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Wednesday September 27th

Aaron Rodgers tears Achilles, out for season as Jets move on without their star

Jets new quarterback Aaron Rodgers at his introductory press conference on April 26, 2023 (Photo Courtesy of MikeyStrikes/Flickr).
Jets new quarterback Aaron Rodgers at his introductory press conference on April 26, 2023 (Photo Courtesy of MikeyStrikes/Flickr).

By Eddie Young
Sports Editor

Only four plays into his Jets career, star quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a complete tear of left Achilles tendon. He has been ruled out for the rest of the season as he recovers from and rehabs this injury. 

In April, the New York Jets pulled the trigger on a splash trade to acquire Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers, where he had 18 seasons, 15 of them as a starter. Rodgers and the Jets were the talk of the NFL in the offseason, with many people having different opinions on how the future first-ballot Hall of Famer would do with his new team. 

After taking only four offensive snaps with his new team, though, Aaron Rodgers had his season cut short after he tore his Achilles while being sacked by Buffalo Bills edge rusher Leonard Floyd. 

The Jets were able to rally together and pull off a tough overtime win over the Bills in their Monday Night Football matchup, a game that ended up being the most watched Monday Night Football game of all time. However, the team won behind a stellar performance from the defense and special teams, and not because of backup quarterback and former second overall pick, Zach Wilson. 

Wilson is now in line to be the Jets starting quarterback for the rest of the season. After being the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, the Jets gave him two seasons to prove himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL, but his subpar performances week after week led the Jets to go out and get Aaron Rodgers instead of giving Wilson another season as the starter. Many fans and analysts have been clamoring for New York to bring in a new quarterback instead of handing Zach Wilson the keys for a third season.

If the Jets do choose to go with another quarterback, then there are many players available as free agents that they could bring in. 

Joe Flacco, a former Super Bowl MVP with the Ravens in 2012, is currently a free agent, and has been one of the Jets backup quarterbacks for each of the last three seasons, meaning he knows the coaching staff and it would be an easy assimilation process for him. However, he is now 38 years old and has not started for a full season since 2017, so he may not be an option at the top of the list for New York. 

Also available in the free agent market is Nick Foles, Carson Wentz, Colt McCoy, and Matt Ryan. However, due to age concerns, injury concerns and subpar play plaguing the four in the past few years, many do not see them as great options to replace Aaron Rodgers, even though they would be easy to get.

New York could possibly go down the trade route to bring in a new quarterback, too. Former starters like Gardner Minshew, Jacoby Brissett and Teddy Bridgewater are all currently backups on other teams throughout the league, but there is no guarantee that any of their teams will be willing to give up their backup quarterback that easily. 

However, with the loaded quarterback class, headlined by USC’s Caleb Williams and UNC’s Drake Maye, coming out in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft, many teams may be willing to move off their starting quarterbacks to tank in the draft. 

Matthew Stafford of the Rams is getting older and was injured for most of last season. The Rams need draft capital, and sending their Super Bowl winning quarterback to Jets may be a way to acquire some. 

Kyler Murray of the Cardinals is currently recovering from a torn ACL, but he will come back at some point this season. The Cardinals roster is nothing short of abysmal, and all signs point to them getting a top pick in the next draft and taking a new quarterback while moving off Murray. Murray may be a bit of a wild card due to his injury and massive $230 million contract, but his talent is undeniable and would definitely help an Aaron Rodgers-less Jets team. 

Lastly, Baker Mayfield just signed a one year contract to be the Buccaneers starting quarterback, but even after an upset week one victory, it seems unlikely that Tampa Bay is going to go far with him at the helm this season. To them, Baker is a bridge quarterback and not a long term solution. Mayfield has led the Browns to the playoffs before, and the Jets could possibly be interested in letting him lead their playoff push this season if Tampa Bay moves off him and chooses to tank. 

This upcoming Sunday, Sept. 17, though, Zach Wilson will be leading the New York Jets offense. In his third season as a Jet, there is a very real possibility that the team ignores all outside options and, once again, gives him the keys to the franchise for another season.


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