With the Aaron Rodgers trade expected to happen at some point soon, the Jets’ odds to win the Super Bowl next season are now +1400. New York opened at +2500 the day after Super Bowl 57.
There is a widespread rendering that the Jets will be a serious Super Bowl contender once we actually know for sure Rodgers will be wearing green and white in 2023.
The Jets now have the sixth-best odds to win Super Bowl 58 on DraftKings Sportsbook. The general narrative on the Jets’ outlook with Rodgers is that the team will be an instant Super Bowl contender with their hole at quarterback being filled. The popular thought process is that the Jets are simply a quality QB away from being a top team in the AFC. Acquiring a guy who won MVP honors in 2021 and 2020 should conceptually elevate the Jets into or near the same class as the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals.
Rodgers can certainly make the Jets a true playoff team for the first time since 2010. He would qualify as their first real star QB since Joe Namath. The longest playoff drought in the NFL and the annual and extensive lists of gut-wrenching disappointments that have plagued the franchise has generated a great fan desire for real relevancy.
Bringing in Rodgers would indeed boost the fortunes of the team immediately. But to expect them to be among the favorites to win the AFC in his first year with the team might be expecting too much. Rodgers is still a good NFL QB, but he may have slipped past his prime at age 39. There are other concerns to address on the roster, and it’s a lot to ask of a still-retooling team to gel and make a championship push.
The reality is that Rodgers has won two playoff games since 2016. While a broken thumb suffered in Week 5 and a lack of proven receiving options contributed to a disappointing 2022 season, it was apparent that other factors were at play.
Consider these recent comments from a top NFL scout via Sports Illustrated.
“He just can’t move as well as he used to,” the scout said.
“And his arm has taken a dip. It’s not poor, but it’s not what it used to be. Because of his play style, it doesn’t lend to the same level of efficiency that (Tom) Brady had once he really couldn’t move anymore. Aaron is built on holding the ball and making stuff happen off-schedule. When you can’t move as well, you lose that component.”
It is obvious that any QB option besides Zach Wilson will be viewed as an upgrade. But the Jets may not be getting the 2021 MVP edition of Rodgers. They might be getting the well-used, frayed around the edges version. He should still be one of the better QBs in the AFC, but acquiring him is no instant route to being able to knock off Kansas City, Buffalo, or Cincinnati.
We must also keep in mind that while Rodgers will have a better-supporting cast with the Jets than he did with the Packers, he will have to progressively mesh with them in his first season with the team.
Garrett Wilson already models as one of the top young wide receivers in the NFL, but he is obviously not playoff tested. Breece Hall is recovering from a major injury. Mecole Hardman is new to the team, and so is Allen Lazard, even though he has past experience with Rodgers. Expecting Rodgers and his new crew of playmakers to come together for a Super Bowl run right away may be setting the bar too high.
The Jets’ defense is unquestionably one of the best units in the entire league, but it does have some concerns to still address in free agency and the draft. The defensive line needs to be beefed up more, and last year’s shaky safety play was certainly a concern heading into the offseason.
Even if the team makes more upgrades and moves, the reality is that the Jets roster may look impressive on a computer screen, but the continued reworking of the roster needs time to yield ideal results. Immediate changes do not necessarily lead to immediate Super Bowl contention.
It’s not impossible for the Jets to win the AFC in 2023 with Rodgers, yet I would be very skeptical that they could pull off such a feat.
Expecting the team to come together quickly and outlast the likes of the Chiefs, Bengals, and Bills in the postseason may prove to be too much of a lofty illusion.
The expectation should be that the Rodgers-led Jets can take the first steps together toward true contention in year one and maybe make that Super Bowl push in year two.
Increased expectations should be blended with some patience. This current version of Rodgers may not be capable of taking a seven-win team to a Super Bowl title right away. That is putting too much emphasis on one move to suddenly catapult the team into elite status.
Being a Jets fan should be a lot more fun in 2023 once the Rodgers situation is wrapped up. Looking for him to catapult the Jets to a Lombardi Trophy bid right away, though, is likely an overreaction.
Yet it can indeed be a big step in that direction for such a potential push in a two-year window.
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