ESPN suggests NY Jets should've chosen Teddy Bridgewater over Aaron Rodgers

NY Jets, Teddy Bridgewater
NY Jets, Teddy Bridgewater / Kevin R. / USA

The NY Jets made one of the most high-profile moves of the offseason when they traded for future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers under center, the Jets believe they can be legitimate Super Bowl contenders this season, and they're not alone in that belief.

Numerous analysts have referred to the Jets as dark-horse Super Bowl contenders in 2023, and many believe the addition of Rodgers will help catapult the franchise to new heights this season. Not everyone believes that, however.

ESPN's Bill Barnwell recently ranked each NFL by how much they improved this offseason, and the Jets came in at a lowly 23rd on the list. The reason for this? Barnwell doesn't seem to believe they made the right decision at QB.

Barnwell argued that the cost it took to acquire Rodgers wasn't worth it while suggesting that the Jets could have had a "perfectly acceptable" quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater for a much smaller price,

Included in that price, according to Barnwell, was not only Rodgers' dollar figure but also the draft picks it took to trade for him, the uncertainty surrounding Rodgers' future, and "adding Rodgers' friends to come along for the ride."

Barnwell also insists — incorrectly, of course — that the Rodgers trade "cost the Jets" Georgia offensive tackle Broderick Jones in the 2023 NFL Draft. In reality, the Jets never planned to draft Jones. That much has been made abundantly clear at this stage.

Here is an excerpt from Barnwell's article in which he attempts to explain why Bridgewater, who remains a free agent in June, would have been a better option than one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Keep in mind that Barnwell later mentioned Jacoby Brissett as another superior option to Rodgers.

"Yes, the Jets needed to upgrade at quarterback. Let's say that they could have had Teddy Bridgewater, who has been perfectly acceptable for teams with great defenses in the past, with his tenures in Minnesota and New Orleans as recent examples. Bridgewater is nine years younger than Rodgers, has been beloved everywhere he has gone as a pro and is still available as an unrestricted free agent."

Bill Barnwell

The NY Jets were right to choose Aaron Rodgers over Teddy Bridgewater...obviously

There's so much that's wrong with Barnwell's argument that it's difficult to know where to begin. Let's start with the obvious, though. Neither Bridgewater nor Brissett should be seen as acceptable starting-caliber quarterbacks on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

Bridgewater is unsigned in June for a reason. Brissett is serving as Sam Howell's backup in Washington for a reason. While both are perfectly capable fringe starters, it would have been complete malpractice for the Jets to target either player as a starter this offseason.

This is a Jets team that, on paper, has one of the better rosters in the NFL. Why settle for low-end starters when you can swing big on a player like Rodgers and at least try to compete?

Barnwell also suggests that trading for Rodgers forced the Jets to hire Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, forced them to sign Allen Lazard, and forced them to sign others such as Billy Turner, Randall Cobb, and Tim Boyle.

Did the addition of Rodgers likely influence some (if not most) of those additions? Sure. But it's also very possible (and perhaps) likely that the Jets would have hired Hackett and targeted Lazard, regardless of Rodgers.

Hackett has history with Robert Saleh and fits the profile of what the Jets were looking for in an offensive coordinator. The same is true for Lazard, who fits the Jets' offense to a tee.

Not to mention, the Jets are paying Lazard, Cobb, Boyle, and Turner a combined $8.5 million this season. They didn't exactly break the bank to sign "Rodgers' friends."

Barnwell is incorrect in his assertion that the Rodgers trade forced the Jets to miss on the player they wanted in the draft, he's incorrect in his insinuation that Rodgers is not a significant upgrade over Bridgewater/Brissett, and he's incorrect in suggesting that the Jets went all out to sign "Rodgers' friends" this offseason.

Barnwell actually used Rodgers' poor QBR last season as another justification for why the Jets may have made a mistake.

"We know they needed to upgrade at quarterback, but they also just acquired a 39-year-old quarterback who just posted the league's 26th-best QBR, wedging Rodgers firmly between Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson."

Bill Barnwell

Of course, if we're using QBR as a metric, Tua Tagovailoa was a top-three quarterback last season. Jacoby Brissett was better than Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. Daniel Jones was a top-six quarterback. Marcus Mariota was better than Trevor Lawrence.

I think it's safe to say that QBR is not the best way to determine the quality of a quarterback. Barnwell must've missed that memo, however.

Look, maybe Rodgers fails miserably in New York. Maybe last season was a sign of things to come, and Rodgers regresses significantly with the Jets. Maybe this turns out to be an utter disaster for the organization.

Trading for Rodgers would still have been a better move than signing Bridgewater or Brissett because at least that means the Jets went for it. They tried to compete with the NFL's elite. They didn't settle for "acceptable." They didn't resort to signing a fringe starter.

3 standouts and 1 dud from second NY Jets open-media OTA practice. dark. Next. 3 standouts and 1 dud from second NY Jets open-media OTA practice

The Jets traded for one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play this sport. If it blows up in their face, so be it. At least they went down swinging.