We are Aaron Rodgers “fans” here at The Daily McPlay, as has been demonstrated elsewhere. Today, the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets finalized a trade where the age-40 quarterback heads to the Big Apple to continue his career and quest for another Super Bowl ring. He only has the one championship, of course, so Rodgers thinks the Jets (!) are his best shot at securing a finale worthy of John Elway, perhaps. Or even Peyton Manning, right? Hmmm.

Rodgers certainly does not want to go out like Cheatin’ Tom Brady, either. So here is our question: Can Rodgers, at age 40, help the lowly Jets win a title in 2023? On the surface, we’d say no, and some reasons why will be explained below. Yet we have to dig deeper, of course, to look at both trends for the individual … and trends for the team. Read on and enjoy.

The Quarterback

At age 39 last year for an 8-9 team that blew its playoff chances in the final game at home against the Detroit Lions—who were eliminated from postseason contention already—Rodgers suffered just his second losing season as a starting QB … and probably had the worst statistical year of his distinguished career. His QB efficiency rating has dropped from 121.5 during the 2020 season down to just 91.9 in 2022. Now, there are some reasons for this, beyond just his age.

The Packers notoriously had an inexperienced receiving corps last year, and that saw Rodgers’ completion percentage drop from 68.9 percent in 2021 to just 64.6 percent in 2022. But the star QB also saw his four-year streak with the NFL’s lowest interception percentage end, as that mark jumped from 0.8 percent to 2.2 percent. Rodgers tossed 12 INTs in 2022, which was only the third time in his career he’s reached double digits. The other two times were in 2008 and 2010.

Those were the first and third seasons for Rodgers as the starting QB in Green Bay—and that was a long time ago. What could make him go from throwing just 15 INTs in the prior four seasons combined to throwing 12 picks in one year?! One comparison is the 2018 season, the only previous year where Rodgers had a losing record as a starter: at age 35, he still managed a 97.6 QB rating and a 0.3 INT percentage, the latter mark a career-best figure.

So, even on a bad team, Rodgers was still pretty good at age 35. But four years later on a bad team, Rodgers’ level of play had dropped off considerably. We have to feel at this point that he is not going to “improve” with a move to New York. He isn’t Brady, after all, benefiting from some hitherto unknown Fountain of Youth. Rodgers will continue to decline, and instead of making the team around him better, his level of play may only reflect the overall quality of the team itself.

The Team

What can we say about the New York Jets? Well, we just wrote a lot, in truth, in a strange coincidence of timing. The team has made just 14 postseasons in 64 years of existence, and the Jets haven’t played meaningful January football since the 2010 season. That is not a good long-term historical trend. More recently, though, the team has finished last in the AFC East Division seven times in the last nine years—including the last three in a row. And it’s only a 4-team grouping.

It’s not a good start to our analysis, but conversely, the team has improved from 2 wins in 2020 to 7 wins in 2022 under new coach Robert Saleh. In fact, the Jets were well positioned this past season for a playoff berth when the team got off to a 7-4 start, but New York lost its last six games while scoring just 15 combined points in the final three matchups. A trio of QBs threw at least 175 passes each: Zach Wilson (242), Joe Flacco (191), and Mike White (175). Recognize anyone?

Flacco, of course, was the Super Bowl MVP back in 2012 with the Baltimore Ravens, but he was 37 last season—and never was even near the same level as Rodgers. He’s won just three of his 17 starts in the last four seasons with Denver and New York put together. Flacco started four games for the Jets in 2022: the first, the second, the third, and the last—the only victory for the team came in the second game, a 31-30 thriller over the Cleveland Browns. He was ineffective, obviously.

Wilson was the second overall pick in the 2021 draft, and he posted a 5-4 record in his second season in the NFL. He took over for Flacco starting in Week 4 and took the Jets on a fun ride with victories in his first four starts of the year. But then reality hit a little, in the form of the New England Patriots, who downed New York twice in a three-game span. Wilson was benched at that point for White (see below), before starting two more games after White got hurt (both losses).

As for White … ahem. A fifth-round draft pick in 2018 of the Dallas Cowboys, we question why he was even on the roster—let alone getting four starts in a season where the team could have made the playoffs. White helped the Jets to their final win in his first start, against Chicago, and then he lost his subsequent three starts (all against playoff-bound teams). Clearly, the Jets needed a reliable QB to go along with their No. 4-ranked defense. The offense? Fourth-worst in the NFL.

Does a good quarterback change all that? Possibly: five losses came by a combined 25 points, and when you’re only scoring 15 points in the last three games while fielding a great defense, then … yes. A better QB is perhaps the chance at reaching the postseason, but the Jets also had no running game in 2022: no running back even gained 500 yards last year, and the N.Y. offense averaged less than 100 yards rushing per content as well. Here’s the details on that situation.

Rookie running back Breece Hall was doing great seven games into the season, but suffered a horrible knee injury in Week 7. Who knows if he’ll even be ready for 2023 come September? And if he is healthy enough to play, how much explosiveness did he lose after wrecking his knee? Tearing both your ACL and the meniscus is not good. If the organization is counting on him for 2023, it’s a big gamble. The RB sitch is murky, so onto the receivers.

The Jets had rookie Garrett Wilson last year, who delivered on the promise of his draft position (tenth overall). With junk QBs throwing him the ball, he still notched over 1,100 yards. They also have a solid tight end in Ty Conklin (552 yards), who entering his prime. Rodgers will make good use of both those guys, but New York would be wise to add more to the receiving corps: Corey Davis has some promise, but not even Rodgers (at this age) is that good of a magician.

Overall, New York is trending slightly up, although there is still some roster work on offense to be done. It should take 10 wins to get the Jets to the playoffs, and playing in a division with the Buffalo Bills (13 wins), the Miami Dolphins (9 wins), and the New England Patriots puts the team at a disadvantage already—looking up at three better teams. It will take more than Rodgers to get this team to the playoffs, although the Patriots are in somewhat of a transition right now.


Rodgers is a fading version of himself; if Hall is perfectly healthy, however, there’s a chance Rodgers could make a different for the Jets. The defense also needs to remain stellar, and with such an improvement from 2021 to 2022—the team surrendered 188 fewer points—there’s bound to be a little regression there. So, if New York manages to increase its scoring by 54 points to an average offense scoring 350 points, then the defense just needs to be a little bit better than that.

New York coughed up 316 points in 2022, an average of 18.6 points per game. Say the regression takes the Jets back to 21 points per game; that is about 357 points. We’re still looking at a situation, unscientifically, where New York is struggling to 8 or 9 wins again. And even this rudimentary guesswork is based on having a healthy Hall for a full season—which probably is not going to happen, either. We don’t see a pathway to the Super Bowl for Rodgers and the Jets in 2023.

The AFC is stacked: think about how Kansas City, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and San Diego all have good rosters right now, with Jacksonville waiting in the wings as well. Does Rodgers think the Jets are going to be able to overcome all those better teams in the end, to reach a Super Bowl? We do not, simply because Kansas City has hosted five straight AFC Championship Games now (winning three of them, along with two NFL titles), and Buffalo is an excellent team, too.

We know Rodgers can play football, but his age and the situation he is now facing are against him winning it all with the Jets. Maybe he is eyeing the Denver Broncos from 2015 as his model for success: all defense with a fading veteran QB at the helm of a pedestrian offense. There are worse recipes for success in the NFL, but there also are a lot of better ones. As we are wont to say here, only time will tell.