Arguably the biggest move from the 2023 NFL offseason came when the Green Bay Packers traded Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. Rodgers had served as the team’s starting quarterback for the past fifteen seasons and was a flawless transition from Brett Favre as the franchise quarterback for Green Bay.
During this fifteen-year stretch, Rodgers would throw for 58,726 yards, 474 touchdowns, and 104 interceptions in the regular season. In the eleven trips to the playoffs Rodgers would lead the Packers to, he would record 5,894 yards, 45 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Rodgers would establish himself as one of the most talented quarterbacks during his time in Green Bay, and he has left Jordan Love with very big shoes to fill as the new starter.
The deal would send Rodgers, the 15th overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, and the 170th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to the Jets. In return, the Packers would receive the 13th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the 42nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the 207th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and either a 1st or 2nd round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. If Rodgers plays in 65% of the Jets’ offensive snaps this coming season, the Packers will receive a first-round pick, however, if Rodgers fails to meet this quota, Green Bay will only receive a second-round pick.
It was clear for years that the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers’ front office was shaky at best. Arguably the breaking point between the two came when Green Bay would select Love with their first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Throughout the entirety of Rodgers’ time as the starting quarterback of the Packers, they had not used a first-round pick on a running back, wide receiver, or tight end that would help him in the passing game.
While it was clear for some time why Rodgers may have wanted out of Green Bay, the NFL world has still been waiting on the Packers’ motivations for moving on from their starting quarterback of the past decade and a half. Recently, it has been revealed why Green Bay finally decided to pull the trigger and get a deal done. NFL insider Albert Breer was quoted as saying, “They think they’re (New York Jets) getting a different player than the Packers got last year because of the level of engagement. Like they feel if Rodgers had been around (Green Bay) in April and May and Jone, it would have made a difference and is part of the reason why you didn’t see as much from those guys until later in the season. It was because he wasn’t there. And, so, like I think the early signs are good for now, whether or not you know he is physically what he was, all that different stuff remains to be seen. But the level of engagement was the difference in Rodgers last year too”.
Whether Rodgers was checked out in his final season with the Packers is a question that we will never know the answer to. While the Packers have established that they felt as if he was not, Rodgers went on the record multiple times through the 2022 season to say that if he was present with the team he was going to give 100%. However, his stats took a big hit in the 2022 season. In the previous two consecutive seasons, Rodgers had won MVP awards, however, he would not even make a Pro Bowl appearance in 2022. When comparing his stats from last season to 2021, he threw for 420 fewer yards, nine fewer touchdowns, and eight more interceptions.
While this may seem like this is a result of not being completely locked in, there were a couple of other factors that were potentially a play to result in the statistical drop-off. The first is that Rodgers hit the age of 39 in the 2022 season. While he was still a very solid starting option, the phrase of Father Time being undefeated is around for a reason. At some point, Rodgers will no longer be able to play at an MVP level. Whether this remains true in his first season with the Jets is up in the air.
Along with this, the 2022 season was Rodgers’ first season since the departure of Davante Adams. During their time together, Rodgers and Adams were the most lethal quarterback wide receiver duo that the league had to offer. Without Adams on the team, the Packers had a rough wide receiver room and Rodgers was expected to make it work with subpar talent compared to his MVP seasons.
It was clear that the breakup between Rodgers and the Packers had been brewing for some time, and it was only a matter of time before the team was forced to trade arguably the best quarterback that ever suited up for their franchise. With both sides starting off new chapters, it will be very interesting to see how the 2023 season plays out for them.
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