5 key takeaways from Aaron Rodgers' interview on 'The Pat McAfee Show'

Ryan Wood
Green Bay Press-Gazette

GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers’ mind is already with the New York Jets, even if his contract still belongs to the Green Bay Packers.

The four-time MVP quarterback made clear Wednesday on the “Pat McAfee Show” he intends his next pass to be thrown wearing Jets green, not Packers green. Rodgers said he was leaning 90% toward retirement before his darkness retreat, but he heard the Packers were “shopping” him in trade talks, and changed his mind. It was shortly after he decided he wanted to play for the Jets.

After a meeting with Jets management and coaches last week, Rodgers said he provided an answer on his decision Friday.

The purpose of Wednesday’s appearance, Rodgers said, was to provide clarity from his perspective on what has happened behind the scenes.

Here are five key takeaways from the interview.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leaves Lambeau Field on Nov. 13 after the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys.

Why a Packers-Jets trade for Aaron Rodgers hasn’t happened already

Rodgers said the only thing holding up a trade is the Packers’ desire to get what they consider adequate compensation. He didn’t specify what the team is looking for in a return. “I made it clear my intention was to play, and my intention was to play for the New York Jets,” Rodgers said. “I haven’t held anything up at this point. It’s just compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me and kind of digging their heels in.” While Rodgers expressed gratitude for his 18 seasons with the Packers, and made clear “I am not a victim,” he is clearly frustrated with the delay. “There’s a way to do it that allows the man to keep his dignity,” Rodgers said.

Aaron Rodgers felt increasingly excluded from the changing landscape in Packers’ management

Before revealing his plans, Rodgers set a backdrop of a changed landscape within the Packers front office. The people making decisions when he was drafted in 2005 were entirely different, starting with former general manager Ted Thompson being replaced by Brian Gutekunst. As the front office changed, Rodgers indicated the organization’s priorities shifted to the future. Rodgers said he wouldn’t have been sold on returning to the Packers in 2023 because he sensed even last season the team was ready to move on with former first-round quarterback Jordan Love, who Rodgers has always viewed as his eventual replacement. “We’ve got to look at the reality,” Rodgers said. “They’re ready to move on. They don’t want me to come back, and that’s fine. They’re ready to move on with Jordan. That’s awesome. Jordan is going to be a great player. He’s a (expletive) great kid. He had a really good year this year getting better on the look team. He’s got a bright future ahead of him, they’ve got a good, young team.”

Were there any demands regarding a trade for Aaron Rodgers?

Rodgers said he had an approximately four-hour meeting with the Jets in Las Angeles last week. The Jets have since appeared to be clearing the landscape to sign Rodgers, including agreeing to a four-year, $44 million contract with receiver Allen Lazard this week. Rodgers refuted an ESPN report that he gave the Jets a list of players he demanded they sign to facilitate a trade. “It’s so stupid to think I would do it,” Rodgers said. Instead, Rodgers said he was asked about teammates he’s played with, and he gave some glowing reviews. Rodgers also declined to answer whether he’ll be involved in the Jets’ offseason program, something he did not participate in during the past few years with the Packers, but could be especially important as he joins a new offense.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers intends to play for the Jets next season, which would end his Hall of Fame career in Green Bay.

Why Aaron Rodgers wants to join the New York Jets

There were other teams that expressed interest in trading for Rodgers, the quarterback said. He made clear at least one would have been an ideal fit, indicating a desire to reunite with former top receiver Davante Adams in Las Vegas. The Packers traded Adams to the Raiders last offseason, but ultimately the Jets surfaced as Rodgers' destination. One major draw, Rodgers said, was reconnecting with new Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Rodgers won his past two MVPs with Hackett as the Packers offensive coordinator. Hackett left last year when he was hired as the Denver Broncos head coach but was fired before his first season completed. Rodgers said his relationship with Hackett is as close as anyone who’s ever coached him.

Aaron Rodgers lends perspective on his legacy with Packers

Rodgers allowed it isn’t a surprise the Packers, in his opinion, have haggled over the compensation they’ll get in a trade. He believes it’s connected to his legacy with the team. “I’m debatably the best player in franchise history,” Rodgers said. “I’m in the conversation for sure. What’s not debatable is I’m the longest-tenured Packer in history. You can debate the first part, obviously Bart, Brett, a number of names have been incredible, but you can’t debate anybody has been there longer than I have. And nobody has bled green and gold like me. I mean, I love that city, I love those fans, I love that region, and I’ve never been a free agent. I’ve never even got there. yeah, the team has done it, but I’ve never said, ‘You know what, let me test free agency here. I kind of want to get out of here. This weather, whatever it might be, I need a new (place).’ No, it was never any of that. Never that. I loved Green Bay. I do love Green Bay. I mean, I love the people.”

Team president/CEO Mark Murphy said over the weekend the Packers will induct Rodgers into the franchise’s hall of fame one day. Even if it isn’t a permanent departure between the quarterback and team, Rodgers’ last pass for the Packers likely came last season.

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