The smoke surrounding the NY Jets' reported interest in Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has reached its highest level of the offseason to this point. And where there's smoke, fire is almost always present as well.
Seemingly everyone is aware of just how much the Jets want to trade for Rodgers. At least, that's the current buzz going around the NFL after last week's Senior Bowl.
SNY's Connor Hughes reported on Monday that "the Jets’ infatuation with Aaron Rodgers was the worst-kept secret at the Senior Bowl." Hughes does go on to say that Douglas isn't exactly going around telling people his plan, rather, people around the league are just connecting the dots.
Rodgers is perhaps the top veteran quarterback available. The Jets desperately want to add a veteran quarterback and have made that abundantly clear. They hired Rodgers' close friend and former coach, Nathaniel Hackett, to be their new offensive coordinator.
The assumption, and expectation, around the NFL is that the Jets are set to go all-in on Rodgers. As Hughes pointed out, teams believe they are "infatuated" with the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Aaron Rodgers is clearly the NY Jets' preferred quarterback target
For all the talk connecting the Jets to the likes of Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo earlier in the offseason, Rodgers has emerged as the obvious top choice for the organization. Hughes even straight-up declared Rodgers the Jets' "top option."
The plan right now seems to be a full-on pursuit of Rodgers. Their main competition appears to be the Las Vegas Raiders, who were recently spurned by the retiring Tom Brady. Rodgers might become their new top choice as well.
Meanwhile, the fall-back option for both teams appears to be Garoppolo. Whichever team misses out on Rodgers will likely be the favorite to sign the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
The issue, of course, is timing. While some believe that Rodgers could be moved before the start of free agency, others have speculated that it might take until June for the Packers to orchestrate a trade.
Rodgers' lack of certainty regarding his future definitely complicates the situation as well. The Jets might want to put all their eggs in the Rodgers basket, but there needs to be a contingency plan.
General manager Joe Douglas knows that this offseason is his last opportunity to prove that he deserves to stick around past 2023. The Jets need to make the playoffs, and the only way they will do that is if Douglas can find the team a quarterback.
Aaron Rodgers is the apple of Douglas' eye. The Jets have identified their top target. Now comes the hard part: actually making a trade happen.