After months of speculating and waiting, the New York Jets finally did it – they have traded for Aaron Rodgers.
While this move has been talked about for months, there was a continual hang-up over Rodgers’ recent extension and how the Green Bay Packers would be compensated in return.
The Packers' patience was rewarded with a hefty package of draft picks from the Jets.
Trade compensation, per sources:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2023
🏈Aaron Rodgers, pick No. 15, a 2023 5th-rd pick (No. 170).
🏈Pick No. 13, a 2023 2nd-rd pick (No. 42), a 6th-rd pick (No. 207), a conditional 2024 2nd-rd pick that becomes a 1st if Rodgers plays 65 percent of the plays. pic.twitter.com/Q2vUMfyZGH
As a part of the trade, Rodgers will sign a revised deal in the coming days. In that new contract, the Packers will likely end up eating the majority of Rodgers’ 2023 cap hit (which is now $40M per Green Bay Gazette’s Ryan Wood).
The Jets are officially all-in for 2023. They gave up two premium picks to get this deal done in what could be a one-year deal for the soon-to-be 40-year-old Rodgers – who has hinted at retirement in each of the last three offseasons.
The thing is, who can blame the Jets for making the move? This roster is ready to make a run in the AFC even for as strong as the conference is now. And as far as QB upgrades go, this is about like the Broncos going from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning in 2012.
Mike White was by far the most effective signal-caller the Jets had under center last year, but even he was below league-average by EPA per dropback (-0.02) and YPA (6.8).
On the season, “The Jets Team QB” finished 26th in Adjusted Net Yards per pass attempt and 30th in EPA per dropback. Yikes.
Aaron Rodgers had a down year to his standards last year after winning back-to-back MVPs in 2020 and 2021, but you don’t have to look too deep under the hood to figure out why. Without Davante Adams and behind an aging offensive line, Rodgers had his worst career season by Adjusted Net Yards per pass attempt – which factors in INTs and sacks.
The Jets are hoping Rodgers can have a Brady-like resurgence in his early-40s and with a significant upgrade in weapons, it’s easy to paint that optimistic picture.
After opening up at 25/1 to win Super Bowl LVIII, the Jets are now the sixth-biggest favorites at 14/1.
Aaron Rodgers fantasy football impact
At worst, Rodgers is going from a bottom-3 WR/TE corps to a top-15 group led by one of the game’s true young phenoms in Garrett Wilson.
Anyway you slice it, Wilson was phenomenal with every Jet QB not named Zach Wilson and was extremely well-deserving of Rookie of the Year honors. He was the Jets' offensive MVP.
In the nine games that Zach Wilson started last year, Garrett Wilson averaged just 8.8 fantasy points and 49.7 yards per game. In those nine starts, Wilson had just three games where he finished better than WR30 in weekly scoring and only one top-12 (WR1) performance.
In the eight games that Wilson did not start, the dominant rookie wideout averaged 17.3 fantasy points and 82 yards per game. That output would have made him the WR9 over DeAndre Hopkins (17.1 FPG) as 4 of Wilson’s 5 best games were non-Zach starts.
So, the question becomes – just how good can he be with Aaron freaking Rodgers?
Not only is Wilson already one of the best route runners in the game, he displayed fantastic ability after the catch by finishing fifth among 78 qualifying receivers in missed tackles forced per reception (0.23) – just behind A.J. Brown (0.25).
Wilson also led the Jets in end-zone targets (11), but he only converted those looks into 2 TDs. As Rodgers' lead target, that TD number is going to rise in 2023. Based on the receivers that saw similar end-zone target volume as Wilson did last year, we would expect him to have +1.7 more TDs.
I think Wilson will be a top-15 pick – right on the top-12 borderline – in summer fantasy drafts.
Allen Lazard (signed three-year deal), Mecole Hardman (signed one-year deal), and Corey Davis round out a deep veteran Jet four-receiver set. While Lazard is one of Rodgers’ guys, I’m not sure he is someone that can really threaten Garrett Wilson’s target dominance in this offense.
Keep in mind, this is the same Lazard that took a back seat to Christian Watson last year once Watson finally got healthy. Watson was targeted on 28% of his routes, while Lazard was down to 22% in the Packers' final eight games.
In best ball, I will absolutely be taking cheap late-round shots on Mecole Hardman and Corey Davis to round out Jets team stacks. Hardman will absolutely have a spark-plug role in this offense, while Davis is going to likely wind up way cheaper than Lazard.
TE Tyler Conklin averaged 44% more fantasy points per game with Flacco and White under center compared against starts with Zach Wilson. As of right now, he’s penciled in as their Week 1 starter. The Jets brass could absolutely use #43 overall on their tight end of the future and get an additional weapon for Rodgers. However, Conklin would be a sneaky fantasy winner if not.
Breece Hall fantasy football projection
Breece Hall is a very tricky projection for 2023.
He was incredible in his rookie season and looked like he was on the precipice of a massive breakout, with 609 scrimmage yards in his first six games. Remember, Hall was largely a part-time player to start the season. Hall’s snap rate increased steadily from Weeks 2-6 (27% > 51% > 66% > 69% > 67%) prior to his unfortunate injury.
The tricky part comes in projecting his return from knee surgery (ACL + meniscus).
Per Edwin Porras’ research, the average return time for a running back coming off an ACL tear is 10.7 months. Hall will be 10 months out from surgery in mid-September.
Hall was going a few spots ahead of Nick Chubb in Underdog Fantasy’s Big Board best-ball tournament, which is a price I could not justify. Just imagine how high Hall’s ADP will skyrocket this summer if there are positive reports around his rehab.
Ultimately, I tend to be a little more risk averse when it comes to RBs in their first year back from ACL injuries – especially when the opportunity cost is a runner of Nick Chubb’s caliber.