FLOWERHAM PARK, NJ – Aaron Rodgers walked into the Jets’ facility Wednesday to applause from the staff for his introductory news conference after watching a montage of his highlights from his 18-year tenure with the Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers, the quarterback for whom the Jets traded this week after a lengthy negotiation process, had landed in New Jersey the night before. Coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday morning he attended a meeting with Jets officials barefoot. Rodgers also went past a case holding the team’s only Super Bowl trophy, which the Jets won in the 1968 season, and said he noticed it was “getting lonely.”
Rodgers appeared relaxed and at home during his first official day as a Jet, bringing optimism that one of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era can restore success to a franchise in the NFL’s biggest market. The Jets haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, owning the longest postseason drought in major North American men’s professional sports, but the team and Rodgers are hopeful that their arrival – even at the end of their careers Towards the end – will end that streak.
“I’m an old man, so I want to be part of a team that can win it all, and I believe this is where we can do that,” the 39-year-old Rogers said.
The Jets and Packers officially agreed to trade terms on Wednesday after news broke on Monday of the deal. The Jets sent the No. 13 overall pick in this year’s draft, as well as two later-round picks and a conditional second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, in exchange for Rodgers, the No. 15 pick and a later-round pick in this year’s draft. Select in draft. The first round begins on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.
Rodgers won one Super Bowl, appeared in four other NFC Championship Games, and won the Most Valuable Player Award four times while with the Packers. But he became disenchanted with the franchise over the last two seasons due to a perceived lack of input on personnel decisions, among other complaints. Rodgers pointed to his strained relationship with the Packers on Wednesday when he blamed poor cellphone reception at his home for not communicating with Green Bay officials this offseason.
After the Packers finished 8–9 the previous season and missed the playoffs, Rodgers considered retiring. In March a cadre of Jets executives — including Saleh, team owner Woody Johnson and general manager Joe Douglas — visited Rodgers in Malibu, California, and that conversation helped persuade Rodgers to join the Jets, he said.
“At the time, I felt like this was where I needed to be,” Rodgers said. “I really try and listen to the signs and synchronicities that the universe throws in our faces every day, and that was basically the direction everything was pointing.”
Later in March, Rodgers appeared on former NFL punter Pat McAfee’s show and stated that he wanted to play for the Jets. Weeks later, Packers general managers Douglas and Brian Gutkunst publicly stated that they wanted to finalize a deal, but negotiations dragged on for six weeks due to an impasse over compensation for the team’s front office. However, Rodgers said he was confident the trade would happen.
“I believed it was going to happen the whole time, it was just a case, I guess, of one waiting for the other,” Rogers said. He added: “I believe there was some major synchronization to make this happen, but I’m excited about the opportunity here,
Rodgers played under the leadership of Nathaniel Hackett, who was hired in January as the Jets’ offensive coordinator for three seasons in Green Bay, and said their strong bond was another selling point in joining the Jets.
The Jets’ roster includes the previous season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, receiver Garrett Wilson, and Defensive Rookie of the Year, cornerback Sauce Gardner – two players Rodgers openly recruited. Gardner and the other players changed their social media profile pictures to a photo of Rodgers in college, and Gardner also videotaped himself burning a Packers Cheesehead hat in honor of Rodgers.
The Jets’ 2022 season started promisingly at 6-3, behind a speedy rushing game and one of the league’s best defenses. But the ineffective play of quarterback Zach Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, saw Saleh benched with seven games left in the season. With that instability under center and significant injuries, especially to rookie running back Brees Hall, the Jets finished 7–10 and missed the playoffs.
Rodgers stated that he hoped to become a mentor to Zack Wilson, with whom he had a previous friendship, and to become a leader in the locker room. Saleh said that Rodgers should be a steady presence, and that his choice of the Jets was confirmation that the franchise was successfully rebuilding itself.
“Obviously you could argue that our arrow is pointing up,” Saleh said.
Rodgers said he envisioned staying with the Jets last season, but said he did not want to focus on the future. His agent David Dunn attended the news conference, and Rodgers stated that he and the Jets would renegotiate his contract. But as long as Rodgers stays in a jet, Johnson said he’ll be satisfied.
“We’re good with whatever he wants to do,” Johnson said. “We’re so happy he’s here. It’s transformative.