Rich CiminiESPN staff writer3 minutes to read
Phoenix – after several weeks of pursuing a quarterback New York Jets owner Aaron Rodgers and Woody Johnson are eager to end trade with the Green Bay Packers.
“Well, you know, I think we’re worried. We’re worried,” Johnson told a small group of reporters Tuesday at the NFL’s annual meeting. “I think, as we look forward, we’re hopeful. But we do have a plan, so we’re willing to stick with our plan. And I don’t think anybody’s breathing heavily at this point.”
Johnson, commenting for the first time on Rodgers, recalled the moment two weeks ago when Rodgers announced his intention to play for the Jets in 2023. Johnson said the reaction “in the building was really loud and everyone was really excited to have a player of that caliber.”
It’s not a done deal, though.
The two teams are in regular contact but have not been able to agree on a compensation trade. The Jets are reportedly not ready to deal with a 2023 first-round pick (No. 13 overall), but Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst indicated Monday that there are other ways the deal could go through without including the 13th pick — perhaps a sign that the two sides They are getting closer.
Johnson said there is no deadline from the Jets’ standpoint.
On March 7, Johnson and team officials traveled across the country to meet Rodgers at his home in Malibu, California. Asked to describe the meeting, Johnson said, “Have you met Aaron Rodgers? I haven’t either, but he’s very impressive. Very intelligent. Authentic. He’s definitely his own person, that’s for sure.”
“A great athlete, a great golfer. I think he does pretty much everything at the highest level. He just won Pebble Beach.” [Pro-Am]. Sink like 20 feet to win. So he’s a competitor.”
A few days into the Jets’ 7-10 season, which ended with a six-game losing streak, Johnson said the quarterback was “the missing piece” and that he would be “absolutely” willing to spend big bucks to find one. The Jets made trading Rodgers their number one priority.
Johnson, who was aware of the rules of futility, said at one point, “I don’t have to talk too much about this player.”
Echoing sentiments from Jets head coach Robert Salih and general manager Joe Douglas, Johnson said he expected the trade to happen. “We are very confident that we can accomplish something that will help the planes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Saleh and Douglas met briefly on Tuesday with agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who appeared at the league event. The meeting took place on an outdoor patio, with Saleh and Beckham pictured embracing.
The Jets have already signed two receivers in free agency, Allen Lazard and Mikul Hardman, but they are in hot pursuit of Beckham. Rodgers, in his meeting with the Jets, mentioned Beckham as a player he would like to have on the team.
Johnson said it was a “compliment” to the franchise that a player of Beckham’s stature would consider the Jets. “I think it’s really cool,” he said. “I mean, that hasn’t happened in a while, right?”
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