Wait, Aaron Rodgers did What? Dalvin Cook to Jets Just Got New Life

An Aaron Rodgers Trade Could Be Coming to Fruition
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Well, folks, I’ll admit I didn’t see this coming.

Current New York Jets QB and long-time division foe Aaron Rodgers has agreed to a massive pay cut to help out the Jets. Tom Pelissero of The NFL Network was on the news, describing how #12 shaved off a whopping $35 million from his contract: “The #Jets signed four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers to a new two-year, $75 million guaranteed contract through the 2024 season, per NFL salary data.”

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) prepares to throw a pass as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) rushes in during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Not too long afterwards, Pelissero clarifies the cap implications: “Aaron Rodgers’ new contract is technically a five-year deal, including two option years to spread out bonus proration and create a 2023 cap number of just under $9 million. Maximum flexibility for the #Jets to build around him.”

Jason Fitzgerald, the mastermind behind Over the Cap, speculated on Twitter whether it was a historic pay cut: “Not sure that there has ever been a player in nfl history to give up anywhere near that much guaranteed money on a contract restructure.”

Truthfully, I’m ill-equipped to speak to the historical significance of Rodgers’ restructure. What I can say is that it’s a stunning move from Rodgers, especially given all that went on in recent years in Green Bay (as many have pointed out).

The Aaron Rodgers Pay Cut Opens Room for Dalvin Cook

Of course, many will think of what this allows New York to accomplish. Many will instinctively think of Dalvin Cook, and Pelissero is again coming through:

In a different follow-up tweet, Pelissero unpacks what Rodgers did and how it’s impacting the Jets: “Aaron Rodgers took a major pay cut on his new deal, which was structured with a 2023 cap number of under $9M. That gives the #Jets flexibility to build around him … and now the top offensive weapon available is coming in for a visit.”

A Win-Loss Prediction for the 2022 Vikings
Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and running back Dalvin Cook. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Flying to New York instead of just hopping on a call suggests there is a certain degree of seriousness to what’s transpiring. Don’t be at all surprised if Cook is a Jet very soon. Rodgers slashed off a lot of money and one has to think that doing so came with at least some assurances that New York’s leadership would be adding more weapons to the Jets offense.

Recently, New York found a way of retaining Quinnen Williams, a tremendous defensive tackle who was one of the league’s leading trade candidates. Finding a way to satisfy the DT’s contract demands while (potentially) adding Cook is an incredible win for the Jets.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
Dec 22, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is sacked by New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) forcing a fumble during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

As Josh Frey noted on PurplePTSD, essentially every team in the AFC East has been linked to Dalvin Cook. The news emerging in recent hours catapults the Jets into clear-cut favorite status. One has to think that the Bills, Patriots, and Dolphins just got a bit more nervous about going after the division in 2023. Rodgers and Cook is a dangerous duo.

The Jets and Vikings don’t play in 2023. The only possible matchup is if both sides represent their conference in the Super Bowl. In that scenario, Vikings fans would be a mixture of anxious and excited to face a QB who has terrorized them for a long, long time. Working Cook into the mix would mean the already-captivating game just got another major storyline.

Alas, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Simply enjoy the wildness of the offseason, folks, and keep swinging by PurplePTSD for all of your Vikings questions, curiosities, and concerns.