Clear the runway: Aaron Rodgers is preparing to land in New York as the newest Jet.
Green Bay and New York are finalizing a trade to send the four-time NFL MVP to the Jets, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Monday.
The Jets receive Rodgers, the Packers' 2023 first-round pick (No. 15 overall) and a fifth-round pick (No. 170) in exchange for New York's 2023 first-rounder (No. 13), 2023 second-round (No. 42) and sixth-round (No. 207) picks, as well as a conditional 2024 second-round selection that could become a first if Rodgers plays in at least 65 percent of the Jets' snaps this year.
The trade will be submitted to the league office in "a day or two," Pelissero reported on Monday. Rodgers will sign a revised contract with Green Bay to facilitate the trade.
"There's still things that need to be done. It's not finalized, but we do expect it to be done in the next couple of days," Packers general manager Brian Gutenkunst said Monday at Green Bay's pre-draft news conference, just minutes after news of the trade was reported. "We're expecting to have this done before the draft."
Rodgers' move to New York became the expectation after his March appearance on The Pat McAfee Show during which Rodgers said his intention was to play for the Jets in 2023.
"At this point as I sit here, I think since Friday I've made it clear that my intention was to play and my intention was to play for the New York Jets," Rodgers said on March 15.
What wasn't expected was just how long the trade would take to materialize.
News of Rodgers' desire to move east made waves across the NFL, moving one massive chess piece on the offseason's quarterbacking chessboard to New York and answering the Jets' biggest question a month before the draft. Instead of seeing Rodgers introduced at the Jets' Florham Park, New Jersey, headquarters days or even a couple of weeks later, however, the entire football world was forced to watch the days and weeks pass while the two sides worked out a deal.
With the draft arriving this week, most expected Friday's Day 2 to serve as the deadline for both parties to strike an agreement. They ended up producing a deal with time to spare, ending the prolonged wait for the blockbuster trade, which Gutekunst said Monday is expected to be complete before the draft begins Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri.
The trade also closes the book on an 18-year run in Green Bay that began with Rodgers serving as Brett Favre's understudy and ended with Rodgers departing as one of the game's greatest, with 10 Pro Bowl nods, four first-team All-Pro selections and one Super Bowl triumph to his name.
With Rodgers as Green Bay's headlining attraction, the Packers were a mainstay among NFL contenders from 2009-2022, beginning each year as a legitimate threat to win a Super Bowl. The only disappointment from Rodgers' tenure is the fact he won just one title, in the 2010 season, when the quarterback was 27 years old.
After pushing nearly every chip toward the center of the table in recent years with the hopes of making one last run at a title, Green Bay acknowledged the time was now to move on and officially hand over the keys to backup Jordan Love.
"Aaron is obviously up there in age," Gutekunst said on Monday. "I think he's got some really good football left in him. As we got through the offseason, this made sense. … Having (Love) sit for another year would've really delayed (his development)."
Rodgers' next chapter follows a path similar to Favre's, forcing his way out of Green Bay -- where, like Favre, Rodgers' relationship with the team gradually deteriorated thanks in part to the persistent threat of Father Time -- and landing with the Jets as the franchise's newest savior.
This time around, Rodgers joins a Jets team brimming with optimism thanks to effective roster management that saw New York add 2022 rookies of the year Sauce Gardner and Garrett Wilson along with a group that included promising running back Breece Hall and edge rusher Jermaine Johnson. With this quartet, plus a number of other young playmakers on both sides of the ball, the Jets proved to be an upstart team in 2022, racing out to a 6-3 start before injuries and inconsistency under center proved to be their downfall in a 7-10 season.
Entering 2023, New York's biggest need was obvious: quarterback. The Jets flirted with bringing in Derek Carr, but when the veteran chose New Orleans, New York's focus shifted toward Rodgers, who has annually considered departing Green Bay for much of the past three years.
This time, Rodgers had an escape route to a team that should be considered a contender with him in the lineup. The trade will undoubtedly make waves in a loaded AFC, and especially in the AFC East, which saw two of its four members reach the playoffs in 2022 (Bills and Dolphins).
How it pans out for the Jets remains to be seen. New York will hope it goes better than it did with Favre.