The NY Jets have until Wednesday to activate quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the injured reserve and add him to their 53-man roster. If he is not activated by Wednesday, Rodgers will revert to the season-ending IR and be declared out for the remainder of the year.
Rodgers and the Jets have both made it clear that he only planned to return from his torn Achilles if the Jets were still alive in the playoff race. Following Sunday's blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Jets were officially eliminated from playoff contention.
That should put to bed any thought of Rodgers potentially returning, right? Not so fast.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters on Monday that Rodgers "wants to play" against the Washington Commanders on Christmas Eve. This was, of course, the game that Rodgers had been targeting as a return date all along.
Saleh's words align with a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport earlier in the day. Rapoport suggested that while Rodgers is expected to push hard to return, "several very high-ranking members of the Jets front office do not want Rodgers on the field."
Rodgers wants to play, but the Jets are pushing back.
The NY Jets don't want to let Aaron Rodgers play again in 2023
It's easy to understand the perspectives of both sides here. Rodgers is a competitor. He wants to complete his historic return and prove his doubters wrong. He wants the months of grueling rehab to have meant something.
As for the Jets, they see no reason to risk possible re-injury to their star quarterback. The entire 2024 season — and the future of this regime — is dependent on the health and performance of Rodgers. Why risk jeopardizing that?
Ultimately, the Jets have the final say on whether or not Rodgers returns. While Rodgers undoubtedly has plenty of influence in the team's decision-making process, Rapoport's report suggests the Jets are prepared to put their foot down in this situation.
Now, don't be surprised if Rodgers is still activated to the 53-man roster. The Jets could always activate him and leave him as a game-day inactive for the remainder of the season. Perhaps that's the compromise the two sides agree to.
Either way, it seems highly unlikely that the Jets will allow Rodgers to play in a game this season. The effort he's put in to return this year is commendable and nothing short of remarkable, but the Jets must do what's right for both the organization and the player.