Aaron Rodgers confirms the obvious about 2023 status with Jets out of playoff picture

In a completely (un)surprising turn of events, Aaron Rodgers will not play for the New York Jets in 2023.

Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets
Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets / Megan Briggs/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

The New York Jets fell 30-0 to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Once again, Zach Wilson was benched in favor of Trevor Siemian, but this time due to a concussion. The Jets have searched all season for a viable Aaron Rodgers replacement and come to the simple conclusion that there isn't one. At least, not one presently on the roster.

Rodgers went to the ground four snaps into New York's season opener with a ruptured Achilles. In the months since, Rodgers has worked hard to achieve the fastest return from a torn Achilles in NFL history. Despite peddling the potential for his return on a weekly basis, it would appear Rodgers will — in a completely unsurprising revelation — not suit up for the Jets in 2023.

The 40-year-old went on 'The Pat McAfee Show' to discuss his status ahead of New York's Week 16 matchup against the Washington Commanders. Rodgers confirmed that he would return for a postseason game, but the Jets were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday. Rodgers said he's not ready to play yet, and there's no incentive to push through the injury with the postseason out of reach.

"If I was 100 percent today, I'd be definitely pushing to play," he said, h/t ESPN. "But the fact is, I'm not."

Rodgers has been healthy enough to practice, but he is not medically cleared and his 21-day practice window closes this week. If he's not activated, which is the expectation, Rodgers will remain on the injured reserve list for the remainder of the season.

Had the Jets kept their postseason hopes alive with a victory over Miami, Rodgers would have tried to gain medical clearance in 11-on-11 drills this week. He targeted Dec. 24 against the Commanders for his return weeks ago, but New York's subsequent inability to stack wins has ended hopes of a historic return to play.

"There's always a fear about re-rupture if you're going too fast. But this allows me to — I'm not going to slow my rehab down. I'm going to keep attacking it every single day, but now, without a timetable to come back, obviously, we can be as smart as we need to be."

Aaron Rodgers won't return to Jets in 2023 season, but he won't retire

All eyes turn toward the 2024 season for Rodgers. There has been speculation about Rodgers retiring, as very few QBs can sustain productive play into their 40s. Tom Brady was the obvious exception, but Rodgers has always been more reliant on athleticism than Brady. Even so, if there's a QB who can follow in Brady's footsteps with his crazy work ethic and preternatural football I.Q., it's Rodgers. He maintains his intention is to play in 2024 and beyond.

"I feel like I can play more years and I can be effective into my 40s, which is crazy. I thought that I'd probably be sitting on the couch somewhere at 40, but now I want to be a starter at 40. I want to be a starter at 41. I want to see what I can get out of this body."

He also went on to praise the Jets' leadership and Nathaniel Hackett's offense, calling it "quarterback-friendly." It's hard to judge the Jets' execution or lack thereof in 2023 with Wilson and other subpar options under center. We will get a real sense of Hackett's chops and Robert Saleh's ability to lead a contender when Rodgers returns next season.

New York is basically running out the clock on a forgettable and frustrating season at this point. Wilson's future with the franchise is kaput. There isn't too much positive momentum to carry over to next season. It's all about getting Rodgers right and hoping he can stay on the field in 2024.

NFL POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 16. Cowboys, Eagles loss is Ravens, Lions gain. Cowboys, Eagles loss is Ravens, Lions gain. dark