At this point in the offseason, it feels like the New York Jets would be interested in trading for Green Bay Packers legend Aaron Rodgers — assuming he does not retire and is made available by GB.
After all, owner Woody Johnson made it very clear he wants to go all-in on acquiring an established veteran quarterback in 2023 and head coach Robert Saleh also chose to hire Rodgers’ former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Not to mention fans and analysts everywhere are calling for Rodgers to switch from green and yellow to green and white.
All that aside, there are several key questions still left to determine and the most important one is this: If Rodgers does play football again in 2023, would he be open to joining the Jets? During his weekly spot on “The Pat McAfee Show” on January 31, the future Hall of Fame QB finally commented on the idea of reuniting with Hackett in New York, but his cryptic response was a bit hard to read.
“There’s not a great answer I can give you,” Rodgers began. “We all have certain coaches that have meant a lot to us over the years and have created those really special rooms to play in, special feelings on gamedays, made the weeks better — obviously, Nathaniel is one of those guys.”
He continued: “I would say there’s been a handful of coaches over the years who’ve been just on another different level. Guys who you just kind of bonded with more than other guys… Hack’s my guy, I love him and Megan and the kids, they’re really special to me. We really bonded when he was in Green Bay, he made it fun… so those guys are always going to be really special.”
Rodgers did include Packers quarterback coach Tom Clements, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, and Cleveland Browns OC Alex Van Pelt in his response — voicing that all three are on a similar level of friendship as Hackett. Neither the Bears or Browns have any interest or shot at landing Rodgers, but Clements’ influence could be another reason for the veteran to stay put in Green Bay.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Hints at Decision Date
Rodgers also spoke on the possibility of retiring before the 2023 season, dropping a clear hint at when he might make his final decision.
“So yeah, you watch that [NFC Championship] game and you let your mind drift off to what it would be like to still be playing, and all those thoughts come back to you,” Rodgers admitted to McAfee. “But then you come up to Pebble Beach [to golf] and you’re like — oh, this part of life’s pretty amazing, doing things like this more often — so look, it’s going to be a bit more time for my decision and I feel confident that in a couple of weeks I’ll feel, definitely, more strongly about one of the two decisions.”
He added that he “can’t make a decision until after the Super Bowl at the earliest because there’s still football going on — number one — and number two, it ain’t about me it’s about the [Kansas City] Chiefs and the [Philadelphia] Eagles still playing and the great season that they’ve had.”
Rodgers did confirm that his potential retirement is “a real thing” that could still occur.
Aaron Rodgers Takes Subtle Shot at Packers & Robert Saleh Coaching Style
A couple of other minor notes from this interview were the subtle shots that were taken. The main one from Rodgers was sort of directed at the Packers organization.
“It sounds like there [are] already conversations [on my future that are] going on that aren’t involving me, which are interesting,” Rodgers noted, adding: “I’m not a part of those conversations right now.”
McAfee also took a direct jab at Johnson and NYJ ownership, connecting his name to his company and vaccine — being that Rodgers has been anti-vaccine in the past. The Packers QB did not choose to comment on that joke from McAfee.
Finally, there was one small quote that was unrelated to the Jets that could be taken as a small piece of advice for Saleh. When discussing former Las Vegas Raiders interim HC Rich Bisaccia and why he’d make a great head coach if hired, Rodgers explained that if “you want to be a player’s coach, it’s not about being liked, it’s about being respected.”
Saleh has often been criticized by Jets fans for being too soft on his players in terms of disciplinary matters and it definitely appears like Rodgers would agree with the fan philosophy on that. The Packers signal-caller stood very firm on that quote and even reiterated it a second time to make sure he was clear about the message he was attempting to portray.