May 26, 2024

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Trade Roundtable Aaron Rodgers: What the Deal Means for Jets and Packers

The trade the NFL world has been waiting for finally happened on Monday.

The Jets and Packers agreed to a deal that would send quarterback Aaron Rodgers to New York.

The Jets also get a 15th-round pick and a 2023 fifth-round pick. The Freshmen get a 13th pick, second and sixth rounds and a conditional 2024 second-round pick who could become first.

What does this mean for both teams and who stands to benefit most from Rodgers’ move to New York? the athleteNFL Nationals authors Mike Sandhu, Ted Nguyen, and Dan Pompey answer these questions and more.

What was your initial reaction to the terms of trade?

Mike Sandow: The Packers did well for a team that everyone knew would trade Rodgers. There always needs to be a conditional element to a trade, in my view. Getting a second this year and a first probably next year is a good escape from what I think is a bad situation for packers.

Ted Nguyen: I thought this was a very fair deal. I think the Packers thought they were going to get a lot more for Rodgers at the beginning of this process than they did. The Jets should have done more to protect themselves should Rodgers retire next year, but getting Rodgers makes them instant contenders. Last season, Rodgers’ production dropped but he’s still a top-tier midfielder and will play like him for the Jets. I’ll give the Packers players a small nod because the winners are here considering there are no other bidders, but getting a player who makes you an instant contender never comes cheap.

Dan Pompey: I like what the Packers received, but Rodgers deserved what the Jets gave up. Despite the difficult situation, Rodgers did better last season than the majority of quarterbacks in the NFL. He still manages to be one of the best players, if not the best quarterback in the league, as he was in 2021. What is a quarterback like that worth? Even if his contributions are short-lived, Rodgers brings great value to the Jets.

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What needs to happen for this trade to be considered a win for the Jets?

Sando: The offense should end in the first half of the league, with the Jets reaching the playoffs. The Jets had a bottom-five offense last season. This didn’t give them a shot. If they’re in the top half of the league due to offense overnight, they’re very likely to be a playoff team, which means they’ll have an opportunity that didn’t exist before.

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Nguyen: Rodgers stays healthy and puts them deep into the playoffs, which is clearly their goal of the trade, and will reduce the first-round pick they’ll be giving up next year. Winning the Super Bowl would make them clear winners, but Rodgers pushing them to compete and come back the next year and do the same thing would make them very clear winners. Bonus points if Rodgers reworks his deal.

Pompeii: It’s a win for the Jets indeed. Their locker room will be galvanized with this. Their fan base will be activated. They will have a chance to win every game they play in September. But let’s not forget that this was a bad team last season. The Jets finished last in the AFC East region. No team in the NFL has had a worse passer rating. They were 29th in points scored. They will be better offensively as long as Rodgers is healthy. This constitutes a victory.

Aaron Rodgers leaves Green Bay and opens the starting quarterback job for Jordan Love, three years after the Packers selected him in the first round. (Eric Hartline/USA Today)

What must happen to you for this trade to be considered a win for the Packers?

Sando: Jordan Love should be a solid player to begin with, someone they’re not looking to replace. Rodgers is the other part of that equation. If he lights it up with the Jets, it will be hard for the Packers to consider this trade a win.

Nguyen: Jordan’s love must be good. There’s not much room for growing pains considering he’s sat out for three seasons. Also, the Packers have to press two highly valued draft picks. If Rodgers stinks with the Jets, it makes them look like they stole those shots, but I think if Rodgers is good, it doesn’t necessarily make them look bad because Rodgers wanted out.

Pompeii: If Jordan Love plays as well or better than Rodgers this year, that’s a win for the players. There is no doubt that the Packers could have extended Rodgers’ stay in Green Bay and have been competitive in 2023. So they have to be competitive with love. Some of how they perceive that will depend on what they do with draft picks as well. Going two places in the first round this year is an interesting one.

How do you expect the Jets to fare in 2023 with Rodgers at quarterback?

Sando: I think they’ll be a playoff team, but I’m not sure they’ll be a team that advances to the playoffs, given the strength of the conference. I think they have a chance to be a team that makes it to the conference championship game, and that opportunity didn’t exist for them previously.

Nguyen: Rodgers is still a first class midfielder. He had little assist at receiver and had inconsistent protection last season. This year, he’ll have a budding star at receiver in Garrett Wilson and one of the best linebackers in the league in Bryce Hall to deliver. Last season, the Jets’ offensive line struggled with a lot of injuries, but if they can stay healthy, the starting five is pretty good. With a better support team, I think Rodgers will play at a level close to MVP again.

Pompeii: I think it could be a playoff team if the guys can handle it. He needs some of his young players with skills to take the next step and stay healthy. Traffic protection is required. He also needs to be defended. And he needs offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to call plays better than he did last year in Denver. No player can do it himself.

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How much decline can you expect from the Packers this year? (Example: What is your level of confidence in love for Jordan?)

Sando: They were not good last season. It wouldn’t be particularly shocking if their record was similar to their 8-9 record from 2022. I’ll take less than that now simply because we haven’t seen enough love to know if he can play well over a full month, let alone a full season.

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Nguyen: It all depends on the love of Jordan, about which we know so little. He showed up a bit in the preseason and the limited action he had last season, but the sample is small. The Packers defense didn’t quite perform last season, but they have talent. The offensive line can be good if they stay healthy and receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Dobbs are coming in for second seasons. They have a good roster, but we’ll see how Love performs in his first season as a starter.

Pompeii: As of today, they are not as talented as they were last season, when they were not good enough. Love is the unknown. If he’s the quarterback they thought he was when they drafted him in the first round, he can lift his teammates up. If he’s a quarterback that 25 teams thought didn’t deserve to be in the 2020 draft, the Packers are in trouble.

Wide receiver Garrett Wilson should thrive with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to him. (Scott Galvin/USA Today)

Which individual in the Jets organization would benefit most from adding Rodgers?

Sando: Robert Saleh, because life is so much better for a head coach when he has the best quarterback. The whole team buys almost automatically. With the Packers weary of Rodgers’ situation, we shouldn’t forget that Rodgers was a unanimous Tier 1 selection by 50 coaches and assessors in their 2022 Quarterfinals survey. Sure, it’s been a disappointing year, and there’s a risk he’s nearing the aging wall, but Valid He added one of the two or three midfielders he didn’t want to play against. Great day for him. He now has a chance.

Nguyen: Garrett Wilson. According to Warren Sharp, 19 percent of Wilson’s goals last season were unattainable. That number would drop significantly as Rodgers bowled him the ball. I think the two will have great chemistry and I expect to see Wilson step up to the level one receiver conversation.

Pompeii: What about Hackett? His success with Rodgers is why he’s becoming head coach of the Broncos in 2022. Rodgers reveres him and will give him instant credibility in the locker room. They know each other’s strengths and idiosyncrasies and should be able to bring out the best in each other.

(Top photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)