Sports Editors React to Aaron Rodgers Trade

It’s finally done – the New York Jets have acquired future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. Ever since Rodgers announced his intent to play for the Jets on The Pat McAfee Show over a month ago, anticipation to see the trade go through has grown wildly. Now, fans can let out a sigh of relief that Rodgers will, in fact, join the Jets. As two Jets fans, you can safely assume that we are nothing short of ecstatic. Before we delve into the implications of the trade, let’s break down the trade itself and the compensation the Packers received.

The Jets received Aaron Rodgers, a 2023 first-round pick (15th), and a 2023 fifth-round pick (170th). The Packers received a 2023 first-round pick (13th), a 2023 second-round pick (42nd), a 2023 sixth-round pick (207th), and a conditional 2024 second-round pick, which will become a first-rounder if Rodgers plays 65% of the total snaps in the 2023 season. As a quick note for Packers fans, this is not the end of the world. Green Bay received a haul of picks, and now the team will be giving quarterback Jordan Love, who has been sitting on the bench watching Rodgers for the last three years, a chance to shine. 

There’s no denying that the Jets gave up a lot in return for a 39-year-old quarterback who had a mediocre 2022 season. The teams are swapping first-rounders, and then the Jets are giving up two additional second-rounders on top of that. If Rodgers is a let-down and underperforms like he did last season, this trade will be extremely costly for the Jets and could potentially ruin their future. 

Despite the dangers that we just outlined, we believe that this trade was absolutely essential for New York, and frankly, we don’t care about the cost. Jets fans have been tormented by bad quarterback play essentially since 1969 when Joe “Broadway Joe” Namath won the franchise’s lone Super Bowl. For those of us born after the 2000s, the Jets have never had anyone resembling anything close to a true franchise quarterback. It will undoubtedly be exciting having four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers at the helm for the 2023 season, and not burnouts like Zach Wilson, Sam Darnold, or Bryce Petty.

Rodgers is not only changing New York’s history of bad quarterback play, but he joins a team with realistic playoff aspirations. The former Packer does not need to carry the Jets all on his own. For the first time since 2010, the Jets have a legit roster, which was really only lacking at the quarterback position last season. Gang Green’s defense impressed heavily last season behind the play of All-Pros Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner. Moreover, the offense has bonafide playmakers in Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall. 

Whether you’re a Jets fan or not, you must accept that this trade automatically propels the Jets into the playoff conversation, and potentially even further, with some analysts claiming that this trade makes the Jets Super Bowl contenders. But look, we’re not trying to stretch our expectations – as fans who are in the midst of a 12-year playoff drought (the longest current streak in the NFL), we would love it if Rodgers did so much as bring us to the first round of the postseason. Looking at what Tom Brady (42 years old at the time) did when he went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that was well-built and was missing only a quarterback, in the 2020-2021 season, we don’t see why the Jets can’t do the same.

The addition of Rodgers will also bless Jets fans with prime-time games. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Jets could play up to six prime-time games this year, whereas in years past the team would get one or maybe two if they were lucky. Gang Green only played one prime-time game last season: a Thursday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Moreover, the Jets have not played on a Sunday night since 2012, when they faced the San Diego Chargers in Week 16. Now, more than ten years later, the Jets are finally gaining enough excitement to (most likely) find themselves playing on Sunday night.

As Jets fans, we are unused to feeling excited and confident about the direction of the team. But the addition of Rodgers has certainly changed the aspirations of the fanbase. With a previous Super Bowl champion now at the helm of a stacked roster, the Jets are now seriously including themselves as a postseason contender. The 2023 season will be an unforgettable one for Jets fans, whether the acquisition of Rodgers proves worthwhile or not.