Aaron Rodgers may not have been able to lead the New York Jets to victory this season, but his influence extended beyond the field as he played a pivotal role in securing the futures of head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas.
Before Sunday’s game against the Washington Commanders, Jets owner Woody Johnson made it clear that he’s sticking with Saleh and Douglas for the 2024 season despite their less-than-stellar records. Saleh had a 16-32 record over three seasons, while Douglas, who took over as GM in 2019, oversaw a team that went 25-55 under his watch.
Johnson’s decision to retain them might seem perplexing, but it all comes down to one key factor – Aaron Rodgers. The star quarterback gave both Saleh and Douglas a resounding vote of confidence last week, and Johnson values Rodgers’ opinion immensely.
“I think if you see Aaron Rodgers right now and the impact he’s having on the team and what he’s able to do with virtually no practice, it’s amazing,” Johnson expressed. “He’s in the fourth quarter of the league year and he’s throwing like he’s practiced all year. When he starts practicing and gets the timing with receivers just perfect, I think you’re going to see some amazing things.”
This isn’t the first time the Jets have aligned their organizational decisions with Rodgers’ preferences. They made several offseason additions based on his suggestions, with mixed results. Additionally, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is likely to stay in his position because of Rodgers’ belief in him, despite engineering the NFL’s second-lowest scoring offense this year.
While the Jets have faced challenges without Rodgers, Johnson and the organization firmly believe that having him in the lineup would be a game-changer. Johnson emphasized the importance of a top-notch quarterback, noting that it elevates the entire team, from the offensive line to the wide receivers.
However, the Jets’ struggles run deeper than just the absence of Aaron Rodgers. They require significant upgrades, including a dependable left tackle, a complementary receiver, and improved depth on both the offensive and defensive lines. Perhaps most crucially, they need a reliable backup quarterback.
With Rodgers now 40 years old and recovering from a season-ending Achilles injury, Saleh and Douglas must prioritize finding an insurance policy for the 2024 season. Depending solely on Rodgers to save their jobs from the sideline a second time is not a sustainable strategy.