Despite Aaron Rodgers’ Major Durability Concerns, Jets Better Prepared for Worst-Case Scenario in 2024

Unlike last year's doomsday scenario, the New York Jets are better prepared for potential life without Aaron Rodgers.

Aaron Rodgers may be a four-time NFL MVP and future Hall of Famer, but his future certainly seems clouded by Father Time. The New York Jets‘ 40-year-old quarterback is coming off a torn Achilles that cost him the entirety of the 2023 season.

Now fully healthy, Rodgers is hoping to help end the team’s 13-year playoff drought and save the jobs of head coach Robert Saleh and the rest of the front office and coaching staff.

To their credit, the Jets have contingencies in place to better prepare for the “worst-case scenario” that has plagued the team in recent years.

Who Is the Jets’ New Backup QB?

In Wednesday’s practice, Rodgers was getting treatment on his feet on the sidelines, which had the fan base in a panic.

Despite Wednesday’s hysteria, Rodgers appears to be just fine, but it’s important to remember that the Jets are better prepared if the future Hall of Fame QB goes down again with an injury.

One of the first moves New York knew they needed to make this offseason was to address the backup quarterback position behind Rodgers, and they solved that problem in a big way.

Gone are the days of young quarterbacks like Zach Wilson being expected to take the reigns with an injury to a starter. Instead, the Jets opted to address the backup role with veteran Tyrod Taylor.

Taylor has been seen as one of the best backup quarterbacks over the last decade. In his 13-year career, he’s started 58 games and thrown 65 touchdowns. For two years and $11 million in total money, New York’s free agency signing helps stabilize a group that has used four signal-callers in each of the last two seasons.

It also helps that the veteran is already looking solid in organized team activities.

Offensive Line Upgrades Should Help New York

Outside of spending on backup QB, the Jets moved swiftly to address the offensive line in both free agency and the NFL Draft.

All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith was signed for just $6.5 million, Morgan Moses was traded for a late-round pick, and John Simpson was also added in free agency. These additions were immediate upgrades to last year’s group.

Of course, there’s a sense of positivity that comes from the fact that 13 different line combinations and players were used last season. The fact that so many young offensive linemen received plenty of playtime means that the organization can trust more of its depth to step in and play adequately enough to succeed should that happen again.

“You’re just trying to find something that, you can never build something fully injury-proof, but at least something that’s got a smoother transition. I think that evolution started a year ago and continued into the offseason, it’s been good,” Saleh explained at team OTAs Wednesday.

“I think from speaking for the offense, I think all of it’s been good; it’s been tied together. There’s more, a lot more clarity on what it would look like regardless of who is at quarterback. And for that, I think we’ve experienced a lot of growth in that regard, which has been a good thing.”

MORE: 2024 NFL Offensive Line Rankings: How High Are the Jets?

With the addition of the 11th overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft in Olu Fashanu, along with Smith and Moses, the depth of the Jets’ offense has completely flipped.

That alone could be the difference between the team simply ending their playoff drought and competing for a championship — especially with Rodgers healthy behind center.

What Do the Jets Need From Rodgers?

It’s not hyperbole to say the Jets, despite their strong offseason, have all their eggs in the Rodgers’ basket.

Although he’s 40 years old, Rodgers hasn’t lost a step during OTAs, threading balls downfield for touchdowns and providing the kind of demanding leadership the organization has been missing in the past two decades.

“He has no restrictions, and he looks good, man,” Saleh stated of Rodgers. “The arm talent, obviously, is still there, but it’s really just re-acclimating to everything, and we’re trying a bunch of new stuff too. And it’s just, again, trying to evolve within the offense.”

Saleh himself has taken more of a hands-on approach to the offense this offseason, but the year will hinge greatly on Rodgers’ skill.

New York’s offense has plenty of talent among its skill players. Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, and Tyler Conklin are all returning, but the additions of Mike Williams and Malachi Corley could transform the unit from talented last year to among the league’s best in 2024.

KEEP READING: Aaron Rodgers’ New Role: QB Can Be a Game Manager on Jets

For that to happen, though, means New York will need its franchise QB healthy for the majority of the season. Rodgers has shown an ability to do so throughout his career, but Father Time is undefeated when it comes to aging players.

And any sign of weakness from their quarterback could send the Jets into another spiral.

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