SAN DIEGO — Tom Brady landed with a loaded football team, in a hospitable division and conference, upon leaving his longtime NFL club at age 42.
He’ll need a lot of good luck, just to scratch out a winning season.
If Rodgers, 39, were to push the New York Jets to the top of the NFL heap, three years after Brady took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers there, he goes straight to Canton. No point in the voters waiting five years.
The Jets do employ a few young players who soon could evolve into All-Pro candidates, but the roster’s margins are thin. Question marks populate the coaching staff, starting with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
The AFC East is rough — Buffalo’s Josh Allen able to make plays Rodgers couldn’t pull off even in his prime years. Elsewhere in the AFC, the star QBs number at least six: Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson.
Back when he could run fast, not just outpass most counterparts, Rodgers led the 2010 Packers to three straight road victories in the playoffs and a Super Bowl win over the Steelers after coach Mike McCarthy put the game on his arm.
Guiding the Jets to 10 wins and the AFC’s last playoff seed would rank a mere sliver behind those collective feats, while eclipsing a few of his MVP seasons.
In Media Land are folks who’d have us believe Brady walked across the waters of Tampa Bay and lifted a pedestrian team to the Super Bowl.
Let’s see. In comparison to these Jets, the 2020 Bucs had better players, better coaches and better resources to improve the roster after Brady signed up. The division and conference were favorable.
As a free agent, Brady was able to pick his team after hopping off the Creaky Ship Belichick.
Rodgers was under contract with the Packers, so the Jets had to pay a price in football currency to get him.
The newly acquired second-round draft pick the Packers used Friday to take a tight end would’ve come in handy to these Jets.
Ditto, perhaps, the No. 13 overall pick swapped for 15 in the first round Thursday.
Considering that at No. 13 in the 2020 draft the Bucs took a right tackle in Tristan Wirfs who would miss no snaps in the 20 games of the Super Bowl journey that followed, Thursday’s pick swap may sting down the road. Per the draftniks, it cost the Jets the best tackle still available after the 12th pick.
Rodgers and the Jets are crossing their fingers that Mekhi Becton, the massive and mobile tackle they drafted two spots ahead of Wirfs, can finally stay healthy.
The past two years, he’s played in just one game.
In the Jets’ dreams, Rodgers would’ve brought with him a tight end as capable as the 2020 version of Rob Gronkowski. Having followed his buddy Brady to Tampa, the Gronk showed he could still change games. He had a massive Super Bowl, as did a Bucs defense that overwhelmed Chiefs blockers and confused Mahomes.
Smart guy that he is, Brady chose a Bucs team that was a brilliant quarterback and a terrific tight end away from the contending for the Super Bowl.