There is a general optimism among fans that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will announce his intentions to play for the New York Jets in 2023 on the Pat McAfee Show later today on March 15 — which begins at 1 p.m. EST.
Part of this positivity has to do with Trey Wingo — the only media member really tapped in on Rodgers’ thought process so far. On March 14, Wingo did an interview spot with Ari Meirov of the 33rd Team, implying that Rodgers has agreed to the deal since Friday (March 10).
A very interesting rumor also surfaced on the evening of March 14 via NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, who tweeted: “Aaron Rodgers held a lengthy conversation with a potential Jets free agent target, per a league source, discussing offensive philosophy, fit, personnel, etc before veteran lineman agreed to terms with another team, per a league source @KPRC2. Another indicator of Rodgers’ plans.”
Who Was the Mystery Free Agent Aaron Rodgers Spoke to Over the Phone?
Although Wilson did not reveal the name of the mystery man that Rodgers seemingly attempted to recruit to New York, several media members read between the lines and suggested that it could have been San Francisco 49ers center Jake Brendel — who chose to stay with SF.
Heavy on Jets reporter Paul Esden Jr. speculated on this rumor, voicing: “Totally sounds like 49ers center Jake Brendel who the Jets aggressively pursued in free agency. While it sucks NYJ didn’t land that player, fascinating that Aaron Rodgers held a ‘lengthy conversation’ with him. Another breadcrumb that A-Rod is heading to NY.”
Position-wise, this would also make sense considering the relationship between a quarterback and his center. When Tom Brady first chose the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, he made sure to reach out to Ryan Jensen, then later recruited the center to re-sign after he came out of retirement.
Veteran signal-callers know, their center is just as important as any wide receiver they’re throwing the ball to, if not more.
Of course, Wilson’s tweet could also be referring to ex-teammate Allen Lazard, who chose the Jets over Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos in free agency on March 14 — per Meirov.
Jets Offered Center Jake Brendel ‘More Money’ Than 49ers
Apparently, the Jets were all-in on landing Brendel to replace Connor McGovern as the center in 2023.
The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt reported the following: “The Jets offered C Jake Brendel more money than the 49ers, per source, but he wanted to stay in San Francisco.”
In other words, general manager Joe Douglas made another push to fulfill Rodgers’ wishes, but was snubbed by a player who chose to remain with an NFC Super Bowl contender.
With that being said, who else is out there at center right now?
Like Brendel, veterans Jason Kelce, Garrett Bradbury and Bradley Bozeman have all agreed to re-sign with their respective organizations. There’s always McGovern, who has shared a public interest in a reunion with the Jets on the open market.
Another option could be former Tennessee Titans center Ben Jones, who would have familiarity with new run game and pass game coordinators Keith Carter and Todd Downing — who were both with the Titans last season.
Ethan Pocic, Matt Skura, Justin Britt and Jon Feliciano are among the other veterans available in free agency. It could also make sense to pair Rodgers — a wise, game-ready vet — with a top center prospect like Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz in April.