It is January 2025, and 41-year-old Aaron Rodgers has led the Jets to their first Super Bowl championship since 1969 with a 31-28 victory over the Detroit Lions. Rodgers throws for 315 yards with a pair of touchdowns to the Detroit Lions. Breece Hall rushes for 145 yards with a touchdown. Sauce Gardner has a 45-yard pick six.
Rodgers beat Las Vegas’ 47-year-old Tom Brady. 30-23, in the AFC Championship Game in a game marked by the two oldest quarterbacks in a playoff game (more over George Blanda).
Both Rodgers and Brady hint about a return for the 2025 season. WFAN host Joe Beningo is finally at peace for his long-awaited, 56-year, second Jets’ championship.
Could it happen? It possibly can if the Jets decide to sign the legendary Packers’ star. Speculation has been swirling since the end of the regular season, and it has heightened since the Jets’ named Nathaniel Hackett was recently named the team’s offensive coordinator.
Hackett has ties with Rodgers when he was the Packers’ offensive coordinator from 2019-21. In 2020, the Packers has the league’s best scoring offense, and Rodgers won back-to-back MVP awards with Hackett in 2020 and 2021.
Well, the 39-year-old Rodgers first has to decide whether or not he wants to play next season. Then, he has to choose whether he wants to return to the Packers. If not, where does he want to go?
Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh noted in a presser this week that the team definitely wants to have a “veteran quarterback” in the fold for next season. Does that mean Rodgers, Derrick Carr, or the likes of someone like Baker Mayfield, Jimmy Garoppolo, or Andy Dalton? Do you want another round of Geno Smith or Sam Darnold? I don’t think anyone really wants to see Mayfield, Garoppolo, Dalton, Smith, or Darnold.
Rodgers or Carr would make the most sense. Rodgers seemingly could work the addition of Hackett.
Yet, Rodgers and Carr would involve big money. Rodgers has a guaranteed contract of $59 million next season, $31 million that would be counted against the salary cap. However, Rodgers apparently is willing to rework his deal if the location is right.
Rodgers’ willingness to rework his deal is a strong indication that he won;t be back with the Pack next season, and the Jets are in the mix.
Along with the three previously stated factors, compensation for Rodgers will be a major factor.
Fifteen years ago, the Jets used a fourth-round pick to snare an aging Brett Favre from the Packers, and that didn’t work out as expected. This time, it certainly will take more, possibly two first-rounders. Jets’ GM Joe Douglas has been the master of working draft picks in his favor.
Carr’s deal would have a salary cap of $34 million, and he would have two more years left on the deal.
The Jets have stated that Zach Wilson is still in the mix, but it is becoming increasingly clearer that he will likely be out of the picture. Wilson could find a home elsewhere for a third- or fourth-round pick. It’s inconceivable at this point to expect anything higher.
This is pure temptation for the Jets and their fan base. With the Jets’ defense and offensive pieces like Hall and Wilson along with a budding offensive line, Rodgers would be the final piece toward a Super Bowl ring.
However, Rodgers’ arrival doesn’t guarantee anything, but it would mean the Jets have to get to the Super Bowl. There is Rodgers’ quirky personality and his big-game bust situation that Saleh likely will have to deal with and answer for. Watching Rodgers, you sometimes wonder if he really wants to win another championship or just be viewed as the greatest of all time.
The Jets could decide to take the other route and place their future in the hands of the 31-year-old Carr, who has been questioned whether he has the mental makeup to handle the New York pressure.
Or do you scrap both ideas, and continue to build around Wilson and keep Mike White?
Any way you look at it, it will be very interesting leading up to free agency and the draft, which both will be around the corner.
Unfortunately, it looks like another year of finding the next franchise quarterback since Joe Namath.
And Beningo may not be happy after all.