After 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers is leaving for New York, as a trade to the Jets was finalized on Monday afternoon.
On March 15, 2023, 4x NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers made a long-awaited first appearance of the offseason on 'The Pat McAfee Show,' on which he stated his intent to play for the New York Jets in the 2023/24 NFL season.
40 days later, the trade is complete.
|Jets get||Packers get|
|Aaron Rodgers, 2023 1st Round Pick (#15), 2023 5th Round Pick (#170)||2023 1st Round Pick (#13), 2023 2nd Round Pick (#42), 2023 6th Round Pick (#207), 2024 conditional|
Rodgers’ announcement that he intended to play for the Jets in 2023/24 sent shock waves throughout the sports world.
Few correctly anticipated the exact decision the 18-year pro would make, with retirement, going to another team, or staying with the Packers all very real possibilities.
In typical Rodgers fashion, the delivery of the news was cut and dried.
"I made it clear my intention was to play and to play for the New York Jets,” Rodgers said on his ‘Pat McAfee Show’ appearance in March. “I haven't been holding anything up.”
It’s important to note that in the days prior to Rodgers’ appearance on ‘PMS,’ the star QB went on a four-day ‘darkness retreat,’ in which he sat in solidarity with no contact to the outside world for therapeutic and spiritual benefits. The 38-year-old stated that he went into the retreat ‘90% sure’ he would retire.
It wasn’t until after Rodgers emerged and gained access to his phone that the changed his mind.
During his time off the grid, the Packers changed their stance on wanting their franchise QB to finish his career in Green Bay, something Rodgers took serious offense to. As a result, he changed his stance, and now he’s a New York Jet.
Rodgers will be teaming up with some old friends in the Big Apple.
New Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett knows the 4x MVP very well, as he helped him to two of those MVP seasons in 2019 and 2020 as the OC of the Packers.
Hackett spent last season as head coach of the Denver Broncos, from whom he was fired after starting with a 4-11 record and leading one of the league’s worst offenses.
Rodgers will also team up with ex-Packers teammate Allen Lazard, who signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Jets the day before Rodgers appeared on PMS.
A franchise that holds the worst overall record since 2016 (34-80), the Jets showed flashes on both sides of the ball last season, largely thanks to smart draft selections.
No. 10 overall pick Garrett Wilson won the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award, logging a tremendous first season with 83 receptions, 1,103 yards, and four touchdowns. It’s worth noting that Wilson caught passes from three different quarterbacks during his rookie campaign – Zach Wilson, Mike White, and Joe Flacco.
Running back Breece Hall may have challenged his teammate for OROY if he had remained healthy, but he suffered a torn ACL in Week 7 and was ruled out for the season. Prior to the tear, Hall averaged a whopping 5.79 yards per carry and had scored a touchdown in four consecutive games.
On the other side of the ball, cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner proved himself as one of the league’s elite defensive backs in his rookie season, and took home Defensive Rookie of the Year to complete the Jets sweep. Gardner famously wore a ‘cheesehead,’ a symbol for Packers fans, after the Jets upset the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 6.
After another tough-to-take NFC title game loss to the 49ers at the culmination of the 2019 season, the Packers decided to draft talented college quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft.
That sent the first signal of their intent to move on from Rodgers, who had become a somewhat controversial character later on in his NFL career.
A vocal critic of vaccination and NFL policy around it in 2021, he was the subject of a media backlash after admitting he had intended to mislead the public about his own status when telling a reporter he had been "immunized".
His absence from voluntary off-season workouts with the Packers also left fans wondering about his ability to lead the locker room, especially when photographs of him enjoying himself in Hawaii with his then-fiancée, actress Shailene Woodley, hit the tabloids.
Rodgers delivered back-to-back MVP seasons, but the Packers failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs in 2021 or even reach them last season, as the loss of key wide receiver Davante Adams and a thumb injury restricted his big-play capacity.