloof/unsociable persona that shields him from the media and the public. Things stagnated in Green Bay. If he believes the Jets can be winners he may stay around for a few years.

What can the Jets do if Rodgers doesn’t come to New York?

The first thing Jets would need is a new plan which includes finding a Teddy Bridgewater type bridge to the future and hope that Zach Wilson develops. It’s not a great plan.

I’m sure Zach Wilson (who is known as a hard worker) is killing himself to become a better player. Zach’s problem was never talent. He made plays on the field that few QBs could make. His problem is maturity. You don’t throw a perfect pass between two defenders for a big play then follow it up with a bonehead off balance heave into coverage.

The Jets can’t just hope Wilson somehow matures into a savior.

The Jets sadly have poor cap space because of poor planning. They have to sign an All Pro in Quinnen Williams who is going to want $20+ million a year. He is and the center of the defense.

Yet I have a very stern rule about signing a player after a career year. It rarely works out for the team. Remember when I said not to overpay Braxton Berrios after a career year? He wasn’t even a starter, but everyone wanted him signed. He got paid last year, and this year the Jets had to swallow $3,232,500 in dead money. He’s now on the Dolphins roster less than a year later. This is just one example of many. NEVER sign a player after a career year.

Quinnen has talent. I know that is true, but he was only able to put it together because he played every game in a season for the first time. He still had the same number of tackles he had in the last two previous years (2022-55, 2021-53, 2020-55). He just penetrated more with 12 of his career 27.5 sacks in 2022 and 28 of his career total 60 QB hits in 2022.

Is Quinnen an ascending player? He may be a player on the rise, but he may have just had a good year. How much better is he going to get? The problem is he was drafted high (with good reason), but injuries have to followed him. He was fully healthy for the first time in 2022. Now Quinnen wants a big contract.

First of all I don’t think it is wise to spend that kind of money on a guy who had one great year. If he had Aaron Donald type production over time then sure he is worth it. Yet Quinnen hasn’t shown that ability yet. Fans want to keep him around because he finally lived up the the draft position he was selected at. Yet Quinnen is still under contract. He has zero leverage. He is set to make over $9.5 million this year which is more money than most people make in a lifetime. I’m not saying that Quinnen doesn’t deserve all he can get, but I would rather someone else pay that freight.

What is the big problem?

The Jets have few assets so to find a solution takes somebody who thinks like a general manager, not a guy who trying to prove he made the right moves.

Joe Douglas has made some bad moves.

A smart general manager in this position would use Quinnen as an asset to build his team. There would be a host of teams who would love to have an All Pro defensive tackle playing for them and they would pay for it. AND that’s exactly what you take advantage of.

Here’s a possible solution..

The Jets trade Quinnen Williams (who is still under contract) to the rebuilding Texans for a first (#12) and a third (#65) in the 2023 draft with a 4th round pick in 2024 going to Houston if Williams doesn’t make the Pro-Bowl in 2023 and a 6th round pick 2024 if he does.

The Jets would now have picks #12 and #13 in the 2023 draft along with their other picks.

On draft day the Jets select Broderick Jones (OT Georgia) with pick #12.

With OT/OG Peter Skoronski already gone, the only first round left tackle still available is Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State. Draft grades differ with teams, but Johnson is a definite talent who teams feel is ready to start right away.

There would be a lot of teams ready to trade up for various reasons. First this is a shallow Draft in terms of great talent. There are some players who will out perform their grades, but the elite talent is missing. The next level talent is also in short supply so teams will look to trade up for that one guy who could help a team on the brink of a championship.

hThe Kansas City Chiefs just lost their left tackle Orlando Brown to free agency but signed Jawaan Taylor from the Jaguars in free agency for $80 million. The cap hit in 2024 is only just under $6 million. Taylor is a right tackle, but they will supposedly move him to the left side. That leaves Lucas Niang to handle the right side of an offense with a billion $ QB. Niang has been injured more than he has played.

The Chiefs may feel that Paris Johnson (who would still be available) could play on the left side. They could then keeps Jawaan Taylor on the right side where he is most comfortable. The Chiefs trade picks # 31 plus #63 plus a 2024 1st round pick for pick #13 in the 2023 Draft and select Paris Johnson. Johnson would give the Chiefs a cheap quality tackle at a far reduced price for 5 years.

The Jets would still have two 1st round pick plus 3 2nd round picks to build their team. Of course additional trades could be made. This gives the Jets options; lots of options. They would need to replace Williams but a mix of a draft choice and a smart free agent signing or trades could mitigate the loss. A trade for a Grady Jarrett (who fits perfectly in the Jets scheme) from a rebuilding Falcons team would be less than a second round pick or a second with Jarrett plus a pick coming back.

The most important option is the Jets would have two first round picks in 2024 which has two QB prospects (Caleb Williams and Drake Maye) that I consider to be better prospects than any in the 2023 Draft. If the Jets needed to they could add the 2025 1st round pick to trade up to get a QB if needed in 2024. Three first round picks buys you a lot of Draft capital. So if Wilson doesn’t mature enough, the Jets could move up to make their next QB selection. I know people are going to say don’t draft a quarterback because the Jets are horrible at developing them, but if you don’t try to find a franchise type then you will never have one. The Quinnen Williams trade also saves the Jets over $9.5 million with zero dead money so if they wanted to bring in a DT salary that is mid range they could.

The Chiefs are not the only team who may want to trade up this year. Like I said, this Draft is short on high level prospects. In fact where the Jets sit is just out of range of the best prospects except if the 3-4 QBs get overdrafted and push the top talents to the Jets.

Too many GMs on the hot seat make foolish moves that doom their career and their teams’ future. Joe Douglas needs to be one of the GMs who understands this. He needs to makes the right moves and take advantage of desperate GMs. This is how you survive.

Let’s hope Joe Douglas has a solution whether we get Aaron Rodgers or not.

Those are my thoughts..

What do you think?