NY Jets continue to pass on signing Aaron Rodgers' 'buddies' in free agency

The Jets aren't signing Aaron Rodgers' "buddies" this offseason
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The NY Jets made one of the biggest moves in franchise history when they acquired four-time MVP and future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers.

Rodgers immediately established the Jets as legitimate Super Bowl contenders entering the 2023 season, and fans, players, and coaches alike were all admittedly starstruck by his arrival.

The fanfare was expected to some degree, and it was also understood that Rodgers would likely request the Jets bring in a number of his former friends, er, teammates from his days in Green Bay.

And that's exactly what happened. Unfortunately, that strategy didn't prove too fruitful for the Jets, especially once Rodgers was lost for the season to a torn Achilles. To their credit, the Jets have seemingly abandoned that strategy a year later.

Case in point: J.K. Dobbins. Despite rumors suggesting the Jets are all but guaranteed to sign a veteran running back this offseason, the Jets opted to pass on Dobbins — a player with direct Rodgers ties — as he signed with the Los Angeles Chargers this week.

Dobbins is another example of the Jets' philosophical shift this offseason.

The NY Jets didn't sign another Aaron Rodgers friend in J.K. Dobbins

It's hard to point to a single "Aaron Rodgers signing" made last offseason that worked out for the Jets. Players like Allen Lazard, Billy Turner, Randall Cobb, etc. all struggled mightily in their first seasons with the team.

Even offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, technically hired before the Rodgers trade but clearly brought in to attract the Hall of Fame quarterback, came under immense criticism as the mind behind one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

The Jets' approach this offseason has been different. Turner and Cobb are free agents and not expected to return. Lazard has been the subject of trade rumors and would likely be gone if the Jets were able to move off his contract.

The Jets have passed on signing so-called "Rodgers buddies" to this point. Players like David Bakhtiari and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were rumored to be top targets for the Jets. Instead, they signed Tyron Smith and Mike Williams.

Dobbins developed a close relationship with Rodgers last year as the two rehabbed their torn Achilles together. This led many to believe that the Jets could take a chance on the oft-injured Dobbins as an RB2 candidate in 2024.

It doesn't seem like the Jets showed much interest. That's probably for the best, given that Dobbins has played in just nine games over the last three seasons as a result of a torn ACL and torn Achilles.

It's hard to imagine Dobbins has much left in the tank at this stage. The Jets would be wise to sign a veteran running back, but free agents like Ezekiel Elliott and even Kareem Hunt make more sense for what the team is looking for.

The Jets need a complement to Breece Hall in the backfield. They need a reliable short-yardage back who can fill in as a pass blocker and pass catcher if need be on third down. That's not Dobbins.

Rodgers obviously still has an influence in the Jets' roster decisions — as should be expected for any star quarterback in the NFL. But the team is shying away from signing his "buddies" just for the sake of it.

That's a good thing for Aaron Rodgers and a good thing for the organization as a whole.