Aaron Rodgers says he plans to end his 18-year association with the Green Bay Packers and join the New York Jets.
Green Bay made Rodgers, 39, the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback last year but gave him permission to speak with the Jets about a potential trade.
The NFL’s four-time Most Valuable Player met with Jets officials in his native California last week.
“I’ve already made my decision – this is just clearing things up for everybody that’s interested,” he said.
Speaking to The Pat McAfee show he said: “I think since Friday I’ve made it clear that my intention was to play and my intention was to play for the New York Jets.
“I haven’t been holding anything up at this point, it’s been compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me, and kind of digging their heels in,” he told the Pat McAfee show.
“It is interesting at this point to step back and take a look at the whole picture.”
A contract and trade terms are yet to be agreed, according to reports.
Rodgers spent four days on a “darkness retreat” in Oregon, confined to a 300-square foot dwelling that was partially underground, in February, the point of which was, he said, to be alone with his thoughts, to find full clarity and peace, and calibrate his emotions.
He said he was 90 percent certain that he was retiring before he went on the retreat.
Rodgers helped Green Bay win the Super Bowl at the end of the 2010 season but has had a strained relationship with the Packers’ management since they traded up to select Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft.
Green Bay agreed for Rodgers to be more involved in team discussions and restructured his contract, but despite being the NFL’s MVP for 2020 and 2021, Rodgers has been unable to reach a second Super Bowl.
And after failing to reach last season’s play-offs he had not confirmed whether he would continue with the Packers, retire or join another team.
After “emerging from his darkness” he felt something had changed within the Packers’ stance toward him, and he wished the team had been more direct with him about their plans.
“From my side all the love, appreciation and gratitude for everything Green Bay has done for me,” Rodgers said.
“It is what it is. The Packers would like to move on. They’ve let me know that in so many words, they’ve let other people know that in direct words.
“And because I still have that fire and I want to play, I’d like to play in New York, it’s just a matter of getting that done at this point.”
The Jets, who have the NFL’s longest play-off drought (12 years) and have not had a winning season since 2015, were looking for a new starting QB after losing faith last season with 23-year-old Zach Wilson, the number two draft pick in 2021.
They focused their attention on Rodgers after Derek Carr, 31, joined the New Orleans Saints following his release by the Las Vegas Raiders.
Rodgers has spent his entire NFL career with the Packers and is first in franchise history for touchdown passes (475) and second in passing yards (59,055) behind Brett Favre.
Coincidentally, Favre’s trade to the Jets in 2008 allowed Rodgers to become Green Bay’s starting quarterback after spending three years as the back-up, just like Love. The 24-year-old is now expected to replace Rodgers as the Packers’ starter.
Can Rodgers do with the Jets what Brady did with the Bucs?
The arrival of Rodgers would mean an immediate change in mindset for the long-suffering Jets.
After building a team for the future with their recent draft picks, the Jets have switched to ‘win-now’ mode having spent big on an aging quarterback to lead them.
Previously a defensive coordinator, new coach Robert Saleh has fixed things on that side of the ball. Now for the offence.
Despite having three starting quarterbacks last year, it was only a six-game losing streak at the end of the season that saw the Jets miss out on the play-offs.
Team owner Woody Johnson then said an elite quarterback was “kind of the missing piece”.
That’s how Tom Brady was described in 2021, just before he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl glory in his very first season after a glorious stint with the New England Patriots.
Now many are asking if Rodgers can do with the Jets what Brady did with the Bucs.
Source – BBC Sport
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