Jets Named ‘Best Team Fit’ for Top-25 Free Agent

Robert Saleh

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh in 2022.

We all know the names in the New York Jets’ 2023 quarterback search by now: Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Lamar Jackson, Ryan Tannehill, and potentially, a surprise candidate like Daniel Jones.

And as we approach March 1, it’s officially crunch time. Carr is expected to decide on a new franchise before NFL free agency, meanwhile Rodgers has finally emerged from his darkness retreat (more on that below). But who’s the odds-on favorite for the job?

To many, it’s still Garoppolo. ESPN staff writer Matt Bowen named the Jets as the “best team fit” for the San Francisco 49ers QB during an article on February 21.

“Yes, the Jets could trade for Green Bay [Packers] quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Carr is visiting with them, too. But if none of that comes together for New York, Garoppolo would immediately make the Jets better from an offensive perspective under new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett,” Bowen reasoned. “They will likely feature the timing and rhythm throws, along with play-action elements. Garoppolo completed 67.2% of his passes — with 16 touchdown passes — in his 11 games played last season before suffering a foot injury. I’ll also mention the [Tampa Bay] Bucs as a fit for Garoppolo, too, if they can figure out the money.”

Garoppolo ranked 25th on Bowen’s free agent big board and in case you were wondering, here’s where the quarterbacks listed ahead of him were placed: Jackson (Baltimore Ravens), Geno Smith (Seattle Seahawks), Carr (New Orleans Saints), and Jones (New York Giants). Rodgers was not listed, being that he is not a free agent in 2023.

Aaron Rodgers & Derek Carr Uncertainty Could Lead Jets to Jimmy Garoppolo at QB

It makes a lot of sense, right? Rodgers chooses to remain in Green Bay or retire and Carr signs with a team like the Saints or Carolina Panthers instead of the Jets.

At that point, most fans would be clamoring for Garoppolo — simply because the remaining options aren’t that great outside of a blockbuster trade for Jackson or Jones. That brings us to the latest on Rodgers and Carr.

The latter has gone mostly radio silent since his visit with the Jets but is expected to check in with two to three other organizations before making a decision. Basically, Carr speculation is on hold until we find out what his next move is.

Rodgers news — on the other hand — is finally sparking back up. The darkness retreat is reportedly over and even before it ended, ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington advised Gang Green to abandon their pursuit of the four-time MVP during a segment of ESPN’s “Get Up.”

“I’ve learned two things in the last 24 hours that make me kind of believe that the Jets — it’s time for them to simply sign Derek Carr,” Darlington began on February 22, explaining: “The first of which is a conversation I had with a very important Green Bay Packers source who quite honestly believes that Aaron Rodgers will be back with the Packers and that all of this is being overhyped.”

“He looks at the contract that Aaron Rodgers signed last year, the commitment that he gave to the team, and believes that at the end of the day, Aaron Rodgers will be back with the Packers,” he continued.

The second piece of information from Darlington at the time was the viral report that the Jets told Carr that he could become a first-ballot Hall of Famer if he wins a Super Bowl in New York.

“If that’s not just total BS, if they’re just not trying to inflate — which, maybe that is the case — go sign Derek Carr right now,” Darlington recommended. “You’re potentially waiting on a guy in Aaron Rodgers who might or might not be available, when you have a guy who was just in your building, who you believe will be a Hall of Fame quarterback as a New York Jets player? What are you waiting on?”

When you put it that way, he’s not wrong.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Ends Darkness Retreat

Per Xuan Thai of ESPN, Rodgers has “completed his darkness retreat at Sky Cave on Wednesday, according to Scott Berman, who owns the facility on hundreds of acres of forested land in southern Oregon.”

Thai continued, describing the NFL legend’s living quarters over the past few days: “Berman said the room in which Rodgers spent his time is a partially underground, Hobbit-like structure with 300 square feet of space, devoid of light, with a queen bed, a bathroom and a meditation-like mat on the floor. It is fully powered, so at any point, the lights can be turned on from inside the room.”

While Rodgers’ decision is unclear at this time, ESPN’s Dianna Russini did report that “a meeting is supposed to happen with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers to discuss his future” on a live segment of “Get Up” on February 23. “He will be the first domino to fall in the QB carousel,” she informed.

As for this bizarre method of self-reflection, it appears to be a trendy business model for the Oregon entrepreneur. Thai wrote: “The retreat has three dark rooms and is booked for the next 18 months, Berman said, with a waitlist in the hundreds. Seven more rooms are planned to help accommodate the demand.”

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