Aaron Rodgers is with the New York Jets. Thank goodness it finally happened. The anticipation was annoying, and resulted in me gaining more knowledge of Rodgers’ personal life than I cared to have.
Did he bail early on his darkness retreat? Outside of the one-liners it gives me for the Green Bay Packers fans in my life, I wish I never knew that he went. I am just with Rodgers keeping his quest for self-aggrandizement between him and Pat McAfee until the end of time, but his playing football for the Jets is interesting.
The Jets are loaded with talented offensive players — namely Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall — and they brought in former Rodgers’ target Allen Lazard, as well as the QB’s former coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett. New York’s defense will also likely not be one of the league’s most disappointing units like the Packers’ was last season. As rough as the Jets’ quarterback room got last season, Gang Green’s stout defense still nearly dragged the team to the postseason. This situation gives off the appearance of a Super Bowl contender until a close look is taken at one position group — the offensive line.
Questions along the O-line
The Jets re-signed their starting center from last season, Connor McGovern, on Monday. He was a decent player for them in 2022, and was in such demand as a free agent that they inked him to a new contract just before the Draft. The Jets were linked to Jake Brendel who re-signed with the San Francisco 49ers, and Pro Bowler Ben Jones, who was released by the Tennessee Titans due to a “failed physical designation” and still remains a free agent.
A player who was supposed to be an anchor on the Jets’ offensive line was Mekhi Becton. They selected the 6-foot-7, 360-plus pound tackle with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Due to injury, through three seasons he has only played in 15 games. For most of the 2022 season, New York started 37-year-old Duane Brown at left tackle. Early in the season, he was dealing with an injury, being replaced by George Fant — the guy he had replaced in Seattle. Then after he got hurt, the Jets had to move guard Alijah Vera-Tucker to tackle until Brown was healthy enough to play.
The Jets allowed 42 sacks last season with Joe Flacco, Zach Wilson, and Mike White all playing at QB at various points. For his career, Rodgers has been sacked 530 times.
Offensive tackle is not considered the strongest position in the 2023 draft. Paris Johnson Jr. is considered the best at that position in the draft, which makes it highly unlikely that he will fall to the Jets at No. 13. They can draft a center later, but Rodgers probably wouldn’t be thrilled to line up behind a rookie.
For all of the hype that the Jets will have going into this upcoming season, if they can’t keep the 39-year-old Rodgers off of the turf they will not be able to compete in a stacked division. Literally every other team in the AFC East made the playoffs last season.
If Rodgers is constantly peeling himself off of the ground, or upsetting timing by throwing too quickly so he can avoid getting hit — the peace and clarity that he found in the darkness will not be on display. It will be the same irritation that made little effort to hide for much of the 2022 season.
The Jets got who they wanted. We’ll see if they all still love each other come Halloween.