What Are The Jets Getting In The Aaron Rodgers Trade?

We have emerged from the darkness. Aaron Rodgers has been traded to the New York Jets.

Over a month after Rodgers stated his intention was to play for the Jets in 2023, the trade was made official just a few days before the 2023 NFL Draft.

What did the Jets Get in the Aaron Rodgers Trade?

According to Adam Schefter, the Green Bay Packers will send Aaron Rodgers, the 15th pick, and the 170th pick to the Jets for the 13th, 42nd, and 207th picks in the 2023 draft with a conditional 2024 second-round pick that will turn into a first should Rodgers play at least 65% of the snaps.

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That 2024 conditional is significant. It means Rodgers could still potentially retire after playing 66% of the offensive snaps during the upcoming season and the Jets would still owe the Packers a first-round pick.

It’s been hard enough to figure out what Rodgers was going to do for this season, so let’s not waste too much time thinking about 2024.

Still, it is something that bears watching considering Rodgers said he was 90% leaning toward retirement when he entered his darkness retreat this offseason.

If we take the value of the 2024 pick to be somewhere in the middle of the conditions — say 32nd overall — the trade values Rodgers around the fifth overall pick, according to our blend of pick values.

Considering just the 2023 draft value, Rodgers was traded for the equivalent of around the 44th pick.

Another holdup was Rodgers’ contract.

He currently has a $59.5 million option bonus that needs to be picked up, and it appears he will sign a reworked contract that will help the Packers make the trade and put that on their cap, per Tom Pelissero.

The Packers will likely lose some cap space with this move even with the reworked language, but this is not about 2023 for the Packers.

Jordan Love will get his chance as the starting quarterback, but the move from Rodgers, along with the 2024 pick, is about setting up the next stage of the Green Bay franchise and less about building a contender this season.

Over The Cap currently has the Jets with $7.9 million in cap space, and the NFLPA report has the Jets at $8.4 million. Either way, some cap moves will be coming for the Jets.

This is quite a swing for New York but a necessary one given where the Jets currently are.

Few teams — if any — were derailed more by quarterback play last season. The Jets, as a team, were 29th in EPA per pass play in 2022. On the other side, the Jets were fifth in EPA per play overall on defense, per TruMedia.

We know defensive success is difficult to sustain for multiple years. and even as young as the Jets’ stars are on that side of the ball — it should be noted they were the 14th-oldest defense by snap-weighted age last season — there is a bit of that reality being accounted for.

Relying on the defense to be good could have left the Jets to wander around the mid-tier quarterback market this offseason, targeting a Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett.

In those scenarios, the Jets would still have to rely on being a top-five defense in order to contend in the AFC and even within the division.

Trading for Rodgers is an attempt to jump into the top-tier of quarterback play in a division with Josh Allen and a conference with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, and Justin Herbert.

At his best, having Rodgers provides the Jets with an offense that can allow a bigger margin for error on defense should some regression come in 2023.

What are the Jets getting from Aaron Rodgers?

Considering the quarterback will turn 40 years old in December and is coming off one of the worst years of his career, the question now is what version of Rodgers will the Jets be getting?

Rodgers followed up back-to-back MVP seasons with his first year of negative EPA as a starting quarterback.

He finished 24th among quarterbacks in EPA per play during the 2022 season, just two spots ahead of Russell Wilson, a player deemed a complete disaster following his trade to the Denver Broncos.

To understand why Rodgers struggled so much in 2022 is to get inside his head, and none of us are qualified enough to do so.

There were times last season when Rodgers looked like he was actively rebelling against the offense while playing in it.

For a quarterback who thrived on chemistry with receivers, especially Davante Adams, on screens and trust in one-on-one situations, Rodgers was less inclined to make those throws last season.

Let’s take the screen game. From 2020-2021, Rodgers was ninth in EPA per play on wide receiver and tight end screens (0.08) with a 50.5% success rate.

In 2022, Rodgers still threw a heavy dose of those screens but dropped to -0.30 EPA per play, 26th in the league, with a 37.3% success rate.

Without those automatic safety nets in the offense, Rodgers had less trust in the offense overall.

Just 50.6% of Rodgers’ completions resulted in a first down or touchdown (21st), and 39.4% of his completions gained 10 or more yards (28th).

Most concerning was what he did from a clean pocket.

Rodgers ranked 30th in EPA per play from a clean pocket. The qualified quarterbacks to rank worse were Carson Wentz, Davis Mills, and Baker Mayfield.

What stands out there is that Rodgers is playing more from the pocket.

At 40 years old, he can’t move and create the way he used to, so his throws from the pocket have increased from 79.7% in 2020 to 83.0% in 2021 to 85.1% in 2022.

He’s had negative EPA outside of the pocket in each of the past two seasons.

In 2021, he was able to make up for it with his play from a clean pocket, but with that efficiency tanking in 2022, there was not enough to make up for the lack of mobility.

Take a quarterback who needs structure more than he ever has and add in the least amount of trust the quarterback has ever had in the offense and you get what happened in 2022.

But at his best, Rodgers still had the flash throws that made him one of the best quarterbacks of his generation. The ability is still there, but how often it comes out will be the biggest question.

The hope, of course, is that new surroundings with an offensive coordinator he trusts and ascending skill players will get the most out of him and complete buy-in from the quarterback.

Those skill players could be the key. While what the Packers had out there in 2022 could develop into a decent receiving corps, there were a lot of plays left on the field by the pass catchers last season.

Garrett Wilson was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2022 while catching passes from the revolving door of inefficient Jets quarterbacks.

He can win in the short and intermediate areas, which could immediately help his chemistry with the quarterback.

Allen Lazard was Rodgers’ trusted go-to without Adams in the lineup, and he signed with the Jets this offseason as a likely precursor to the Rodgers trade.

Corey Davis or Denzel Mims could be something, maybe. Then there is Mecole Hardman, who has thrived on the jet sweeps and screens that Rodgers has used so often.

The Jets have done just enough to create an environment that should be appealing and work for Rodgers.

Not only has the franchise shaped the offense, but they have also thrown all the eggs in the Rodgers basket, especially without any of the safeguards protecting them from Rodgers retiring after the 2023 season.

It is a lot for the hope of contention and appeasing a 40-year-old quarterback, but it is also the reality of the situation.

The current version of Rodgers, even with a bounceback from 2022, is no longer the type of quarterback able to lift up an offense on his own. The Jets, even with their successful defense, were not going to be a team that could drag an average at best offense to the playoffs.

They need each other. Both the player and the team have a lot invested in this working out.

The Jets might have invested more than most would have expected when these trade negotiations started, but that is a gamble the Jets are willing to take.

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