NEW YORK — Aaron Rodgers will make his Big Apple debut next Saturday night in the Jets’ preseason finals against the Giants.
The 39-year-old quarterback, who has not played in an exhibition game since 2018 while with the Green Bay Packers, will begin the final tune-up for the regular season opener on Sept. 11 against the Buffalo Bills, according to the Jets. to a person who is aware of the decision.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday on condition of anonymity because the Jets did not reveal their plans for the game. The New York Post first reported that Rodgers’ New York debut would come against the Giants.
The NFL’s four-time MVP said this summer he would be open to a little preseason play as he begins his first season with the Jets after being acquired by New York from Green Bay in April.
He spent the first three preseason games on the sideline wearing a headset, providing input to coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and the rest of the offense, while Zach Wilson started at quarterback.
Coach Robert Saleh said after the Jets’ 13-6 preseason loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday night that he and his staff would meet to discuss the team’s plans for Rodgers ahead of the game against the Giants.
“We’re going to have all the conversations about how we’re going to handle this (fourth) whether we want a dress rehearsal or not — no game plan or anything — but just make sure everyone goes out to play,” Saleh said. , we’re going to talk about it in the next few days.”
Saleh added that the team would also talk to Rodgers to hear his thoughts on playing a few shots in the preseason finals.
“He can always intervene,” Saleh said. “I will always lean on him and talk to him, so he will definitely be part of the discussion.”
While most of the starters have rested through the Jets’ first three preseason games, it seems that those who are offensive are at least fit to play against the Giants.
The decision to play Rodgers in an exhibition game may make some Jets fans wary, especially after seeing quarterbacks Chad Pennington and Mark Sanchez injured against the Giants in preseason games over the years. But Rodgers has hinted that he wouldn’t mind playing a few snaps before the regular season begins.
“If Rob (Saleh) said, ‘Hey, let’s go,’ whatever. Go, let’s do it,” Rodgers said earlier this month. “Most coaches just have that fear that they’d rather take you to week 1 than take the risk, but I believe there’s an opportunity for the latter, and we’ll probably use Carolina and Tampa, those joint workouts, as sort of from our pre-season tune-up.
“But if Robert says, ‘Hey, we’re going to go a quarter, a quarter and a half or a half, whatever, in the last one,’ then we adapt and do it.”
Rodgers agreed to a restructured contract over the summer that will give him $75 million in fully guaranteed money this season and next season. It amounts to a pay cut of nearly $35 million as a result of the deal he had with Green Bay in which he was expected to earn $110 million in guarantees.
After 18 years with the Packers, Rodgers has said he is excited about the new opportunity with the Jets, calling it “a few years of partnership”. He attended all of New York’s volunteer practices during the off-season – something he hadn’t done with Green Bay in recent years – and has been in routine contact with both forward and defense throughout training camp to share information and ensure that his new Jets teammates have their “brains turned on.”
He’s also been a mentor to Wilson, who struggled in his first two NFL seasons, but made some noticeable improvements this summer. Rodgers said on CBS’s pregame show that he “would like to play here for a good few years and then hand it over to Zach for the next 15.”
“It helps me to know that he believes in me, that I can play this game for a long time,” Wilson said on Saturday. “That’s why I lean on him so much. I really appreciate having such a big brother.”