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Jets, Packers Blockbuster Trade

Aaron Rodgers is finally headed to the New York Jets.

The Jets and Green Bay Packers completed the long-discussed trade for Rodgers on Monday, with the conditions including a first-round pick swap, ESPN and NFL Network reported.

The Jets and Packers are swapping first-round draft picks in this week’s draft, allowing the Packers to move up two spots to No. 13. Green Bay is also receiving one of the Jets’ two second-round picks, No. 42 overall; a 2023 sixth-round pick; and a conditional 2024 second-round pick that will become a first as long as Rodgers plays 65 percent of the Jets’ offensive snaps next season.

In addition to receiving the 15th overall pick from Green Bay, the Jets picked up a Packers fifth-rounder. The blockbuster deal comes just days before the NFL draft begins this Thursday. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said getting 2023 draft compensation in a Rodgers deal was important to the front office.

“We’ve been working on this for a while,” Gutekunst told reporters Monday afternoon. “To get beyond the draft I think would have been tough for both teams.” The four-time MVP is expected to solve the Jets’ long-running quarterback woes and help the team make a run at the playoffs. Rodgers is expected to wear No. 8 with the Jets, the number he wore in college at Cal, ESPN reported, despite getting the blessing of Joe Namath to wear No. 12.

With the NBA’s Sacramento Kings making their first postseason since 2006, the Jets have the longest active playoff drought in the four major professional sports leagues, having last made the promised land in the 2010 season.

Rodgers, 39, has thrown for 59,055 yards, 475 touchdowns and 105 interceptions in his 18-year career with the Packers, who drafted him 24th overall in 2005 as an eventual successor to Brett Favre. Rodgers’ long run with Green Bay, which included the Super Bowl XLV title in 2010, ended with two-plus tumultuous years between the franchise and star player. ESPN reported hours before the 2021 NFL Draft that Rodgers vowed never to play for the Packers again, though it was soon smoothed over. He signed a three-year, $150.8 million contract extension in March 2022.

After the 2022 season ended with the Packers missing the playoffs, Rodgers said he planned to enter a multi-day “darkness retreat” to help himself sort out his future. In a March appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers bemoaned the lack of “direct communication” from the Packers over the winter, said that “something changed” within the organization and announced he wanted to be traded to the Jets. At the time, Gutekunst said that he reached out to Rodgers “many times” over the offseason and Rodgers never called him back. On Monday, Gutekunst said he still hasn’t spoken directly with Rodgers, only to his agent, David Dunn.

A deal between the Packers and Jets had been held up for weeks due to reported squabbles over draft-pick compensation. The Packers wanted to receive at least a first-rounder but settled for a first-round pick swap; the Jets were looking for some form of insurance in the event that Rodgers retires after 2023, which does not appear in the deal initially reported Monday.

Rodgers was named NFL MVP in 2011, 2014, 2020 and 2021, but he endured one of the worst seasons of his career in 2022. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 3,695 yards and 26 touchdowns while tossing 12 interceptions.

Without Rodgers on the roster, Jordan Love is next in line for the Packers’ starting quarterback job. They selected Love in the first round of the 2020 draft, which Rodgers later admitted “surprised” him and may have set the wheels in motion for a divorce.

Love has played sparingly in his three years with the Packers, throwing for 606 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in 10 games (one start).

–Field Level Media


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