New York Jets coach Robert Saleh confirmed in a Tuesday news conference quarterback Aaron Rodgers has torn his Achilles tendon, ending his first season and will be out for the year after four offensive snaps. Saleh also said Zach Wilson is “our quarterback” and there’s no competition. Here’s what you need to know:
- Saleh said Wilson, the Jets’ No. 2 pick in 2021, has grown in confidence and that he can handle this moment. He added Wilson is “leap years” from where he was a year ago.
- The Jets have started to reach out to veteran free-agent quarterbacks, per league sources. Saleh said the team is “looking through some things” in adding a quarterback, but made it clear that Wilson is their quarterback.
- Saleh didn’t have specific details on Rodgers’ injury, but he will have surgery. “I feel more for Aaron more than anyone,” Saleh said. “He’s invested so much into this organization, wanting to be a part of what we got going here … I have a lot of emotions for him.”
Rodgers, making his much-hyped New York debut on “Monday Night Football,” suffered the injury when Buffalo Bills defensive end Leonard Floyd sacked him on the team’s opening drive. After getting up, the 39-year-old dropped back to the turf and limped off the field with help from trainers before being sent for X-rays.
Wilson replaced Rodgers in Monday’s game and threw a touchdown and an interception in the team’s stunning, come-from-behind 22-16 overtime win. Rodgers attempted just one pass — an incompletion — before the injury.
His contract with the Jets runs through the end of next season. In July, the two sides agreed to a reworked contract worth $75 million guaranteed. The deal saves the Jets around $35 million guaranteed, spreading the cap hit over five years.
Aaron Rodgers had expressed to #Jets coaches that he doesn’t like the play-calls involving the cut-blocks because he can’t extend the play and it forces him to get rid of the ball quickly, sources tell me and @DMRussini.
It failed twice on his four drop-backs — one resulted in…
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) September 12, 2023
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
What’s next for the Jets?
Rodgers’ injury news doesn’t come as a major surprise — but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. It’s almost as if the last five months of bliss with Rodgers as the Jets quarterback didn’t even happen — and now the Jets are back where they started, with Wilson leading the way. The difference: Last season the Jets didn’t have high expectations. This year, they were dreaming of the Super Bowl.
Wilson was solid at times against the Bills, but he ultimately made a lot of the same mistakes he did in a miserable 2022. The plan was always to sit him for the 2023 season and let him learn from Rodgers, with the goal being that he could eventually replace Rodgers. If all went according to plan, Wilson never would’ve played at all. Now, he’s the starter again in Week 2 — and it’ll be interesting to see if Joe Douglas works to add a veteran in free agency like Matt Ryan or Joe Flacco, or via a trade like Jameis Winston. — Rosenblatt
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What’s next for Rodgers?
As for Rodgers, it will be interesting to see how motivated he is to return as a 40-year-old coming off an Achilles injury or if he’ll ultimately decide to retire. From the Jets’ perspective, Rodgers getting knocked out for the year means that they’ll at least recoup their first-round pick in 2024.
The trade with the Green Bay Packers had conditions on the pick that if Rodgers played at least 65 percent of the snaps this season, the Packers get a first. If not, they get the Jets’ 2024 second-round pick. Well, he won’t reach that threshold. — Rosenblatt
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