The New York Jets have been in talks with the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers this week about a possible trade of the four-time MVP to the Jets, according to sources.
A contingent of Jets team executives, including owner Woody Johnson, general manager Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, flew to California on Tuesday, sources said. However, it is unclear whether the meeting will ultimately result in trade.
The contingent of jets arrived at 12:49 p.m. PT at the airport in Camarillo, California, not far from Rodgers’ home. According to social media posts from the airport, Rodgers was seen greeting Jets officials. Johnson & Company was expected to fly back on Tuesday night.
When news of the California trip broke, two Jets players took to social media to recruit Rodgers to the team. tweeting at rogersCornerback Sauce Gardner said, “I promise if you become a Jet, I won’t sack you in practice and I’ll burn Cheesehead” – a reference to the Cheesehead he used to celebrate the Jets’ victory the previous season. Was worn for Lambeau Field.
Running back Breece Hall set up Rodgers as well, Tweet“I don’t mind…just revealing @AaronRodgers12.”
Rodgers still hasn’t made any announcement about what he wants to do in the coming season. It is still possible that he decides to retire or stay in Green Bay. But if he still wants to play and he and the Packers agree it’s time for him to play elsewhere, the Jets appear to be a realistic option.
If the Jets are talking to Rodgers directly, he and he would have to get the Packers’ permission, as he is still under contract with Green Bay. So, Rodgers’ discussions with the Jets indicate at least some openness on the part of the Packers to make a trade there.
But there are potential complications to a deal, including Rodgers’ massive and complicated contract, which could be addressed to ensure both teams are in compliance with the salary cap by the start of the league year next Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Rodgers is under contract through 2024 for $108.8 million. Technically, the contract, signed last March, runs through 2026, but 2025 and 2026 are considered “dummy” years for cap purposes. His deal includes $59.5 million fully guaranteed this season, with $58.3 million coming in the form of an option bonus, payable before the start of the regular season.
Because his bonus amount is prorated, Rodgers will not clog the Jets’ cap. He will count on $15.8 million in 2023 and $32.5 million in 2024, which is favorable for a player of his stature.
The Packers would face a $40.3 million “deadweight” fee in 2023 – about $9 million more than he would count for if he were on the roster.
The Jets expressed interest in Derek Carr meeting with him twice, but he treated him as a fallback option. The sources said that Rogers has always been their No. 1 priority in the quarterback market. Carr agreed to a four-year contract with the New Orleans Saints worth up to $150 million.
The Jets have been focused on Rodgers since the start of the offseason, when owner Woody Johnson told reporters he would be “absolutely” willing to make a big investment in the quarterback. Team officials have made it clear in recent weeks that Zach Wilson, drafted No. 2 overall in 2021, is not considered the primary starting option. Their hope is to develop him into a backup role.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini and Rob Demowski contributed to this report.