The New York Jets are stuck between a rock and a hard place, otherwise known as Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr. On one hand, the quarterback upgrade they’ve been clamoring for just ghosted everyone so he could embark on a darkness retreat. After two decades in Green Bay, it’s fair to wonder if he’s up to becoming the face of a marquee team in the media capital of the world.
As for the former Las Vegas Raiders QB, he visited with the Jets brass over the weekend and was ebullient about the visit, according to his brother and former NFL signal-caller David Carr. While Rodgers’ connection to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has been analyzed to death, the younger Carr has a connection with new Jets quarterback coach Todd Downing, who was a Raiders assistant during Carr’s prime Pro Bowl seasons between 2015 and 2017.
ESPN NFL reporter Jeff Darlington also described Carr’s visit as a very positive meeting,” while adding that “the Jets really believe Carr is the type of QB that can lead them to a championship.”
The leaks even prompted Jets cornerback D.J. Reed to facetiously offer his No. 4 jersey to Carr.
What will Aaron Rodgers have to say when he returns from his retreat?
Imagine Rip Van Winkle Rodgers’ surprise to find out how the tide has changed when he emerges and ESPN, Pat McAfee, and the rest of the football world are raving about Derek Carr’s meeting with the Jets. This entire situation is ludicrous, but this is how the Jets operate.
From Brett Favre to Tim Tebow vs. Sanchez to Sam Darnold to the Zach Wilson and Mike White tug-of-war, the Jets are regular participants in public quarterback auditions.
I’m starting to think Aaron Rodgers doesn’t want the New York Jets starting job that badly. And Gang Green should be a little concerned about this. If he’s planning on approaching the Jets with the same apathy he’s shown the Packers in the offseason, they should just move on.
Unfortunately, their only viable alternative behind Rodgers is Carr. Let’s put aside the voluntary solitary confinement Rodgers has subjected himself to. Carr being a free agent is less complicated — bringing him in will only cost money, whereas New York will have to trade several picks, and possibly players, to land Rodgers.
Carr is sitting there in unemployment putting his best foot forward, handing out resumés and shaking the owners’ hands in pursuit of the Jets vacancy. Meanwhile, Rodgers is living out the generational trauma he experienced as a young Packers backup by turning into late-30s Brett Favre and toying with the Jets. Carr’s enthusiasm over Rodgers’ apathy is his strength here.
Carr himself is the modern Joe Flacco. Is he elite? Probably not, but teams seem intent on treating him like he’s on the cusp of greatness when he probably peaked in the 2020 season. To Carr’s credit, he’s humble enough to know that if teams are going to roll out the red carpet for him, he’s going to take advantage. If he had his druthers, the ascendent Jets are the best option for his career and a non-existent brand compared to the rudderless Saints. With one of the best defenses in the NFL behind him, Carr may only have to be as good as a contemporary Flacco. Maybe that’s enough for the Jets too.