Four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers relinquished approximately $35 million over the next two seasons, restructuring his old contract with the Green Bay Packers to a new two-year, $75 million deal with the New York Jets.
The move was surprising for many: Rodgers has been notably stingy with his money in the past, so seeing him take a more charitable disposition came as a shock. But in Rodgers’ own words, giving back to his team was something he simply wanted to do.
“What it comes down to was … it was the right thing that made me feel best,” Rodgers told NBC’s Pro Football Talk. “I thought it was important they (the Jets) knew how committed I was. And in my conversations with Joe [Douglas], he has made it very clear the vision for the football team.
“This year, compared to like 2005, the amount of transactions that happen now with guys getting cut and the amount of trades — way more than before. Big names move at the trade deadline now. I wanted to make sure that if somebody valuable came available that we’d be able to get him. I’m very happy with the contract. I feel great about it.”
For Rodgers, this move to New York after 18 seasons in Green Bay signifies a rejuvenating shift, one that he compared to his childhood.
“When you’re the new kid in school, you gotta make new friends,” Rodgers, who moved six times before the eighth grade, said. “You gotta figure out, you know, who the friend groups are and how to navigate a classroom and how to navigate the recess. But you also get to figure out who you wanna be. Do you wanna be the quiet kid? Do you wanna be the loud kid? Do you wanna be a leader? Do you wanna just go along with the flow? Where do the cool kids sit? The nerdy kids? It’s fun.”
“Now I’ve gotten this opportunity at 39 to kind of reinvent myself, figure out who I wanna be in a new environment,” Rodgers continued. “To have some of the conversations I’ve had with Joe Douglas, to be privy to things that I was never privy to, to have a defensive head coach puts a different framework on the team. The defense has a different confidence, I think, that they practice with. We had great defenses in Green Bay during our time. But it always felt like an offensive team, or a West Coast offensive football team. Just a different mentality when you have a defensive head coach. I’ve enjoyed that.
“I enjoy coming to Robert [Saleh] with ideas or as maybe in a consultant role like, ‘Hey, I’ve been other places, I see this. I see that.’ And just him being kinda wide open, and maybe we disagree. I respect the hell out of him when he’s like, ‘Well I hear what you’re saying, but I think I’m gonna do it this way.’ I love his openness to critically think about the stuff I’m saying or another group of guys might say to him.”
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