The Jets, are desperate to become Super Bowl contenders, and Rodgers opens that window further for them. Rodgers had previously acknowledged he’d have to adjust the $58.3 million option bonus owed to him before the start of the season, saying, “I don’t think there’s a scenario where I’d come back, and that would be the number.” But his cap number is friendly, with a cap hit of only $15.8 million in 2023 and $32.5 million in 2024.
Rodgers Makes the Jets Super Bowl 58 Contenders
It took a full-court press from the Jets to convince the Packers legend to request to head to The Big Apple. The Jets sent owner Woody Johnson, general manager Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to meet Rodgers in person in California on Tuesday. About one week later, the deal was consummated.
The Jets’ Super Bowl 58 odds have drastically risen since the end of the 2022 NFL season.
At the conclusion of the regular season, the Jets opened at +2400 to win Super Bowl 58. That number rose to +1800 after optimism around the Rodgers-to-New York deal grew and is sitting at +1400 on Wednesday following Rodgers’ appearance on the Pat McAfee Show. Rodgers told McAfee “he intends to play for the Jets and the teams need to work out compensation.”
New York was always the most obvious landing spot for Rodgers because the Jets have a list of talented positional groups outside of an answer at quarterback. Saleh built a top-four defense in 2022 despite an absolutely black hole at QB for much of last season. This offense boasts one of the best young cores in the league thanks to wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore and running back Breece Hall.
The trio of Zach Wilson, Mike White, and Joe Flacco each completed under 59% of their attempts, an embarrassingly bad statistic that played a part in the firing of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. Adding Rodgers into a familiar scheme and behind a moderately improved and healthier offensive line would give this Jets offense a major boost. Even a diminished Rodgers should complete at least 64% of his passes and mix in his patented deep passes while surrounded by the Jets’ cast of playmakers.
Hackett’s addition to New York’s offense was underwhelming as an isolated move, considering how badly he failed with Russell Wilson as Denver’s head coach for 15 games in 2022. Nevertheless, Hackett’s three seasons with Rodgers in Green Bay brought elite results. He was part of reviving Rodgers’ career with Matt LaFleur, producing back-to-back MVP seasons.
The AFC, in general, and AFC East, in particular, are incredibly competitive, but it’s hard to envision the Jets missing out on the playoffs. They can easily open a significant chunk of cap space to accommodate Rodgers and reinforce the roster around him. There’s not much else this roster needs, though.
There are reasons for optimism that Rodgers still has great play left in the tank. He started slowly in 2022 after boycotting the Packers’ offseason programs, failing to build chemistry with a young and undertalented receiving corps. Once the second half of the season arrived and rookie Christian Watson was healthy, Rodgers quickly snapped into a better form.
Adjusting how aggressive Rodgers is can also lead to a more efficient offense. Without Hackett in place to vary the levels Rodgers attacks, he was constantly throwing deep. He finished second in the league with 81 deep passes despite ranking 18th in team pass plays per game.
Despite this, he was 14th in air yards per attempt. This points to a scheme that wasn’t effectively creating space because it was either screens or deep attempts. New York must do better than to replicate this.
Rodgers still has plenty in the tank, though. He was 12th in money throws, ninth in red-zone attempts, and fifth in red-zone completion percentage. Though it was a season far from the elite level he’s shown, even slight upgrades in his commitment, a better-surrounding cast, and a more sensible scheme can be the difference.
The Jets have their work cut out for them with so much AFC competition. We know about the Chiefs, Chargers, Bengals, and Bills. But the Browns, Dolphins, Jaguars, and maybe the Ravens loom as teams that could be massively improved.
MORE: QB Power Rankings 2023
Rodgers has to be very good for the Jets to reach the Super Bowl. He’s capable of reaching that level even if he was diminished a bit in 2022. A highly focused Rodgers in 2020 and 2021 proved to be more efficient and explosive than when he doesn’t feel he can win.
It’s possible the Jets end up with an egg on their face with Rodgers as they did with Favre. The parallels are striking, considering Favre spent 16 years in Green Bay to Rodgers’ 18, and both were traded to New York to open playing time for a late first-round pick. Favre was an entertaining disaster in his one season with the Jets before enjoying one good and one awful year with the Vikings.
There’s nothing in Rodgers’ history to suggest he’ll ever be a bad quarterback but rather one who doesn’t create special plays when his magic is gone. The Jets are betting that magic hasn’t been lost. If they’re right, they could push Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champions to the brink come January.