It’s not as simple as “Derek Carr vs. Aaron Rodgers” for the New York Jets
Derek Carr is arriving in Florham Park today for his visit with the New York Jets. All the while, Aaron Rodgers is channeling Tom Hardy’s version of Bane (he was born in the dark… molded by it).
The Carr vs. Rodgers debate has reached its crescendo in Jets land.
Do the Jets shoot for the stars by selling out for the four-time MVP? Or do they take the safer route with Carr?
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As Jets fans deliberate over which option they prefer, it’s important to keep a crucial factor in mind: This debate is not as simple as Carr-versus-Rodgers.
Rodgers is not competing against Carr head-to-head. He is competing against Carr plus whatever assets it would take for the Jets to acquire Rodgers.
When this discussion began in January, it was unknown whether Carr would be traded by the Raiders or released into free agency. There was a possibility that Carr, like Rodgers, may require some trade compensation to acquire. But now, we know that Carr is a free agent and can be acquired without giving up any draft picks.
For the Jets, this is a pro-Carr advantage that cannot be overlooked. As much as we like to label the Jets as a team that is “a quarterback away”, their roster is nowhere near perfect outside of the quarterback position. It’s a roster that may be a quarterback away from making the playoffs, but it is more than just a quarterback away from winning a championship.
That’s why it would be a massive boon for the Jets if they can acquire an upgrade at quarterback without losing any draft picks. By signing Carr, they will solve their quarterback problem and still be able to fill the remaining holes that surround him, particularly along the offensive line.
If the Jets get Rodgers, they will likely part ways with their first-round pick at the very least. Rodgers will also cost the Jets more guaranteed money over the course of his contract than Carr, in all likelihood. With no first-round pick (it’s possible more picks could go to Green Bay as well) and less money to spend, it would be difficult for the Jets to patch the final holes that stand between them and legitimate Super Bowl contention.
Picture it this way:
- Derek Carr, Peter Skoronski, and whoever the Jets sign with the extra money that would have gone to Rodgers
- Aaron Rodgers
(Feel free to put your favorite first-round prospect in Skoronski’s place, I just used him as a placeholder.)
In a vacuum, just about anyone would gladly take Aaron Rodgers over Derek Carr, but this situation is a lot more complex than that. The Jets must decide whether they prefer a better quarterback for the short term or a better all-around roster for both the short term and the long term.
Obviously, presenting this debate as a straight-up decision for the Jets is merely for the sake of discussion. It goes without saying that New York does not have its pick of the litter. We still don’t know what Rodgers wants to do, and as for Carr, he has already taken a meeting with the Saints and is likely to visit with other teams as well. It’s possible that one or both of these quarterbacks decide they do not want to play for the Jets. In that scenario, this whole discussion becomes meaningless.
For now, though, it’s fascinating to compare these two drastically different options the Jets could choose to try and solve their long-lasting quarterback problem.
I think the real debate is the amount of dollars per year allocated towards the cap versus the caliber of player you’re getting. I’m not in favor of trading 13, and I doubt it would be necessary, but a fully guaranteed rookie contract plus whatever Carr’s cap hit will be would likely be higher than that of Rodgers and the absence of that rookie deal. Even without trading 13, there likely won’t be a huge gap in the amount of cap space the team would have to allocate towards Rodgers or Carr. With that in mind, there is a huge gap in the quality of the two QBs. One is top 5-10 all time, the other has maybe been considered an active top 10 QB once or twice in his career. With Rodgers, they would likely be getting an addition roughly equivalent to Tampa adding Brady or Denver adding Manning. With Carr, the equivalent would be like when KC added Alex Smith. If Carr is the plan, they better hope they’re able to identify the next Mahomes and then be in a position to acquire and develop him. The odds of that happening are just above non-existent. Every indication from the Jets is that they know this and are going to aggressively pursue Rodger.
I’m not sure that I understand why we would have to give up anywhere near a first round pick for Rodgers. If Rodgers decides that he wants out of Green Bay and that he wants to come to the Jets, what leverage does Green Bay have? Their only leverage is to decide not to trade him or trade him somewhere that he doesn’t want to go. Neither one of those things is an option. Let’s offer a third rounder.
Rodgers is a head case. It begs saying stay away from him. Go with Carr. You can win a Super Bowl with him. And it would not cost any draft choices.
You left out the change in the potential cap hit because of Carr’s release. If we had to trade for him under his current contract it would have meant a $30-35mil cap hit. As a free agent we can do a new deal that pays him a $60 mil signing bonus spread out over 6 years but a small salary in the 1st year. His cap hit might only be around $12mil.
Ok Michael, you have convinced me, they have a shot at Carr. I am still cautiously optimistic thinking this will be Kirk Cousins 2.0. For me the real question/debate is this:
Can the Jets win a Super Bowl with the Rogers package? Assuming your model is correct, the real debate is, does Carr & all the assets win you a Super Bowl vs. does the Aaron Rogers package win you a Super Bowl?
Again, call me crazy, but I watched the playoffs and thought to myself, the Jets are not far away at all from competing with these teams. I look at KC and see an average roster with 3 super stars. Mahomes, Kelce, and Jones, it’s not much. Mahomes makes the difference, I believe Rogers can make that same difference. I’m not sure about Carr. I’m thinking Rogers, Garrett, and Q, those are the super stars. Not to mention what Sauce brings or DJ or Hall. I believe even with the holes you mention in the roster, Rogers makes that difference.
It doesn’t make sense in the long term for sure but, I ask the question: If they win the super bowl next season will that make everyone happy? So, for me, there’s the debate. One HUGE disclaimer, this only happens if Rogers is interested and committed to football. I don’t think he is…
I’m no expert on the Chiefs roster, but I do know they had Creed Humphries and Joe Thuney, who are also stars, on their O-Line and that line held off the DL of the Eagles that had demolished the offense of every other team they faced. So, average except for 3 super stars is not quite correct.
I would agree, Humphry and Thuney are stars, I don’t think the same game changing kind of stars as the other 3. I wouldn’t say super stars, but I understand your point. That’s why I include a few “star” players from the Jets.
I would love if the jets could wrap the carr deal this weekend. Not sure how quickly they can free up enough money, but let’s start this off-season off right.