After weeks of speculation, Aaron Rodgers has finally spoken. No transaction has been made official but Rodgers’ intentions are clear. Appearing for a highly anticipated interview on The Pat McAfee Show Wednesday, Rodgers says he wants and expects to play for the New York Jets in 2023. And that has an impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a couple of different ways.
Rodgers offered a lengthy review of what’s happened since the offseason, saying the Packers told him to take all the time he needs at the start of the offseason. He took a five day “darkness retreat” and upon exiting it, saw reports of the Packers’ organization looking to move on from then. That led to Rodgers’ decision to want to go somewhere else and choose the Jets as his next team.
Rodgers said he entered his darkness retreat 90 percent sure he was going to retire but changed his mind, perhaps in part to spite Green Bay, which seemed to turn the page.
Rodgers told McAfee’s show he is not holding up a trade between Green Bay and New York. The two sides haven’t agreed on compensation and that’s the reason why a deal hasn’t been struck. But it seems inevitable, Rodgers admitting him returning to Green Bay isn’t an option, and he is fully expected to be playing in New York after 18 years in Green Bay.
Throughout the interview, Rodgers took several jabs at the Packers, accusing them of not being transparent enough with their plans. He noted the change in the front office over the years, losing the people who drafted and developed him, including the late Ted Thompson, GM of the Packers when Rodgers was drafted in 2005.
Rodgers is a ten-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, four-time MVP, and surefire first ballot Hall of Famer. For his career, Rodgers’ 475 touchdown passes are fifth most in league-history and he has a chance to surpass ex-Packer Brett Favre in 2023.
The Steelers will host the Packers sometime in 2023 so Rodgers’ decision is notable from that perspective. Instead, the Packers will roll with Jordan Love, their first-round pick in 2020. Love has only started one career game and attempted 83 total passes. In the interview, Rodgers spoke highly of Love and believes the Packers will be successful with him.
While the Steelers won’t face the Jets in the 2023 regular season, his inevitable move only makes the AFC stronger. The conference has the majority of the league’s top quarterbacks now, including Rodgers, and New York becomes a contender on the back of a solid defense and — finally — good quarterback play. That makes it all the more important for Kenny Pickett to develop into the Steelers’ next franchise quarterback. Without one of those, it’ll be hard to win in the AFC.