Will Aaron Rodgers ever be worth all the trouble for the Jets?

How often do you think about Aaron Rodgers? In his eyes, probably not enough.

Now, I’ll get in front of everything I’m about to say and point out that I don’t know Aaron Rodgers the man. I don’t know what gets him out of bed in the morning, I don’t know what the final thing on his mind is before he falls into his day-ending slumber, and I don’t know what he wants in life.

I do know, however, that this will come off as me attacking him- that is not my intention. And I also know that his wreckless speech and “woah is me” attitude following each outlandish statement or blatantly obvious attempt to have everyone utter his name on any given day has grown very old and does beg the question- is the constant side show really worth it for the New York Jets?

For the better part of two years, we have all been subjected to Aaron Rodgers’ never-ending one-man show. It’s a song-and-dance that insists upon itself, and seemingly never ends. Whether it was going on SportsCenter with Kenny Mayne to air all of his dirty laundry and issues with the Packers organization before ultimately staying in Green Bay for a sum of money larger than the GDP of the state of Wisconsin, or the months-long “Should I stay or should I go” game he played with the fans and media that culminated in a darkness retreat that I assume featured a lot of ayahuasca and platypus milk (or whatever he claims heals him in an attempt to dunk on modern medicine), the Rodgers fatigue isn’t something that just came out of the blue. It’s been brewing for years, and has slowly gotten worse in its antics.

It’s one thing to be a bit self-absorbed, and “a bit” is doing some heavy lifting in that phrase. But really, we could all live with and deal with Rodgers teasing retirement. We would laugh it off when he pointed out that his “off-year” is a career year for most quarterbacks- that’s all well and good, and ultimately harmless.

It’s also a shrug of the shoulders if you want to host Jeopardy (and do it well, I might add) and consider that as a full-time gig outside of football- great! In terms of post-playing careers, you can surely do a hell of a lot worse. It starts getting a little more serious and odd, though, when you’re misleading about your vaccination status in the midst of a pandemic, and dawn yourself as Corporal Anti-Vax in the process. No, Aaron, we don’t want to watch you debate Travis Kelce on vaccines- because as much as you think you’re an expert in it, we’ve got unfortunate news for you- no the hell you aren’t.

And look, I’m not going to sit here and preach to any of you about vaccines. I’m not an expert in that, nor will I pretend to be. I will say, though, that when doctors and scientists say “Hey, this shot will help fight a disease, and if you get said disease, you’ll be in much better shape with the shot,” I tend to listen to them. My first instinct when hearing that isn’t “Hmmmm I bet they’re lying.” Because that is an objectively weird way of thinking.

Then the 2022 season happened and the Packers struggled for the great majority of it. Rodgers had his worst season as the full-time starter in Green bay, and made sure a lot of noise and drama ensued. The aforementioned leadup to the season was enough for most people, but amidst the struggles of the season, there were murmurs that maybe Rodgers would be benched so Green Bay could see what it had with Jordan Love.

Rodgers quickly and publicly flipped two massive birds to that idea and said as long as the team had a chance at making the playoffs, he would be playing.

The Packers’ season ends, the aforementioned darkness retreat sponsored by The Joe Rogan Experience happens, and he gets traded to the Jets. Alright, great. We know Rodgers is playing and where he will be playing. No more drama, right?

Alas not, old friend.

Unfortunately, the 2023 season became nothing but drama. The Jets’ hopes ruptured with Rodgers’ achilles. That meme of Robert Saleh’s face after Rodgers went down basically told the whole story. But then around mid-season, reports of Aaron Rodgers possibly coming back to play in the playoffs should the Jets make it to the postseason started to come out. This completely dumb, impossible feat that lived in the news cycle for a solid two months went nowhere, and it was filled to the brim with Rodgers originally saying he was going to try to play, which of course got everyone riled up. Then a few weeks later once it was clear the Jets stunk and weren’t going anywhere, Rodgers said what we all already knew- it was very unlikely that he could play and unrealistic to think he could- no kidding, Aaron.

And I’m sure somehow, Rodgers will find a way to point the finger at someone else and claim that he’s “just trying to live his life” as he pretends to wonder why people are always talking about him as if it’s not exactly what he wants. In addition, he’ll keep coming back to the well of being unliked because of his “unorthodox” view on vaccines- which also isn’t true. Kirk Cousins stood in front of everyone and said “If I die, I die” like he was John Rambo about to go to to war with a communist country when speaking about his choice to not get vaccinated, and everybody loves Kirk. Do many disagree with his views? Sure. But he also comes off as a genuinely good guy, a great teammate, and is as selfless as any player at his position. Gardner Minshew is a um… let’s say “free spirit” as well, and everyone eats him up. It’s not necessarily the viewpoints Rodgers has that people push back on, it’s the fact that he is making it his personality at this point. It be like if every time you got in a car with someone, you looked at them and said “I bet we’re going to crash.” Hey man- why would you say that as I’m about to drive? It’s not the viewpoints themselves that people are fed up with, it’s the constant need to shove it down everyone’s throats every Tuesday with the former punter turned podcaster.

The fully-vaxed cherry on top of the non-vaxed right-wing sundae, though, came last week, Rodgers hinted that Jimmy Kimmel may be on the list of visitors to Epstein Island. Things stopped being mostly harmless and went straight into potential defamation lawsuits. It was a stupid, pointless comment that was made with no rhyme or reason other than to get people talking about him. Then, with a touch of elite irony, Rodgers came out and said that any “bullshit” that has nothing to do with winning needs to leave the Jets’ building. Which is certainly rich coming from the guy who lives  vicariously in the Toby Keith song “I Wanna Talk About Me.” He’s did plenty of talking about his work, and how is boss was a jerk in Green Bay. We know all about the troubles that he has with his brother and his daddy and his mother and his ex-lover. And in terms of the Jets, we talk about them occasionally. But Aaron Rodgers wants to talk about “me.”

And yet, in spite of the outside noise, none of it really matters in the grand scheme of things to the Jets. Rodgers is going to be their quarterback for better or worse. He could go on ESPN with Pat McAfee and say that Woody Johnson sounds like a pill for erectile dysfunction and nothing would happen. He’s basically a made man. Especially after the cruel and unusual punishment of watching Zach Wilson, Tim Boyle, and Trevor Siemian play ring around the rosie with the quarterback position. It will be Rodgers come hell or high water.

Now, I know I just spent a not-small portion of time seemingly belittling Aaron Rodgers, and it may come off as some sort of personal vendetta- it’s not. Outside of his aforementioned Jimmy Kimmel comments, nothing that he says or does has any affect on me. And not for nothing, there’s a certain quarterback in Cleveland that was accused of doing things much, much worse than any of the outlandish comments Rodgers has ever made. That said, it’s evident that he has a need for attention, and a lot of it, which rubs people the wrong way and has led to the extreme fatigue that many have towards the future Hall of Famer.

I asked a question to open this- is the constant noise worth it for the Jets? The answer is yet to be determined, but it will be an emphatic yes it he leads them to a Super Bowl. Hell, if he leads them to the playoffs it’s an emphatic yes. The Jets had better hope that at least one of those take place next season, though. Because while fans can choose to simply tune out the melo-drama that comes every time Rodgers opens his mouth- the Jets can’t. If they don’t win anything of note, then this entire saga will be remembered more for the sound bytes than for the product on the field.

Time will tell what direction this all goes in. Until then, though, the Jets are going to have to live with the fact that whatever they do this offseason, Aaron will be at home sitting with his tinfoil hat, thinking, “How can I make this more about me?”

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire