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Report: Jets “on the brink of landing” Aaron Rodgers after trip to Malibu

It appears we are approaching the finish line on a trade

Green Bay Packers v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

According to ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the New York Jets are optimistic as of Thursday morning that they will be able to land Green Bay Packers quarterback and former four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has been contemplating retirement and hasn’t officially stated that he will play football in 2023, but he has been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks. On Tuesday, the Jets’ decision-makers took a flight out to Malibu to visit the quarterback at his offseason home in an attempt to convince him to change shades of green. Apparently, it’s working.

Below is a full transcript of Russini’s tweet thread on the subject:

In the wake of an extensive in-person meeting between Aaron Rodgers & New York Jets brass, including owner Woody Johnson, there’s optimism in the Jets’ organization that they are on the brink of landing the future Hall of Fame QB, sources close to the situation tell ESPN.

While optimism existed before the California meeting, Woody Johnson felt it was important to meet in person, sources said. Johnson left the meeting excited and satisfied about the potential match.

As the Jets internally are working under an optimism that this will happen, the Jets and the Packers remain engaged in conversations about compensation and contract, sources said. Those conversation already started before the meeting.

And so now, we wait to see if the Jets can close a deal to bring a future Hall of Famer from Green Bay to New York.

For Packers fans who have already accepted that the team is going to roll with Jordan Love as their 2023 starting quarterback, the most interesting piece of Russini’s reporting might be that the Packers are a part of Rodgers’ contract conversations. Green Bay is cap-strapped, but so are the Jets. Would the Packers be willing to pay for some of Rodgers’ $59.5 million due in 2023 in exchange for more (or higher) draft picks? If not, there’s no reason why Green Bay would need to be a part of his contract conversations moving forward.

At the combine two weeks ago, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst claimed that the team would need to restructure Rodgers’ deal if the quarterback chose to return to Green Bay in 2023. With the way Rodgers’ contract works, Gutekunst almost certainly was implying that Rodgers would need to leave money on the table to come back to the Packers. It seems odd that the team would send out that message and would still be willing to eat some of his salary for the Jets, but here we are.

Currently, Green Bay sits with about $14 million in cap space for the 2023 season, not including their rookie draft class or any potential free agent signings, per Spotrac. After Gutekunst and cap wizard Russ Ball have adjusted nearly every veteran contract available to them this offseason, the last few non-Rodgers ways that the Packers can create significant cap space for this upcoming year are by extending pass-rusher Rashan Gary, playing with left tackle David Bakhtiari’s 2023 cap hit and/or trading away safety Darnell Savage on his $7.9 million fifth-year option.

Keep an eye out for New York and/or Green Bay making cap-related moves over the next few hours or even days. If the Jets — who have just south of $2 million in cap space as it stands currently — start to clear their cap aggressively, that’s your canary in the coal mine.