The State of the State: New Jersey

June 27, 2023

What’s Aaron Rodgers worth?

Will the fortunes of the grounded Jets take flight because of just one man?

Question: What exactly is an aging Canton-bound quarterback worth?

Answer (heard somewhere in Denver): “Nothing. Don’t do it. Don’t overpay. Don’t, just don’t.”

Answer (heard over dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, Fla.): “Best thing a basement-dwelling franchise can ever do; it’s a sure-fire way to instant competitiveness.”

One thing is for certain – Aaron Rodgers is more like Tom Brady than Russell Wilson. Rodgers, as odd as he might be, is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play; there’s no arguing that. What he can do for the Jets – or at least they’re hoping – should be more in line with what Brady did for the Bucs than what Wilson has done in Denver.

And let’s not forget, much of Denver’s masterplan prior to inking Wilson (to what looks like one of the worst financial decisions in the history of football), was to bring in Rodgers. Perhaps more interestingly, Nathaniel Hackett, Rodgers’ coach in Green Bay, was brought to Denver in hopes of luring the quarterback, too. That didn’t happen, and what followed can only be described as a major mess, a potluck gone wrong. In Hackett’s complex offense, Wilson floundered. Wilson is now much-maligned with a lot to prove and Hackett is now reunited – in New York – with the guy who was supposed to follow him to Denver. The whole situation is a bit circuitous, but the bottom line is that the Jets have ultimately pulled off what Denver was hoping to do more than a year ago. In other words, the Jet has landed – perfectly.

But back to Rodgers’ worth… to a bettor.

You like the Brady analogy? Why not take a flier on the Jets to win it all at +1400. After all, stranger things have happened (not many, but they have). But if you’re looking at a more reasonable, more realistic approach, look no further than the Jets win total, which hits the runway at 9.5.

Consider that the Jets ranked 29th in QBR (35.5) and 31st in TD passes (15) last season and still somehow won seven games. Consider that the Jets were 7-4 before dropping six straight to finish the season. Consider that they also lost to the Patriots twice but split with the Bills. The Jets were a strange team to say the least, showing a lot of potential but also a lot of inconsistency. Rodgers should bring out the best in his surrounding cast while navigating the ebb and flow of an NFL season considerably better than the likes Zach Wilson, Mike White and Joe Flacco.

Bottom line: Is Aaron Rodgers worth 2.5 more wins to any team? Is he worth 2.5 wins to a team that showed flashed but was bad when it came to the most important position in the sport?

You’d better believe he is.

The Bills may have been slightly exposed last season. The Dolphins might have been a one-hit wonder. The Patriots, ehem, no longer have Tom Brady.

And the Jets now have Aaron Rodgers. Over 9.5 wins? Yes please.

Steve Quinne’s pick: NY Jets over 9.5 wins in 2023 (-140)