A trade proposal that would flip long-time Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets is picking up steam as the offseason approaches.
Rodgers himself has yet to comment on the potential deal that would send him to the Big Apple, while one of the Jets’ rising stars, cornerback Sauce Gardner, broke his silence on the topic late last week.
The Pro-Bowl and All-Pro defender made an appearance on ESPN Radio on Thursday, January 26, during which he was asked by the interview tandem of Harry Douglas and Jason Fitz for his thoughts on Rodgers landing with the Jets in 2023.
“I wouldn’t mind that,” Gardner said. “I want what’s best for the offense. But at the same time, I’ve gotta just focus on my job, focus on what we got going on [on] the defensive side.”
Gardner, Jets Hold Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in High Esteem
The Jets thumped the Packers at Lambeau Field in Week 6 by a score of 27-10. During that game, Gardner broke up three passes as the Jets’ upstart defense sacked Rodgers four times, turned him over once and held him to 26-of-41 passing for 246 yards and one touchdown.
Still, the rookie defender spoke highly of the four-time MVP quarterback, despite having gotten the better of him in their one career meeting.
“He’s definitely great. He’s definitely elite,” Gardner told Douglas and Fitz. “He’s been doing it … since before I was born. So, you know, I can’t discredit nothing that he do, because I done seen him do so many good things. He’s a great quarterback, for sure.”
Packers Can Command Sizable Draft Haul From Jets For Rodgers
New York lost its final six games of the 2022 season, finishing the year 7-10. The team’s struggles came, in large part, due to a lack of consistent play under center.
The Packers, meanwhile, finished the year 8-9, winning four of their last five games and falling just a few points short in Week 18 against the Detroit Lions of capping off an unlikely playoff run. Rodgers was able to engineer that stretch, despite the team lacking high-level pass catchers outside of Allen Lazard and rookie Christian Watson, as fellow rookie Romeo Doubs spent much of that time sidelined by injury.
Rodgers is a vastly superior option to any others that the Jets may have under center come the 2023 season, namely Zach Wilson and Mike White. Both had a few moments last year, but both were inconsistent, and there is a chance that neither is back in New York when training camp opens.
The market value for Rodgers is at least a first-round pick, and potentially more, though his contract is so steep with nearly $60 million guaranteed in 2023 alone that it may be hard for the Packers to get more than a first-rounder back for him with a third- or fourth-rounder kicked in.
The Jets own the No. 13 overall selection in the NFL Draft, two spots ahead of where Green Bay is slotted to select. The Packers will strongly consider pass-catching talent in the first round, with several mocks tying the team to players like wideout Quentin Johnston of TCU and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba of Ohio State, as well as tight end Michael Mayer of Notre Dame.
Acquiring New York’s pick would all but ensure that Green Bay adds to its arsenal in the passing game, which would make sense even if the team is transitioning to quarterback Jordan Love, who has started just one contest across three NFL seasons.