Rob Issa, FISM News
The only thing holding up Aaron Rodgers from joining the New York Jets is trade compensation.
The four-time NFL MVP announced his decision to leave the Green Bay Packers during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” on YouTube and Sirius XM on Wednesday. Rodgers spent 18 seasons with the Packers and replaced Brett Favre after the Hall of Famer was traded to the New York Jets.
“At this point, as I sit here, 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,” Rodgers said. “I haven’t been holding anything up at this point. It’s been compensation the Packers are trying to get for me, kind of digging their heels in.”
Rodgers believes the Packers want to move on and turn to Jordan Love, a first-round pick in 2020. He felt the team was moving in that direction but said management told him after the season they wanted him to return.
Rodgers said that sentiment changed after he emerged from a five-day darkness retreat and learned the Packers were asking other teams if they wanted to trade for him. He met with several executives from the Jets, including owner Woody Johnson, coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas at his home in Southern California last week.
“I have nothing but love in my heart for every Packer fan and everybody who works in the organization,” Rodgers said. “My life is better because of my time in Green Bay. But we’ve just got to look at the reality. They want to move on. They don’t want me to come back and that’s fine. They’re ready to move on with Jordan. That’s awesome. Jordan’s going to be a great player.”
The Packers finished 8-9 in 2022 and missed the playoffs. Rodgers spent time in Green Bay after the season talking to team officials to determine his future.
“Everything that I was told in the week that I was in Green Bay was: ‘Take as long as you want and we want you to retire a Packer. If you want to come back and play, obviously the door is wide open,’” Rodgers said. “That was the information I was going on.”
Rodgers said he was 90% retiring when he began an isolation retreat in Oregon in February.
“Now when I came out of the darkness, something changed,” Rodgers said. “I’m not exactly sure what that was, but something changed. … I realized there had been a little bit of a shift. I heard from multiple people that I trust around the league — players mostly — that there was some shopping going on, that they were interested in actually moving me.
“It was clear to me at that point, that although the Packers were going to say the right thing publicly, that they were ready to move on. I don’t know what changed that or what moved that — if they just said, ‘Hey, we need to make a decision here because he hasn’t made a decision here yet.’ Again, there’s no victims here. I’m not sitting here as a victim.”
The Jets have the NFL’s longest playoff drought and haven’t won a Super Bowl since Joe Namath led them to a victory over the Baltimore Colts in January 1969.
New York was 7-3 last season before losing the final six games. Their new offensive coordinator is Nathaniel Hackett, who held the same role in Green Bay when Rodgers won consecutive league MVP awards in 2020-21.
“There’s a lot of reasons why the Jets are attractive,” Rodgers said. “But there’s one coach that has meant as much to me as any coach I’ve ever had. And he happens to be the coordinator there.”
Rodgers led the Packers to one Super Bowl title following the 2010 season and was 147-75-1 in 223 regular-season starts. He was 11-10 in the playoffs.
The 39-year-old Rodgers is coming off a season in which he had his lowest passer rating as a starter (91.1) and threw 12 interceptions. The last time he had a subpar season by his standards he rebounded with back-to-back MVP campaigns.
“Coming to this reality has been really bittersweet,” Rodgers said. “I was drafted by Green Bay. I … love that city, love that organization. Always going to have love for that organization. But the facts are right now they want to move on, and now so do I.”