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Aaron Rodgers to New York Changes the Landscape of the AFC

Football, NCAAF, CFB, NFL article at Knup Sports

Aaron Rodgers is finally on the move. How does this impact the NFL?

In mid-March, quarterback Aaron Rodgers confirmed rumors while on The Pat McAfee Show by proclaiming his intention was to play for the New York Jets. But the following weeks bore little fruit from that tree. While the Jets were signing former teammates of Aaron Rodgers’, no deal for the 39-year-old Super Bowl champion was close to completion.

The Art of the Deal

That is, until Monday. The New York Jets and Green Bay Packers have finally come to an agreement in which Aaron Rodgers, the 15th overall pick and a 5th-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft were shipped to New York in exchange for the 13th overall pick, a 2nd-round pick, a 6th-round pick, and a conditional 2024 2nd-round pick that becomes a 1st-rounder should Aaron Rodgers play 65% of plays in the 2023 season.

The complexity of this deal is no doubt what caused the month-long holdup despite both sides being willing. Green Bay was dead-set on getting a 2024 first-round pick, but New York was determined to make it conditional so it doesn’t feel as though they’ve lost the deal if Aaron Rodgers underperforms.

Contention in the AFC

Aaron Rodgers’ new home in New York spells trouble for not only the AFC East, but the entire conference as well. The Jets showed some promise last season, their defense making immense strides. The offense was frustratingly unproductive, however, thanks in large part to young quarterback Zach Wilson. Rodgers will relieve Wilson of his duties, providing stability and veteran leadership to an offense in much need of it.

The Buffalo Bills are the reigning champions of the division, but their hold on first place will be tested by the rise of the Jets. New England and Miami, who both have potential to contend in the division, can no longer look past the Jets as they’ve done in the past.

The rivalry between the Patriots and Jets, specifically, will be interesting to watch. The Patriots have owned that matchup for the better part of two decades, their last loss to New York coming in 2015. The jets may just be able to conquer their boogeyman in the closet with Aaron Rodgers at the helm.

The rest of the conference is in for a test, as well. The Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions, have had a strangle-hold on the conference in recent years having appeared in five-straight AFC championship games. The Cincinnati Bengals have also seen much success in the last two seasons. Both of these teams will need to be on the lookout should Aaron Rodgers and the Jets emerge as a true threat.

Looming End

There is still much about this deal that remains uncertain, though. Aaron Rodgers, at age 39, is in the twilight of his career. New York just gave up quite a bit to acquire him, including potentially two 1st-round picks. That’s a massive risk to take on an aging veteran who hasn’t made a Super Bowl since the 2010 season.

Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time to be a fan of the New York Jets.

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