Aaron Rodgers is leaving the cheeseheads for the Big Apple.
The Green Bay Packers are trading their star quarterback to the New York Jets for the 13th overall pick, plus second and sixth-round selections in this year’s draft as well as a conditional 2024 second-round pick (which can become a first round pick if Rogers plays 65% of this year’s snaps.) The Jets will get Rodgers, the No. 15 overall pick and a fifth-round pick this year.
After months of uncertainty about his status, Rodgers, a 10-time Pro Bowler and future NFL Hall of Famer is bucking retirement and joining the Jets, who started last season 5-2 before losing their final six games and missing the playoffs for a 12th straight season. The Packers will suffer a $40 million dead cap hit next season for dealing Rodgers, but they can finally start writing the franchise’s next chapter behind fourth-year quarterback Jordan Love.
Rodgers, meanwhile, is taking a page out of his predecessor’s book—Packers star quarterback Brett Favre was traded to the Jets in 2008, where he played one season. Rodgers declared his intention to play for the Jets during a March appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. He said the delay was just a matter of his former team waiting to get the right compensation in the deal.
It’s now official.
The Jets won’t be hit too hard by the Rodgers acquisition, as they’re slated to absorb a $15 million cap hit in 2023 and $32 million in 2024. Also, the team converted tight end CJ Uzomah’s $4.5 million salary into a signing bonus, and they restructured contracts for DJ Reed, Laken Tomlinson and Tyler Conklin to create more than $15 million in cap space, possibly to make room for the 10-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer.
The Rodgers trade has been in the works for more than a month, with Jets general manager Joe Douglas telling a crowd of fans earlier in April that the trade would indeed happen. Now it has.
The trade completion ends a long saga between both teams especially the Packers who seemed determined to receive what they felt was adequate compensation despite the star quarterback saying that he wanted to play elsewhere.
The Jets have made other notable off-season moves meanwhile. They got some more protection for the new quarterback by re-signing starting center Connor McGovern and signed former Commanders guard Wes Schweitzer. Earlier this off-season they also signed former Packers QB Tim Boyle and former Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard. The two were seen working out together in California earlier this month.
The 39-year-old signed a record four-year deal worth $200 million last year that runs through 2024 (the final two years are dummy years for salary cap purposes).
Repped by David Dunn of Athletes First, Rodgers is reuniting with Jets new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who served in the same position in Green Bay for three seasons. The four-time MVP’s arrival marks the biggest offseason splash for the Jets in recent memory and concludes his prolonged divorce from the team that drafted him in 2005.
Rodgers publicly mulled retirement after the 2021 season and left the Packers in limbo again when the 2022 season ended without a playoff berth. Rodgers spent weeks deciding if he would return to the Packers, or the NFL in general, despite being on the books for $59 million next season. The QB-needy Jets had been looking to replace former second overall pick Zach Wilson at QB after his promising sophomore campaign suddenly turned sour.
Rodgers’ career on-field earnings top $300 million, and the Cal alum, who owns a minority stake in the Milwaukee Bucks, has endorsement deals with State Farm, Adidas, Pizza Hut and others.