Jets are right to take flight and go big in their pursuit of Aaron Rodgers
It was a long period, darkened ass fumbling and five-win seasons, draft draft flops, and bumbling head coaches.
It’s not just that the New York Jets haven’t made the playoffs in a dozen years, it’s that the parade of humiliations over the past couple of decades has been not just a defeat on the field, but an absurdity off the field. Foot fetish video. Sexting scandals. Fights in the locker room. Mom’s friend.
That’s why it’s so important that the Jets reportedly loaded an army of coaches, team principals and even team owner Woody Johnson on a private jet on Tuesday and flew to California for a face-to-face meeting with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Maybe New York can convince Rodgers to play the Jets, which would start a deal with the Packers. Maybe they can’t.
If anything, the Jets have gone all-in in every conceivable way in pursuit of the four-time MVP quarterback they think could make them an instant contender in the AFC.
A non-serious franchise suddenly became extremely serious.
With a dominant defense, a lot of young talent and a serious head coach, they don’t just wish and hope that this belated opportunity to do something actually comes along. They are trying to do it.
They’re not just heading West to convince Rogers that the franchise is worthy of his talent and leadership, or that he can thrive by ending his career in a different shade of green. They will prevent him from saying “no” to them. If they don’t, it won’t be because they were distracted, incompetent, or just not trying hard enough.
Landing Rogers would be costly. Not only because he’s owed $58 million next season (maybe some of the costs with Green Bay will be required), but also because the Packers will demand more compensation through players and/or draft picks.
New York doesn’t seem to mind. He’s been treading water for too long, spent too many seasons as runners and bottom dwellers, to worry about being too aggressive.
The Jets only won seven games last season, but there were so many promises.
The defense resulted in fourth-lowest scoring in the league and three-star first or second-team All-Pro. Among them is Defensive Player of the Year Sauce Gardner, who seems to be the second coming of Darrell Revis when the Jets really mattered.
The problem was offense, despite the fact that he also received the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in wide receiver Garrett Wilson. New York was held back by the erratic performance of quarterback Zach Wilson, who was selected with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Zach Wilson was a classic Jets blunder, fooled by several outrageous pro-day shots and record senior year games against weak competition after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented his BYU team from playing any major conference contenders.
What New York is trying to do is what good franchises do – fix the bug, not let it keep dragging them down. Maybe Wilson can recover and still be someone. You don’t risk this squad just hoping it happens next season.
After all, it’s the Jets who still yearn for their next Joe Namath.
Instead, they pursued Rogers and the Packers in every way they could. Now the last section.
So, according to ESPN, Woody Johnson’s plane included Johnson himself, general manager Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who worked with Rodgers in Green Bay during his last two MVP seasons.
Rogers is a wild card, eccentric and unpredictable. Lately, he’s been reflecting on his future through dark retreats and podcast discussions. He loves attention, delaying decisions, though he says he doesn’t want to delay decisions. All this, this whole gesture seems to speak to him.
Then you could go big. Might as well get grand. Might as well show that the Jets, of all franchises, are finally serious this time around.
About landing Rogers. About winning games. And maybe more.