Sources say Gates’ optimism is increasingly chasing Aaron Rodgers

ESPN2 minutes to read

The New York Jets are becoming more confident in their chances of landing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, sources close to the situation told ESPN’s Diana Rossini Thursday.

The Jets’ optimism growing after their meeting this week with the Green Bay Packers. A group of Jets officials, including owner Woody Johnson, general manager Joe Douglas, coach Robert Salih and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, flew to California on Tuesday to meet in person with Rodgers, sources previously told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

Sources told Rossini that Johnson left the meeting excited and satisfied with the potential match.

The sources said the Jets and Packers are still engaged in talks about a possible commercial offset — discussions that began before Gates’ meeting with Rodgers.

Rodgers, 39, has not made any statements about what he plans to do next season. He could still decide to retire or stay in Green Bay. But if he wants to play and he and the Packers agree it’s time for him to go elsewhere, the Jets seem like a realistic option.

Rodgers, a four-time MVP, is under contract through 2024 for $108.8 million. Technically, the contract signed last March extends to 2026, but 2025 and 2026 are considered “fictitious” years for cap purposes. His deal includes $59.5 million fully guaranteed this season, with $58.3 million coming in the form of an option bonus, payable before the start of the regular season.

With his bonus money split up, Rodgers won’t snag the Jets’ cover. He would tally $15.8 million in 2023 and $32.5 million in 2024, which is appropriate for a player of his stature.

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If Rodgers left, the Packers would face a “dead” $40.3 million in 2023 — nearly $9 million more than he would have figured if he had been on the roster.

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