At long last, the New York Jets have acquired four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers following an old-fashioned standoff. Let’s look at what a Rodgers-led offense looks like in MetLife Stadium as a member of the Gang Green.
Trade compensation, per sources:
????Aaron Rodgers, pick No. 15, a 2023 5th-rd pick (No. 170).
????Pick No. 13, a 2023 2nd-rd pick (No. 42), a 6th-rd pick (No. 207), a conditional 2024 2nd-rd pick that becomes a 1st if Rodgers plays 65 percent of the plays. pic.twitter.com/Q2vUMfyZGH
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2023
Rodgers is reunited with his offensive coordinator from 2019-21, Nathaniel Hackett, under whom he won two MVPs and led the second-best offense in expected points added (EPA) per play in those two elite seasons. Rodgers arguably experienced the best two seasons of his career in that span, producing a combined 94.1 passing grade, an absurd 9-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a 6.9% big-time throw rate. It was vintage Rodgers on display.
Compare Rodgers’ heroics to what the Jets have seen over the past three years at the position:
- 50.0 passing grade — last in the NFL
- -0.130 EPA per pass — last in the NFL
- 52 big-time throws — 31st in the NFL
- 87 turnover-worthy throws — 30th in the NFL
- 52.4% accuracy rate — last in the NFL
The quarterback position clearly held the team back from making the playoffs a year ago, squandering the NFL's fourth-best defense by EPA allowed per play.
With Rodgers, the Jets are an automatic playoff team. New York added Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman in free agency to complement 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson and former No. 5 overall pick Corey Davis. Rodgers and Lazard will have instant chemistry, as the wideout is coming off a career season in Green Bay amid a “down” year from Rodgers. Hardman will stretch the field and add blazing speed that defenses will be forced to honor.
Wilson earning rookie of the year honors amid the worst quarterback play in the NFL is a miracle. His 85.9 receiving grade ranked ninth at the position despite his seeing the fourth-most contested targets in the NFL. Known for his route-running ability, Wilson garnered the seventh-most contested targets when open by a step or more of separation, a sign of inaccurate quarterback play. Rodgers will give Wilson more clean catch attempts, leading to better efficiency per route.
A piece of the Jets that has seemingly been forgotten is running back Breece Hall, who played in only seven games in 2022 but provided an explosive element. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry, posted a 19.5% explosive run rate that ranked first in the NFL and recorded a 4.16 yards per carry after contact figure that also topped the charts. He was able to do this with the worst quarterback play in the NFL. While Rodgers will help the team immensely, Hall improving upon those numbers is unlikely, as they already are at the top of the NFL ranks. Hall’s presence can only help Rodgers and the passing attack, as the Jets will have explosive playmakers at every position on the field.
As we saw in Tampa Bay when Tom Brady joined the Buccaneers in 2020, an all-time great quarterback will make the Jets a Super Bowl favorite. While the collection of talent is less proven in New York than it was in Tampa Bay, it’s still very impressive and going to be orchestrated by a future Hall of Famer. Pair this offense with one of the best defenses in the NFL, and the New York Jets will be a force in an already stacked AFC.