John, since now the cat is out of the bag that Aaron Rodgers intends to play for the Jets next year, how do you react to that? Well first Zach, let me please add that I would hope that because this Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay situation that's been so up and down in roller coaster like the last few years looks like it's coming to its final stop.
I hope that means I'm no longer invited to join the Zach Gelb show because I always enjoy talking with you. But as you talk about the Aaron Rodgers situation and the McAfee interview today, the kind of clearing of grievances or airing of grievances by Aaron himself, I can't say I was surprised by pretty much anything that was said throughout the interview. I was not surprised to hear the end result of this when we came to the end of the season. I can remember speaking with you shortly after the end of the regular season into the playoffs and I said something feels different.
Zach, I wasn't quite sure what I could put my finger on. Maybe it was the temperature of the team, the way that they finished with an 8-9 record. Maybe it was the fact that the offense had sputtered at times throughout the season. Or maybe it was the fact that going into the season, Devontae Adams with the surprise trade request after Aaron Rodgers had already signed to come back as the Green Bay Packers quarterback with that extension this past year. All of those things kind of mixing together, melding in the pot, led me to believe that this was the first year out of the last three years since the Packers had drafted Jordan Love that I felt like there might be a change of the guard at the quarterback position. Obviously you had a feeling that it was heading down this road like you were talking about, but whenever you found out, were you sad that now it's over that you won't be seeing Rodgers play for the Packers in the fall? Being pretty good friends with Aaron, spending nine years of my career as a teammate of his, knowing what it's like, the legacy of a Green Bay Packer, especially a Green Bay Packer of the last 25-30 years.
Great success, tremendous franchise, iconic kind of stature being a Green Bay Packer for the last 30 years. I had always hoped and I know that it was on his to-do list to try and have a legacy differ from Brett Favre's. Not to separate himself from Brett and say I'm greater than, but more along the lines of we all experienced 2008 together. We know how messy it was and the hardest thing for a teammate in a locker room is to watch the pain of another teammate as he's pretty much shown his papers and his walking papers and shown the door. We experienced that with Brett and you experience it with your core players every single year. Every single year there's 12 to 20 guys that you love that are going on to either bigger, better things to other teams or it's their last year and you'll never see a football field again. And that's a hard pill to swallow as a teammate. But it comes around about once a career where you spend time with a player with a legacy that of Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Charles Wood, somebody with a gold jacket. And they have an opportunity to spend their entire career with a team. And when they don't get to do that, and I know Aaron's done everything within his power to try and ensure that he could finish his career, finish his legacy in Green Bay.
To see him not be able to achieve that goal was tough. It is a tough one to swallow. On the other hand, I am still a Packer guy. They are still my squad.
They're the team that I chose to retire as when I left the NFL. And I do recognize this as being a time of change as you look at the roster in Green Bay. It's not the roster that they've had 2019, 2020, 2021 when they were going to NFC Championship games and divisional round playoff games as the number one seed. It's a much different roster.
And if there was ever a time to make a break that could potentially be advantageous to both sides, now is the time. Do you think the franchise owed more to Rodgers at the end because he constantly is annoyed and I know it's never easy when you're moving on from a player no matter how great or if it was just time to move on or not. Those conversations, the player of course is always going to be bitter because they think they can still play at this great level and they don't want to leave. Does Green Bay have a problem with the way that they say goodbye to guys that have been there for years?
You know, I think every player in the National Football League has a different experience and I think every player in the National Football League has a different mindset. I was an undrafted player who had bounced around until I got to Green Bay and I'd spent nine years here. And I was so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to play in Green Bay that even during the uncertain time of 2015 when I was going to be eventually a New Orleans Saint. There was a long period of poor communication between us and the Green Bay Packers and trying to figure out if I was going to come back and play with them or not.
Even during that time, I hold no grudges, I hold no ill will, but I can understand how that would hurt people. I can understand how emotionally that could be draining. And for Aaron Rodgers, it's been three years, he lived this as the Jordan Love before. He lived this watching it from the other side. So now that you are on this side as Aaron, it's almost like the day Jordan Love got drafted, you flipped an hourglass of sand and you are reminded every single day when you go into work that more and more sand has dropped down in that hourglass.
And you know that time is just inevitable. So that constant reminder cannot be an easy thing emotionally to be dealing with when you're a quarterback and a gold jacket player like Aaron Rodgers is. John Kuhn, the frustrating part for me is that I felt like at the end of the season, the Packers are ready to move on and Rodgers was fine with leaving Green Bay as well. It feels like that was never communicated by both sides.
I thought the communication by both sides could have been a whole lot better. Yeah, and there's two sides to every story. And sometimes within the professional football ranks, you have a coach tell a player, this is the way I want you to run a play. And a player will go out there and he'll run that play to exactly what he thought the coach was telling him to run it to. And it might even be a successful play. And then that player will come into a meeting after the game on Monday and they'll watch the film and the player will have a minus on a play where he had a successful game.
But the coach will tell him that is not necessarily the way I asked you to run the play. Sometimes communication can be misleading and sometimes communication might not be exactly the way that one side sees it playing out. And to me, the only way I can see it is this is a divorce between a very long couple. Eighteen years is an eternity in the National Football League. Aaron Rodgers is blessed to have been able to play 18 years and the Packers have been blessed to have him as a starter for 15.
So no matter how this thing would inevitably end, it was not going to end very easily for either side. And I think that's what leaves it with conflicting kind of emotions the way that you have with Aaron Rodgers. And I'm sure if you would if you would ask and it would be honest, you know, the personnel in the front office for the Green Bay Packers probably feel a little emotional themselves. John Kuhn, what can jet fans expect out of Aaron Rodgers at this stage of his career? Well, I'll tell you, there are a couple of things I noticed out of last year, not a great season for Aaron Rodgers stat wise.
But we know about the broken thumb. We know about some of the other little nagging injuries that he had throughout the year. But the one thing I still saw was the ability to put footballs in positions that over the course of his career, I've only ever seen him and potentially Patrick Mahomes be able to do.
Put balls in spaces that you cannot even fathom, that you can't imagine. And he had a handful plays of those every single game. There's many reasons why the Packers offense was not successful last year. And part of that was Aaron Rodgers' thumb and Aaron Rodgers' inability at times to be able to hit open receivers in stride.
But that guy can still sling it. And I remember the motivation he had in 2020 when the Green Bay Packers drafted Jordan Love. And I would anticipate that a chip on his shoulder the size of Jordan Love, this trade situation is going to be just that. And the Jets can have a motivated Aaron Rodgers and expect to see a locked in Aaron Rodgers going into the seed. Can you see them winning a Super Bowl this year? You know, when you go into an NFL season and players in the NFL, ex-players in the NFL will always say this. You'll hear a ton of players and former players and coaches say this. There's about a dozen teams every year that have the potential to win a Super Bowl.
Every team says it, but there's really only about 12. I put the Jets right in that category right now. Whether they've reached that potential or not, that remains to be seen. How they continue to fill out their roster after the trade is consummated with Aaron Rodgers.
Because that's the big question. How much of this salary is going to hit their cap? How much of that bonus, that $59 million bonus is going to hit the Jets' cap? Are the Packers going to have to eat some of that?
Are the Jets going to be able to pick up some other pieces in free agency? We know how good their defense is right now. I know how great their offensive skill weapons are.
I watched them firsthand this year. They're all young. They're all hungry. And you get a guy like Aaron Rodgers in there in that locker room.
I can only imagine that's going to boast the confidence in there. A couple more pieces to that team and I feel like they might be able to compete for an AFC. John Kuhn here with us. I have to ask you, maybe we'll get some breaking news here. Were you on the list of demands to join Rodgers in New York?
No. I believe if this had happened about five years ago, I might have potentially lucked into that group and got myself a couple bonus years on the end of my career. And I do believe Aaron when he says this.
And sometimes things do get misconstrued within the media. Was it a demands list or was it a list of, hey, is there anything you'd like to see? And I can believe Aaron would say, hey, there's a couple players out there that I think might be able to help you guys.
And it's X, Y, and Z. And if you guys can accomplish those things, it would only make our locker room better. It would only make our team better. I don't believe that he said you have to get three out of four of these guys in order for me to come there. I don't believe that for a second. I do actually believe Aaron when he says it was just a collection of guys that he thought were guys that would enhance the production of the team and the chemistry in the locker room.
So that I do believe him on. And we'll see how many more. As of right now, it's just Allen Lazard. Randall Taub's a free agent. Mercedes Lewis is a free agent. And we all know Odell Beckham is a free agent.
But I'd be impressed if the Jets could pull off Odell Beckham Jr. Because he's going to demand a pricey tag to get in there. John Kuhn, do you believe Rogers when he said he entered the darkness retreat that he was at 90% in terms of the likeliness of him retiring? You know, that's something I don't think any of us will ever truly know if he was at 90%. I know at the end of my career, I never pondered retirement, but I was never a guy to find myself in a place where I could demand a team pick me up and just be able to play. So that's a tremendous luxury that not a lot of players have. There have been a handful of players, and when I say a handful, people make a list of hundreds.
But in the scope of the NFL, in a league that has over 2,200 players every year in it, there are a handful of players that can choose when they're done. That's got to be an incredible feeling to say, I am done now. So I can only take him at his word that he was at 90% retirement. I'll tell you one thing, to have your mind changed that much in four days of darkness, I can only wonder what kind of things go through your mind when you are sitting there for those four days. Have you talked to him since the darkness retreat, just wondering? Yes, I have. I've talked to him a couple times. And I'll tell you this, he does not seem to be in a sieging type of mood.
I've seen that. He tried to light the world on fire today. I think Aaron Rodgers simply wants to control the narrative about himself. And he wants to try and clear the airwaves about himself and about the experiences that he goes through. Because once again, the majority of the players in the NFL, they don't get the coverage that Aaron Rodgers gets. And this has been a story that's been talked about every single day since the end of the football season. So those stories that started at the end of the season, Zach, we had the conversation. At the end of the season, it was 50-50 and you asked me to make a decision at the end and I said, if I have to make a decision, if I have to, I'm going to lean to Aaron Rodgers coming back to the Green Bay Packers.
And I do believe this. I believe had things played out a little bit differently at the end of the season and into this offseason, Aaron Rodgers could potentially still be the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. What do you mean by that? What would have had to have played out differently? Like them just make the playoffs or the Packers just say, hey, we want you back? Well, I think had the Packers finished the season with a win against the Lions, that could potentially have tilted the scales just enough. I do believe that this was a tough call. And I do believe at the end of the season, when Mark Murphy and Brad Gooden and Matt LaFleur all talked to the media and they said, yeah, you know, we made a big investment in them and we don't intend to break that investment. I believe they were serious at that point in time. But as weeks go by and days go by and you're watching film and you're thinking about what went wrong the year before and you're thinking about Jordan Love's full attendance in the offseason program and you're thinking about Aaron Rodgers potentially pondering retirement, I believe those things can all win. I think people can can be shaded to go one way or another. And I think that's what potentially happened in this situation.
I mean, the darkness retreat was was only but about two weeks ago. So there's there's a large period of time that that the front office had to ponder this. There was a large period of time that Aaron Rodgers could have put an end to all of this and said, I'm coming back to be a Green Bay Packer and finish my career there. So the communication I get what Aaron's saying, he wishes there was more transparency with the Green Bay Packers. I would not be surprised to Green Bay Packers wish there was more transparency out of Aaron Rodgers as well. Wrapping up with John Kuhn, Jordan Love, expectations for him this year because that's what I think is the biggest change from this year compared to last two offseasons. The Packers now think, and they've said this, that Jordan Love is ready to play.
They definitely have. That's that's something that I know from my dealings with the team that he had shown improvement not from not just from year one to year two and year two to year three. But he showed improvement from this year's preseason throughout the regular season.
A lot of people don't realize this. Jordan Love took the majority of the first team snaps this year for the Green Bay Packers at practice because Aaron Rodgers missed so many practices with his thumb injury. Jordan Love took more snaps as he won this year than he ever has. And because of that, Jordan Love had growth at practice that the Green Bay Packers saw as tangible growth throughout the course of the season, and it culminated in a pretty decent fourth quarter against the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles at Philadelphia in a Sunday night football game. There's a lot of people that point to that and say, yeah, there's something eerily similar here to the way Aaron Rodgers came in in 2007, a week 13 game against the Dallas Cowboys and almost brought us back to a win against that year's number one seed in the playoffs.
So there's a lot of feelings about that. There's a lot of excitement about Jordan Love, but there's one thing, Zach, that's that's true. This kid has an unfair amount of expectations that he's going to have to live up to, and it might not be this year, but it's going to it's going to be a very fast learning curve of expectations for Jordan Love because he's following up 30 years of Hall of Fame quarterback play. Let me get to a few outside of the Packers and Jets and Rogers and Love and all that stuff. John Coon, one of the other former teams, the Saints. They go with Derek Carr. They also bring in Jamal Williams today. When you look at the Saints, what do you think they could do this year?
Well, it's going to be tough. Their defense is what's carried them the last few years, and right now they have defensive pieces left and right, you know, leaving to go play elsewhere. I know David Onyemada is now an Atlanta Falcon.
I know they lost Marcus Davenport. That's going to be a tough one for them to try and make up there. They have been trying to solve the quarterback position for the last few years there.
They've been doing it with duct tape and rubber bands. I hope that Derek Carr is the fix there and the balance of power for the Saints because they have been carried by the defense the last few years. If Derek Carr can raise the level that offensive Michael Thomas can come back to be an all-pro caliber wide receiver. If Alvin Kamara can come back to be an all-pro caliber running back for the Saints, they can be competitive, especially in a down NFC south. But I don't know because that defense, which has been a very tough defense for the last few years, they're losing some significant pieces down there. What are your expectations for Sean Payton and Russell Wilson this year?
You're one in Denver together. Well, I got to say I love the start of Sean Payton going out there, fixing the offensive line. I really thought they would be in play for a David Montgomery or Jamal Williams, a back that they could pound the football with because Sean Payton loves to run due to set up the play action. Clearly, they're going to be more run focused going into this season to try and take some of the pressure off of Russell Wilson.
That defense we know is fantastic out there. And he's going to change a culture. Might not happen overnight, but he's going to change a culture because Sean Payton will burn that midnight oil until he figures out the recipe for success out there. And it might not be with Russell Wilson throwing the football around like he used to do it in his last couple years in Seattle.
It might go back to the old school Russell Wilson where he hands the ball a lot and then has to make a play on third down. Last thing I'll ask you, and I know that McAfee asked this to Rogers and Rogers revealed that AJ knew for a while and he just didn't say anything publicly. Did you know for a few days that this was coming and that Rogers is going to say, okay, I'm going to the Jets. Did he tell you that?
Yeah, there was a couple of us that had known for a little while and a couple of us in the media specifically. We owe our respect to our teammate, to our friend to give him the opportunity to do things the way that he wants to do it and the way that any player would want it to be broken. And for that kind of courtesy, you know, we we respect the fact that he trusted in us and and for that I didn't say anything and I'll say this too. I'll say this too.
I think this to be absolutely true. I think the New York Jets and I think the Green Bay Packers also made it a point to not spill the beans. So that Aaron Rodgers could at least have this time this moment to to be able to address it publicly so that he could have that that kind of I guess flushing of all of his feelings before this whole thing transpired. Hey, by the way, when do you think this deal will actually go down? Like how long of a fight do you think this going to be on the compensation of any idea what Green Bay is going to get back? You know, that's a tough one because I don't think Green Bay is asking for two firsts or the world or anything crazy like that. At the same time, I don't think the Jets are lowballing the Packers.
I think there are some I don't think they're that far away. A lot of times with deals like this, there is so much public scrutiny. There's so much attention with the national media that both sides want to get it done with and get it done with fast. But again, you're talking about a caliber player of Aaron Rodgers. When Tom Brady left New England to go to Tampa Bay, it wasn't a trade. When Peyton Manning left the Colts to go to Denver, it wasn't via trade. I don't know if I've ever seen a player of this caliber change teams via a trade like this at this point in time in his career. John Kuhn, while the Packers and Aaron Rodgers may be divorcing, I know this was a fear of yours in the start of our conversation that we may be divorcing.
That will not be the case. We will always invite you on this show because you do a great job whenever you join us and we're always appreciative of the time. Hey, I appreciate you too, Zach.
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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-15 22:50:16 / 2023-03-15 22:59:44 / 9