The Jets had a glimpse of themselves capable of winning arguably dozens of NFL Bowl games in 2023, thanks to the offseason success that saw Aaron Rodgers fly to New York this season (he had been four plays in — not even one pass on his record for the team) but his season was quickly cut short by an Achilles injury after coming in for only four attempts.
Although 2023 is not the year to be revisited, we’ll all be interested in knowing if Rodgers will retire rather than try to make a comeback for 2024. While he may not want this to end his NFL career, it’s understandable since the 19-year veteran will turn 40 in December and this injury is usually grueling to recover from, unlike him who returns to play in spring training.
With that in mind, let’s begin the journey of Rodgers leaving and what potential outcomes may arise for the Jets. What would be their next course of action in the position that has been a source of frustration for them for years?
Kirk Cousins is signed by the team during his free agency.
The profile of Kirk Cousins shows a strong presence in the team’s performance, with notable stats like touchdown completion, yardage utilization, and overall rating.
The Vikings have opted to extend their contract with Cousins until the end of his contract, but the team has not been clear on whether they want to keep him in Minnesota for an extended period, which could lead to his departure.
Although Cousins doesn’t have the same number of games as Rodgers, he would be better equipped to manage the offense and contribute to New York’s chances of making the playoffs. The 35-year-old, like RodGERs is a valuable addition to the team, with his consistent play over the years and 15 games in 2015 being just one of many ways they could capitalize on this opportunity.
The Jets’ salary cap space in 2024 through Over the Cap is $23.3 million, and Cousins would be a costly addition.
Drew Lock is available for signing during his free agency.
The profile of Drew Lock, the QB and SEA player, is as follows: 69%, 69.1 with a total of 460 TDs, 1INT, 8.36 with regard to yardage.
Instead of pursuing Rodgers-lite, as seen with Cousins, the Jets turned to Drew Lock, who signed with Seattle for Geno Smith. However, they will now try to find him again next season. Lock has been an efficient passer this offseason, posting a 69.1 completion percentage and averaged more than 8 yards per pass attempt during his time in Denver.
Although Lock’s ceiling isn’t as high as Rodgers, he could still be a cheaper option for New York and give them traction. Who knows? Perhaps Lock will experience emergence at quarterback like Smith did with the Seahawks and Ryan Tannehill upon his arrival in Tennessee, or even just score 20 touchdowns per game while struggling to secure playoff honors.
The 2024 NFL Draft will feature a new quarterback.
The Packers’ first-round pick will not be given to New York after Rodgers’ injury. In their previous trade, Green Bay was guaranteed the Jets first round pick in 2024 if Rodged played at least 65% of offensive snaps. However, now that he won’t play for the Packers in 2020, they will receive the team’s second-quarter pick.
If Rodgers decides to make it a career choice, the Jets will have an additional avenue to find their next quarterback. However, where that player ends up will be crucial.
The Jets’ roster could potentially reach the lowest point during their Wilson 2.0 experiment, despite their talent. If this scenario occurs, they can opt for USC star Caleb Williams to lead his team to the bottom of the league or enter the Drake Maye area as a top-five pick.
Maintain a relationship with Zach Wilson.
Zach Wilson, the QB who is now a sophomore in New York Jersey, has achieved 66.7 percent of his passers with 140 TDs, 1 INT, and 6.67 percent at wide receiver.
Although not the preferred route for many Jets enthusiasts, Wilson’s future as the team’d quarterback is still in question. I wrote in the past that Rodgers’ arrival offers Wilson an opportunity to develop and thrive under his mentor. However, I doubt that anyone expected this situation to be replicated. Wilson is no longer attempting to attain his former position as No. 2 pick after the 2012 NFL Draft, which was broken by the trade. He is instead being asked to protect the club from potential threats.
Might the decreased pressure be a key factor in Wilson’s improved performance this season, as it could result in him being given another opportunity to start during his final year on the rookie contract?