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We may need to cool our jets when it comes to Aaron Rodgers’ trade to New York.
The New York Jets improved as a team by acquiring Rodgers on Monday, shoring up a massive void left on their offense. Now that Rodgers is in town, and people wonder if NY can win the AFC (almost instantly), it’s time to pump the brakes on the high expectations.
Even with their best QB since Broadway Joe, the Jets only appear as the third-best team in the AFC East.
Bills Are King, Miami Poised To Be #2, Patriots Are Past Their Prime
To break down the Jets’ ultimate value with Rodgers, it’s important to start with the AFC East as context. The Jets’ main competition to reach the postseason will be a battle against the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
Barring a draft-night trade where they get rid of Stefon Diggs, Josh Allen and the Bills still have the tools to be a premier NFL offense and carry them for a fourth straight AFC East title.
So with the Bills slotted as the arguable best team in the AFC East, it becomes a battle between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets for the second spot.
Rodgers will be welcomed to the Jets with an upgraded wide receivers room compared to last season, but the Dolphins still boast the best 1-2 punch with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. If Miami manages to keep Tua Tagovailoa upright for the season, the Dolphins could very well play up to the first or second spot in the AFC East.
As for the New England Patriots, it’s time to realize that Bill Belichick, the greatest coach the NFL has ever seen, is at this point past his prime. With the offenses having an identity crisis at QB, New England is likely positioned at fourth place in the AFC East.
Rodgers Faces Herculean Assignment in AFC East
By the way, the Jets haven’t won the division since 2002, back when Chad Pennington was the starting QB and Nathaniel Hackett’s dad called plays for the offense as OC. Since the peak of Rex Ryan’s tenure in New York (2009-14), the Jets have been the laughingstock of the division.
Even at MVP levels and at the age of 39, Rodgers has a Herculean task of bringing the Jets out of a long streak of losing. The future is bright but the near future may be rocky to start.
Watch the full segment from Wednesday’s OutKick the Show: