Aaron Rodgers has made his intentions clear — he plans to be back this season. It doesn't matter if the NY Jets are actually in playoff contention or not. That was seemingly all a ploy to motivate his team, although it didn't exactly work.
Rodgers plans to return to the field this season, no matter what happens with the Jets over the next couple of weeks. In fact, we might not even have to wait a couple of weeks.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Sunday that there's a chance Rodgers could return to practice as soon as this week. Yes, you read that right. Roughly 2.5 months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles, Rodgers could be back on the field.
Rapoport reported that, while next week is a more realistic timetable for Rodgers to be designated to return from the injured reserve, there's an outside chance he could be back on the practice field in the next few days.
The Jets are very receptive to the idea of Rodgers returning. They shouldn't be.
The NY Jets should put their foot down with Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers' motivations for a return are evident at this point. He isn't particularly concerned with saving a Jets season that is, for all intents and purposes, already lost. His goal is to prove that he can accomplish something that no other individual has ever achieved.
He wants to prove his doubters wrong, and while that may be a noble cause, it doesn't exactly help the Jets. In fact, the Jets have everything to lose and very little to gain as it pertains to Rodgers potentially returning.
Rapoport made it clear that the Jets are not considering any major changes to the current regime this offseason. That means Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh, and Nathaniel Hackett should all be back in 2024, regardless of what happens down the stretch.
Rodgers should be back, too, although there's no denying that he will put himself at an increased chance of re-injury if he returns to the field. Even if he's cleared, the possibility of re-injuring his Achilles will be high.
That puts his status for the 2024 season in jeopardy. Now, if Rodgers were to re-tear his Achilles this year, there's still a decent chance that he would be ready for the start of the 2024 season. But now you'd have a 40-year-old quarterback coming off of two torn Achilles in the span of a few months.
That's far from ideal and would likely raise quite a few red flags about his health for next season. There's also the possibility that Rodgers simply decides to call it quits if he suffers the same injury again.
And to be honest, how can you blame him? Recovering from an Achilles tear is a grueling rehab process, as Rodgers has himself stated. Doing that twice in a calendar year takes its toll. There's no guarantee Rodgers would want to go through that process again.
ESPN currently gives the Jets a one percent chance of making the playoffs. Pro Football Focus' calculations give them a two percent chance. Barring a miracle run that sees the Jets win out, they're essentially guaranteed to miss the postseason for a 13th consecutive year this season.
Rodgers returning doesn't boost those odds if they're already eliminated. Sure, maybe you get to see if Rodgers can work in a Nathaniel Hackett-led offense, but this isn't the offense the Jets will be rolling with next year anyway — especially not this offensive line.
Bringing Rodgers back jeopardizes the future of the organization for very little (if any) gain. Quite frankly, it would be a self-centered move on the part of Rodgers. His goal seemingly isn't to help his team — it's to prove a point.
Rodgers' rehab process has been admirable and downright impressive, but there comes a point when the Jets need to put their foot down. There's no reason to rush anymore. Aaron Rodgers shouldn't return this season.