Biggest questions surrounding Jets’ quarterback quandary

Who is going to be the Jets quarterback in 2023?

It is the question on every Jets fan’s mind right now and I’m here to tell you … I don’t know. This could go a number of different ways. I do know the Jets are open to all options and that is departure from years past. The Jets are ready to shoot their shot with the big-name quarterbacks if they get the chance.

While I don’t have the answer to the big question, here are some other quarterback questions I can answer as we wait for the Jets to figure things out:

When will we know if Aaron Rodgers is being traded?

Pretty much whenever Rodgers decides that is or is not what he wants. Rodgers really holds the cards on this one. The Packers seem ready to move on but not quite ready to push Rodgers out. So, this one feels like it truly is up to Rodgers.

There is no financial deadline here like in other cases. Theoretically, Rodgers could drag this out until right before the season. But the Packers and any team trading for him will need an answer fairly soon. I would say the beginning of March is a rough deadline. Teams will be preparing for free agency, which begins on March 15. The Packers will need to know if they have $60 million in cash tied up in Rodgers before they begin free agency. A trading team will need to know if it is now spending $60 million on Rodgers.

Rodgers said Tuesday on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he would make a decision in a few weeks. It sounded like he did not want his decision to take place before the Super Bowl. So that would leave two and a half weeks left in February. Things with Rodgers are usually not quiet, so he likely will either announce his decision or it will leak out that he is amenable to a trade. Then, the fun really begins.

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Getty Images

What are the biggest hurdles in a Rodgers trade for the Jets?

The biggest challenge is whether Rodgers will want the Jets. It is clear the Jets will make a run at Rodgers if he becomes available. Rodgers does not have a no-trade clause but no team is going to trade for him without his approval.

There are plenty of quarterback-needy teams to compete with the Jets. It has been reported and logically makes sense that the Packers do not want to trade him to an NFC team. That would leave the Jets’ chief competition for Rodgers as the Raiders, who have his old friend Davante Adams at receiver, the Titans and the Colts. The hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator may be an advantage for the Jets because of their close relationship.

If Rodgers does choose the Jets, draft compensation becomes the next hurdle and the Jets may want Rodgers to restructure his contract to lower the cash charge this year

Who will be the first quarterback off the board?

Derek Carr is the first name to watch. The key date is Feb. 15. That is the day his 2023 base salary of $32.9 million and $7.5 million of his 2024 base salary become guaranteed. The Raiders are trying to trade him but if they can’t get an agreement in place before then, they likely will cut him.

Teams expect Carr to be cut and then he could be signed immediately in February. He would not have to wait until March 15 like players on expiring contracts do.

This is where the timing of this all gets interesting. Does a team that is interested in Rodgers wait for him or jump on Carr early if it also likes him? It is going to be a game of chicken for some teams.

When will the market really heat up?

The combine begins on Feb. 27. That is when the offseason machine really gets humming. There surely were initial conversations this week at the Senior Bowl with teams and agents all in the same place, but most teams are still in the early stages of their offseason planning. By the combine, teams will have clear targets and early deals may even get done.

Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill

Is there a quarterback not being talked about enough?

The expectation from league sources is the Titans will cut Ryan Tannehill, who is currently scheduled to count for $36.6 million against the cap for Tennessee. He could be an option for the Jets if they don’t land Rodgers. He will be 35 this season but has shown he can thrive on a team with a good rushing attack and a good defense, the formula the Jets want to build. Tannehill will not be a sexy name for the fan base, but he is thought of highly by coaches and front-office types.

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