The Jets have reportedly been targeting Aaron Rodgers via trade for a while, and now it's confirmed from the man himself: the longtime Packers quarterback wants to play for New York. Appearing Wednesday on "The Pat McAfee Show," the former MVP revealed that he desires a trade out of Green Bay ahead of the 2023 NFL season.
"Since Friday I made it clear that my intention was to play and my intention is to play for the New York Jets," Rodgers said.
Rodgers went into the offseason leaning toward retirement, he told McAfee, but realized during a meditation retreat that he'd like to keep playing. But the Packers are ready to move on, Rodgers explained, and now he is, too.
Rodgers first informed the Packers he intends to play for the Jets in 2023 on Friday, the QB told McAfee. A potential trade is not finalized, however, because Green Bay is "digging their heels in" to receive adequate compensation from New York. Rodgers went on to praise the Packers fan base and organization, deeming fellow QB Jordan Love a worthy successor for the green and yellow. But the team has been looking to move on from him in some sense since 2020, when Love was added as a first-round draft pick, and now he's eager for a fresh start with Gang Green.
A first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Rodgers spent three seasons backing up Brett Favre, who after each of those seasons pondered retirement before eventually deciding to come back for at least one more year. Just as the Packers decided way back in 2008 that they had had their fill of the Favre era and would move onto Rodgers, they are now apparently doing the same with Rodgers himself -- according to Rodgers -- and looking to move on to Jordan Love, whom they selected in the first round of the draft three years ago. If Rodgers gets his wish, he and Favre would've even been traded to the exact same team, on the exact same timeline with respect to when their successor was drafted.
In 15 seasons as the Packers starter, Rodgers has compiled a 147-75-1 regular-season record, completing 65.3% of his passes at an average of 7.7 yards per attempt, throwing for 59,055 yards, 475 touchdowns, and just 105 interceptions. He won the Most Valuable Player award four times, was named a first-team All-Pro four times, a second-teamer once, and a Pro Bowler 10 times, and won both a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP. He leaves Green Bay as the franchise's all-time leader in passing touchdowns, and also the owner of NFL single-season records for both passer rating and interception rate. He would join a Jets team that sports one of the NFL's best defenses and an intriguing skill-position group, and reunites with former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who now has the same role in New York.
The NFL offseason is barely underway, and we've already seen a couple veteran quarterbacks get taken off the market. Derek Carr was the first QB domino to fall, as the former Raider signed a reported four-year deal with the New Orleans Saints last week. Geno Smith also re-upped with the Seahawks, while Daniel Jones did the same with the Giants.
A contingent of Jets team officials reportedly flew out to California last week to meet with Rodgers and make their pitch in person. ESPN reported that team owner Woody Johnson, general manager Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett were on the plane.
The Packers granted Rodgers permission to speak with the Jets. If they had not it would be tampering, as he is still under contract with Green Bay. The NFL's negotiating window opened Monday at noon, with NFL free agency beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday. There have been several reports this offseason claiming the Packers "are done" with their longtime signal-caller, and that the days of "begging Rodgers to return on his terms" are over. Publicly, however, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has said that all options are on the table.