The official word is that Aaron Rodgers has not yet decided between remaining with the Green Bay Packers, accepting a trade to the New York Jets or retiring from the NFL in 2023, but his reported recruitment tells a different story.
According to NFL insider Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, Rodgers has been having conversations with potential free agent targets for the Jets and talking about “offensive philosophy” and “fit” with them, suggesting he plans to be in New York for next season.
“Aaron Rodgers held a lengthy conversation with a potential Jets free agent target, per a league source, discussing offensive philosophy, fit, personnel, etc. before [the] veteran lineman agreed to terms with another team, per a league source,” Wilson tweeted shortly after midnight ET on March 15. “Another indicator of Rodgers’ plans.”
Wilson did not provide the specific name of the free agent in question, but a closer look suggests it might have been San Francisco 49ers center Jake Brendel. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on March 15 that the 49ers are bringing back Brendel on a four-year deal, but he also noted that the Jets made “a push” for him before he decided. Of course, that is just an educated guess based on the available information.
Aaron Rodgers Gave Free Agent ‘Wish-List’ to Jets
According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, Rodgers has also provided the Jets with his “wish-list” for free agents he would like them to “target and acquire,” a list that included a few of the Packers’ current pending free agents, such as Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis.
Allen Lazard was also on the list when Russini shared her report on Tuesday afternoon, but it was only a few hours before Jordan Schultz of The Score broke the news that the Jets were signing him to a four-year, $44 million contract. While Lazard is a solid starting receiver with great blocking ability and has prior connections with new Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, his signing certainly looks like appeasement.
Whether the Jets manage to bring in the other free agents Rodgers requested remains to be seen. Lewis and Cobb, who are both good friends of Rodgers, could be persuaded to sign veteran-minimum contracts, or at least deals that are low cost enough for it to not burden the Jets too much. The last name on Rodgers’ wish-list, however, is a little tougher to accomplish: veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Even if New York is convinced of his health and playmaking ability, he doesn’t figure to be cheap.
Pat McAfee Teases Special Aaron Rodgers’ Interview
For people looking for some reprieve from this saga, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel. Pat McAfee — a known friend of Rodgers who frequently hosts him for guest interviews during the regular season — teased that the Packers quarterback will be appearing on his show at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 15. With the interview set hours before the start of the new league year and the Packers indicating they expect a decision from him before then, fans can only hope he is finally ready to make the call.
“Be a friend, tell a friend,” McAfee tweeted Tuesday night with a link to his YouTube channel. “You are cordially invited … TOMORROW AT 1 PMEST.”
While insiders continue to suggest that neither the Packers nor the Jets know what Rodgers plans to do yet, it stands to reason they have at least some idea of what he is going to do, especially in light of him recruiting for the Jets. There are also the reports — like the one from NFL insider Michael Silver — that the Packers are ready to move on from Rodgers and his offseason drama and finally pass the torch to quarterback-in-waiting Jordan Love, the 2021 first-round pick has been diligently serving as Rodgers’ backup for the first three seasons of his career.
Either way, smart money is on that decision finally being revealed at 1 p.m. Wednesday.