After numerous ayahuasca trips and two days in complete darkness, Aaron Rodgers has made his decision to join the Jets. It’s not official yet, but it seems like the 39-year-old will be headed to New York sooner rather than later.
The Packers will now presumably turn to former first-round pick Jordan Love at quarterback. Love has one career NFL start and was viewed as a project coming out of Utah State, so we’ll see whether his time sitting behind a future Hall of Famer helped.
Meanwhile, the Jets get one of the biggest QB upgrades imaginable going from a combination of Zach Wilson and Mike White to one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. New York already boasted one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses in 2022 — led by Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner — to go along with one of the best young skill groups in the league with Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. The only thing between the Jets and championship contention was a QB, and they’ve solved that problem in a big way. With that being said, let’s dig into how this trade affects both offenses.
Old projection: 367.5 completions on 575.8 attempts for 4188.3 yards, 27.9 TDs, and 10.0 interceptions
New projection: 372.8 completions on 579.7 attempts for 4323.4 yards, 28.0 TDs, and 10.0 interceptions
- Rodgers limped to a QB13 (and only a fringe top-24 finish on a per-game basis) finish in 2022 with a receiving corps that starred Allen Lazard and Christian Watson, but he has much better weapons in his arsenal with Gang Green. The days of Rodgers finishing as a high-end fantasy QB1 are likely behind him on account of his lack of rushing volume and advanced age, but Rodgers is still a good real-life QB capable of providing top-12 fantasy production. He doesn’t have the upside of a Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson, but he’s still a workable fantasy option in best ball formats. Treat him as a borderline QB1 (perhaps more of a high-end QB2) in New York.
Old projection: 80.2 catches on 135.9 targets for 1,037.7 yards and 4.5 TDs
New projection: 80.9 catches on 132.7 targets for 1,100.7 yards and 7.4 TDs
- We have the Jets’ pass rate decreasing, as they should be better offensively (and Rodgers’ teams have historically not been super pass-heavy), leading to a slight decrease in volume, but the uptick in efficiency with Rodgers under center makes Wilson project better overall.
- Wilson shipped Offensive Rookie of the Year honors despite dealing with one of the worst quarterback situations in the league. Now, he gets a first-ballot Hall of Famer slinging him the rock. The Ohio State product recorded a 23.4% target share as a rookie, including at least a 23.9% target share in five of his final six games. Our 24% target share estimation for 2023 didn’t change with the Rodgers news, but the team-level shift to a more efficient offense overall bumped Wilson up in our projections. Previously a low-end WR1, Wilson should flirt with a first-round ranking given his status as the WR1 for Aaron Rodgers.
OTHER JETS PLAYERS
- A rising tide lifts all boats, and Garrett Wilson isn’t the only Jet to benefit from the Rodgers addition. Breece Hall was simply electric over the first seven games, averaging 5.8 yards per carry and notching 31 targets before injury prematurely ended his season. The Jets were 29th in both points (17.4) and touchdowns (1.6) per game in 2022. Those numbers should jump with Rodgers at the helm, and Hall is the favorite to handle all high-value touches — both at the goal line and as a pass catcher — for New York. They may still rotate backs as they did with Hall and Michael Carter early in the year, but Hall’s iron clasp on the touches that actually matter for fantasy solidifies him as a second-round selection in fantasy drafts.
- Elijah Moore‘s future is uncertain after the Jets added multiple WRs (hand-picked by Rodgers) to lure him to the Big Apple. He had a tremendous injury-shortened rookie season before moving in and out of the doghouse as a sophomore. We’ll see whether he gets moved in the coming months. If he enters 2023 as the Jets’ starting slot, there’s upside here.
- Corey Davis could be threatened by the addition of Lazard, who figures to see the field immediately given his rapport with Rodgers and his run-blocking ability. Like Moore, he is a candidate to play elsewhere in 2023.
OTHER PACKERS PLAYERS
- The Packers are looking at a complete offensive overhaul. Love is a total question mark and the receiving corps right now consists of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure. When healthy, Watson was sensational last season on limited looks and should easily pace Green Bay in target share next year, but his efficiency numbers could take a massive hit sans Rodgers. Doubs was the opposite, generally struggling with efficiency (6.3 yards per target as a rookie) but outperforming expectations volume-wise with 67 targets as a Day 3 rookie. The Packers could look to add a WR — could Elijah Moore be part of the trade package sending Rodgers to N.Y.? — but this passing offense has a wide range of outcomes with Love at the helm.
- Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon both take sizable hits if they remain with the Packers. The volume should still be there for both, but the upside they had with Rodgers engineering the offense no longer exists. Jones did manage an RB11 per-game finish in 2022 despite Green Bay’s overall offensive struggles, but it’s hard to imagine him posting another top-12 season in a split backfield on a bad offense.
- We probably still have more questions than answers about the G.B. offense at this point. With Rodgers gone, they could embrace the rebuild and have a totally different offense come September compared to what they have now.