HomeTrade Rumors- Latest AFC News: Aaron Rodgers, Robert Saleh, Mac Jones, Jets, Patriots,...

– Latest AFC News: Aaron Rodgers, Robert Saleh, Mac Jones, Jets, Patriots, Titans

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Jets

  • The Athletic’s Dianna Russini and Zack Rosenblatt did a deep dive into the disaster that was the 2023 Jets after the team went into a tailspin after losing QB Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. One coach summed it up: “It’s just such a f—ing mess. Something has to change.”
  • No matter what, losing Rodgers would have put a hole under the waterline. But sources told Russini and Rosenblatt that other issues like a poor offensive line, bad personnel decisions and OC Nathaniel Hackett being overmatched exacerbated things. 
  • One coach told Russini and Rosenblatt the offensive line issues were apparent in training camp even before players got hurt, but Hackett and the staff showed little urgency to fix it. He added he’d never seen a team watch less practice tape in camp. 
  • The relationship between Hackett and Rodgers was described as closer to frat brothers than player/coach, with Rodgers essentially getting free reign for whatever he wanted to do on that side of the ball.
  • Multiple coaches and players added Hackett lacked attention to detail. He also struggled to make in-game adjustments, notably in Week 2 against the Cowboys. 
  • Russini and Rosenblatt say the Jets have explored making further additions to the coaching staff to create a more collaborative approach and reduce Hackett’s role. Rodgers has been involved in those discussions. 
  • The two also wrote the perception from other teams is the Jets allow Rodgers more input than normal, even from star quarterbacks. They signed several players Rodgers recommended and nearly all of them struggled to produce. One AFC GM remarked to Russini and Rosenblatt: “Rodgers isn’t the assistant GM. Joe Douglas is the assistant GM.”
  • Once Rodgers went down, the Jets contacted Chad Henne, Colt McCoy and Carson Wentz, but elected to stick with QB Zach Wilson and not sign anyone else, per Russini and Rosenblatt. They add key decision-makers didn’t think eventual Browns QB Joe Flacco would be an upgrade over Wilson. 
  • Russini reiterated her midseason report that when Jets HC Robert Saleh benched Wilson, he told him he’d be a healthy scratch and they’d try to trade him. Later Saleh changed his mind, but Wilson was reluctant to start again because he was concerned about injury.
  • She adds Saleh asked Rodgers to talk to Wilson about it, but that furthered Wilson’s disillusionment about his relationship with Rodgers. Wilson, along with some other players, was also frustrated over how Saleh fawned over Rodgers, and he thought he’d have much more communication with Rodgers even after his injury than ended up happening. 
  • After Rodgers called out the Jets building for leaks after Russini and Rosenblatt’s report about Wilson’s hesitancy to start again, Saleh called a staff meeting to try and find the leaker. It did not necessarily enhance his credibility. 
  • Per the Athletic, Saleh became increasingly concerned about his job security as the season went on, and openly hoped for an endorsement from Rodgers or owner Woody Johnson.  
  • Johnson is known to be active on Twitter and consumes a lot of criticism of the team from fans and media, which he’d then bring to Saleh, per Russini and Rosenblatt. While Saleh was publicly supportive of Wilson, behind the scenes he pinned a lot of the issues on him, the line and the receivers and said they would be lucky to be an eight-win team. 
  • After the Jets got embarrassed by the Dolphins on Black Friday, Saleh researched how other coaches had fared without their star quarterbacks as a talking point to defend his job status. Russini and Rosenblatt pointed this out as an example of a culture of excuse-making that seemed to afflict the Jets.
  • SNY’s Connor Hughes reports that the Jets are parting ways with assistant GM Rex Hogan.

Patriots

Reports indicated the Patriots would be open to trading QB Mac Jones this offseason for the “right deal.” After back-to-back poor seasons from Jones, New England isn’t likely to get much back in return. One executive for another team told Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald the “right deal” might be a mid-round pick. 

“I could see a team, even if they saw him as a very good backup, trading a fifth-round pick for him,” they said. “Maybe they could get a fourth-rounder, but it would depend on the time of year, and the team’s situation.”

“I definitely think he’ll have a market. It seems like it’s been a rough go for him the past two years,” the exec added. “Mayo’s a new coach and everything. But it just seems like holding onto him might cause more issues. That’s not how you want to start your coaching career, having a disgruntled player, especially at that position. It’s not what you want, especially when you’re trying to establish a new way of doing things, a new culture there.”

Last year, the 49ers got a fourth-round pick in return for former first-round QB Trey Lance, who was drafted the same year as Jones. 

Trey Lance never had a season like Mac had,” the executive said, “but he also had a couple of years of control on his contract which is a big deal making a trade.”

Titans

  • Per Paul Kuharsky, Titans ILB assistant Zak Kuhr is no longer with the team.
  • The Lions will hire Titans DL coach Terrell Williams to the same position on their staff and add run game coordinator to his title. He’s currently coaching in the Senior Bowl. (Dianna Russini)

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