Things to Do While Waiting for Aaron Rodgers
NFL Offseason - Are you bored after weeks and weeks of Aaron Rodgers trade speculation? Weary of all the prattle from New York Jets fans, Green Bay Packers fans and the national media? Worried that Rodgers might, say, purchase a social media platform or audition to host The Newlywed Game if the trade standoff lingers on much longer?
Don’t despair! There are plenty of things you can do to wile away the hours until Rodgers is safely ensconced in Florham Park and the Packers have received (checks Packers fansites) seven first-round picks or (Jets fansites) a conditional seventh-rounder in 2034 as compensation!
Schedule a Darkness Retreat
At its core, the “darkness retreat” made famous by Rodgers is simply a retreat: an escape from the distractions of everyday life to rest and meditate, probably in a secluded setting, perhaps with some spiritual guidance. Such getaways are available to non-quarterbacks from retreat centers around the globe at roughly resort-vacation prices.
The intensity of the “darkness” appears to vary from retreat to retreat. Some providers immerse patrons in darkness at sunset and bring them back into the light at sunrise. That sounds a lot like just “going to bed,” but add a little Ayahuasca tea to the equation and going to bed can get rather trippy.
Some retreats sound steeped in ancient monastic traditions, while a few sound suspiciously like Club Med with a Spotify new age playlist and a blindfold. The casual dabbler, like Rodgers, would probably prefer the latter.
If a weeklong journey into darkness is out of your comfort/price range, an hour or two in a sensory-deprivation float tank is available at a spa near you for little more than the price of a therapeutic massage. Warning: there is typically no refund if you emerge with a desire to play for the Jets.
If even a spa session is too ambitious, you can replicate the Rodgers offseason emotional experience by burying yourself in blankets and listening to the new Depeche Mode album on an endless loop for three days.
Wager Some Money
Sportsbooks have set the Jets 2023 win total at a modest 9.5. Rodgers believers can play the over at a less-than-appetizing -130 moneyline. Rodgers skeptics/Jets realists can get the under at +110. Those numbers have not moved in the several weeks that this column was, um, in the editing queue.
Fans who are truly over-the-moon about Rodgers’ pending arrival can pick the Jets to win the AFC East at +260 (The Buffalo Bills are the favorites at +125); the AFC at +900 (the Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites at +380); or the Super Bowl at +1400 (Chiefs, +600). Again, these numbers have been more-or-less sticky for nearly a month.
Rodgers is getting +1600 odds for the 2023 Most Valuable Player award, and if things go very specifically haywire, current Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is getting +5000 odds for Comeback Player of the Year. You can do it, Zach! Prove the doubters wrong!
The betting odds clearly presuppose a Rodgers trade to the Jets. They also probably presuppose Rodgers’ unavailability for offseason activities and his dissatisfaction with everything from his supporting cast to traffic on the Garden State Parkway, hence the modest win total and robust moneylines.
The Rodgers saga may look like a lot of hoopla over an off-Broadway revival of Joe Montana’s Kansas City Chiefs years with a less-likable cast, but betting on Rodgers to take the Jets to their promised land (the divisional round of the playoffs) makes much more sense than betting on Lamar Jackson to be wearing a Colts uniform in September.
Remember the Brett Favre Epoch … Fondly?
The protracted Rodgers trade negotiations so closely mirror the Jets’ efforts to acquire Brett Favre from the Packers in 2008 that it is impossible to avoid comparisons and find reasons for either giddy optimism (Jets fans) or guttering pessimism (normal people).
For the optimists: the 2008 Jets started the season 8-3 and embarked on a five-game midseason winning streak before Favre suffered a bicep injury. If not for the injury, who knows how successful Favre’s Jets might have been?
For the pessimists: the Jets chose to hide Favre’s injury. Favre threw nine interceptions as the Jets went 1-4 in their final five games. Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington led a Miami Dolphins comeback in the season finale, eliminating the Jets from the playoffs. Head coach Eric Mangini was fired at season’s end. Farvre retired (for the second time) after the season, un-retiring for the third time months later to join the Minnesota Vikings. Also, the sexting scandal, heralding Favre’s downslide into utter dirtbaggery.
Unearth a blog entry from the time about Favre's Jets tenure and you realize that the tale of Farve leading the team to some heroic near-miss is a nostalgic retcon and a form of emotional impact-bracing for what's about to happen.
Perhaps trading for this aging, eccentric Packers superstar quarterback will be different, except for the parts where the Jets hope it will be the same. What are the odds that we will be embroiled in a “What’s Wrong With Aaron Rodgers?” storyline by mid-November, just like the ones we were embroiled in for most of the late Novembers of the 2010s, only to be informed by Adam Schefter that Rodgers suffered a secret rotator cuff injury in Week 11, and from Pat McAfee that Rodgers treated the injury himself with energy crystals and kitten tranquilizers?
As mentioned earlier, handicappers seem to think that history will disappointingly repeat itself. And the house always knows.
News ‘n’ Notes
An update on lots of recent and not-so-recent NFL news.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles Agree to New Contract
As expected, Howie Roseman struck while the Chargers and Bengals front offices were still wrapping dimes, and he built his own peculiar mousetrap.
Jason Fitzgerald wrote about the impact of “new money” on Hurts’ deal at OverTheCap.com, and Bryan Knowles speculates about what the Hurts deal means for Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and others at Underdog Fantasy. Everyone, including me, agrees that the no-trade clause is an eye-opener. Don’t be surprised if such a clause becomes the proxy/consolation prize for a full Deshaun Watson guarantee in franchise quarterback contracts moving forward. A no-trade clause acts as a sort of de-facto guarantee that the team will stick it out for a non-guaranteed year or two if things are going sideways, so it has significant financial and peace-of-mind value.
Baltimore Ravens sign Odell Beckham Jr
Beckham’s last 1,000-yard season was 2019. His last truly great season was 2016. He’s 30 years old now and coming off a year lost to injury. He hasn’t posted positive DVOA since he played for the Giants.
It’s hard to imagine a player with a higher expectations-to-performance-level ratio right now than Beckham, and he’s joining a team in the midst of a trial separation with its quarterback and a complete schematic offensive overhaul.
Beckham has value as a symbolic peace offering, as well as a designated deep threat and a name to repeat often in articles to entice search engines. Overall, the Ravens would probably have been better off just keeping Hollywood Brown last year.
Atlanta Falcons Trade for Jeff Okudah
The Falcons also added edge rusher Bud Dupree to pair with Calais Campbell. Their free agent haul includes everyone from Jonnu Smith to Mack Hollins, in addition to a true blue chip in Jessie Bates (and a gray chip in Campbell). Basically, if a player has been a disappointment for two years but could still theoretically be valuable, the Falcons have acquired him.
The Falcons and Saints are in a silly little arms race to win the NFC South with a 10-7 record. For Arthur Smith, the gambit makes sense: he’s in his third year as the franchise showrunner and needs to demonstrate some progress in the name of job security. And hey, any team is a few late field goals and a miraculous catch away from going 13-4 in the NFC. The Falcons’ offseason moves are so sweaty that they just might work!
Sorry. I don’t know why I am like this. I feel the need to rain on Falcons fans’ parade when they don’t even have parades. Enjoy the flurry of moves, Falcons faithful. Just be aware that many of them are either window dressing or moves they wouldn’t need to make if Smith and Terry Fontenot did a more thorough rebuilding job over the last two years.
Pittsburgh Steelers Trade for Allen Robinson
Robinson's name still drives fantasy traffic on these Internet streets, so the Steelers/Rams swap of conditional seventh-round picks and divvy up Robinson's triple-bacon-cheeseburger of a contract made semi-big news early in the week. He will fill two roles in Pittsburgh: a) the end-zone fade target when the opponent's best cornerback is covering George Pickens; and b) the receiver Steelers fans obsessively gripe about on talk radio, replacing Chase Claypool and Juju Smith-Schuster. That second role is important, as it draws trouble away from Pickens.
Lamar Jackson Update
Jackson pitched a low-key public fit, aired some grievances with his employer and put out feelers for some other opportunities, only to realize that it was bad timing for a job search, there are some contractual realities at play and he wasn’t all that comfortable with change.
For now, it looks like there’s a ceasefire agreement between Jackson and the Ravens. John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and Steve Bisciotti run a tight, professional ship by NFL standards, so don’t be surprised if they do what they need to do to satisfy a high-profile employee and get everything moving in the right direction. Both the Ravens and Jackson are fortunate in that sense: short-sighted, irresponsible or downright reprehensible behavior on the part of ownership – ya’ know, like Dan Snyder – often leads to complete disaster.
11 comments, Last at 24 Apr 2023, 1:51pm
#1 by guest from Europe // Apr 22, 2023 - 2:35am
For now, it looks like there’s a ceasefire agreement between Jackson and the Ravens. John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and Steve Bisciotti run a tight, professional ship by NFL standards, so don’t be surprised if they do what they need to do to satisfy a high-profile employee and get everything moving in the right direction.
And what is this that they need to do?
To Eagles' fans: description of the Hurts' contract in the article as a peculiar mousetrap for Roseman is interesting.
A speculation: this new Commanders' owner might do something on the QB trade market. That's what his Philly 76ers do.
#2 by theslothook // Apr 22, 2023 - 1:47pm
I don't know how comfortable I feel continuing to read and comment on a site that is flagrantly not paying its employees.
This is something I've personally dealt with in the past twice and it's pretty unforgivable. It's basically management assuming they can take such liberties at the literal expense of their employees.
If you read Bryan's Twitter post, The parent company put out a fluff piece about how much they've grown the business and yet have remained audibly silent about the lack of payments to their writers.
#4 by andrew // Apr 22, 2023 - 5:03pm
Going by their press release it seems Champion Gaming is focusing in views and traffic, so even canceling subscriptions in protest may not impact them, we would have to stop visiting the site.
OTOH I wonder if that press release was fishing for a buyer to sell off the entire operation.
#7 by Noahrk // Apr 23, 2023 - 11:19am
On the other hand there's still writers here who are getting paid who would be affected by a boycott. Ultimately Bryan and the others will have to take legal action to get their money and the site will unavoidably face consequences if the quality of the writers falls. So I suggest using the site as you normally would and giving Bryan and the others some clicks at Underdog.
When I say use the site normally, that includes the fact I'm not as motivated to use it as before, of course. You just don't do that to people.
#9 by guest from Europe // Apr 24, 2023 - 2:19am
It's basically management assuming they can take such liberties at the literal expense of their employees.
A lot of managers all over the world do this. Isn't this model of a wild 21st century global business?