Rodgers continued: “And I haven’t been holding anything up at this point, it’s been compensation that the Packers are trying to get for me, and kind of digging their heels in, so it is interesting at this point to step back and take a look at the whole picture. From my side all the love, appreciation and gratitude for everything Green Bay has done for me… And also the reality of the situation, like it is what it is. The Packers would like to move on. They’ve let me know that in so many words, they’ve let other people know that in direct words. And because I still have that fire and I want to play, I’d like to play in New York, it’s just a matter of getting that done at this point.”
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported on Wednesday that the Packers and Jets continue to negotiate trade terms, however Green Bay is not seeking multiple first-round draft picks in a deal. Pelissero added that Rodgers’ current contract includes a $58.3 million option bonus that has a deadline of the day before the Packers’ 2023 season open to be exercised.
As the NFL world has awaited Rodgers’ next move — not his decision, which Rodgers already made clear Wednesday — secondary pieces carrying connections to Rodgers have shifted. Nathaniel Hackett, Rodgers’ former offensive coordinator in Green Bay, now holds the same title in New York. Rodgers’ trusted receiver, Allen Lazard, agreed to a four-year deal with the Jets on Tuesday. Everything appears to be falling into place.
But contrary to popular belief, this is not the product of Rodgers playing kingmaker. The Jets aren’t working through a checklist to secure Rodgers, the quarterback said.
“That’s so ridiculous,” Rodgers told The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday. “I’ll speak for myself. I’m sure there will be people that have their sources, but from what I’m seeing, I had a sheet of paper when I met with the Jets and said sign these people. That’s not the reality. It’s so stupid to think that I would do that, No. 1. Now, did they ask me about certain guys I played with over the years? Of course. Did I talk glowingly about teammates that I love? Yeah — why wouldn’t you? Like, do I love those guys on the list? Of course.
“Do I make demands about certain people? … I mean, It’s just … and it goes to just like, people want these things to be so true. They’re like, I’m in this meeting, you know, dressed in ceremonial regalia giving them some sort of hand-written on parchment demand list of people they need to sign. Listen, I think objectively a lot of people can look at Allen Lazard and go, ‘He’s a really good player. We would love to have him on our team.’ And then anybody with a brain would maybe call me on any team and go, ‘What kind of locker room guy is Allen Lazard? What’s his work ethic like?’ And I would say, ‘He’s f—ing great dude. Anybody would be lucky to have him in the locker room. If somebody asks me about Big Dog (Marcedes Lewis) or Cobby (Randall Cobb) or I don’t even know who else is on that list, I’d say the same thing. … First of all, who wouldn’t want Odell (Beckham) on their team? Like, c’mon, what are we talking about here? I don’t have demands. My only demand is transparency and if you say some bulls—t, like, sometimes it’s not even worth it.”
Rodgers pushed back against a similar narrative as it relates to Hackett, whom he described as “not just a f—ing great human, he’s a great football coach.”
If ever an interview is deserving of a summary, it was this one, and it comes down to a few key points: Rodgers knows the Packers don’t want him anymore, he still wants to play, and he sees New York as an ideal fit for his goals. It helps that a couple of friendly faces are already in place in New York, but he didn’t demand they be with the Jets to convince him to join the team — which still isn’t a reality. And he holds no ill will toward Green Bay — at least, not the city or the franchise’s devoted fans.
Oh, and there’s one more thing — he knows he’s a legend in Green Bay, and isn’t afraid to talk about it. All that’s left, Rodgers believes, is to give him a proper exit.
“Well listen, I think my plea is, and I will say this is debatable, but I would say 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, Bart (Starr), Brett (Favre), a number of names have been incredible, but can’t debate anybody’s been there longer than I have. And nobody has bled green and gold like me.
“I love that city, I love those fans, and I love that region. … It was never about that. Now it’s about the reality of the situation, and I think there are probably people who are really wanting to move on, and I get it. I’m not upset about it, I have nothing but love in my heart for every Packer fan. My life is better because of my time in Green Bay. But we just got to look at the reality.
“They want 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. And Jordan’s going to be a great player, he’s a f—ing great kid, he had a really great year this year, and is getting better. He’s got a bright future ahead of him, and they’ve got a good young team. … But the fact of the matter is you have an aging face of the franchise for the last 15 years that it’s time to do right by.”