Aaron Rodgers trade official, Jets QB speaks: 'I believe in this team'

The New York Jets introduced Aaron Rodgers as a member of the team Wednesday, April 26 after his trade from the Green Bay Packers became official.

In the trade, the Jets received Rodgers, the No. 15 overall pick and a fifth-rounder this year from the Packers, according to another person with knowledge of the trade. In exchange, Green Bay will get the 13th overall selection, a sixth-rounder and a conditional 2024 second-round pick that can become a first-rounder if Rodgers plays 65% of plays for New York next season.

"This is a surreal day for me, after spending 18 years in the same city," Rodgers said. "There's a lot of excitement. I’m here because I believe in this team. I believe in Coach (Robert) Saleh. I believe in the direction of (general manager) Joe Douglas – obviously, he’s drafted really well in the last couple of years having an offensive and defensive rookie of the year.

"Obviously, a big thanks to the Green Bay Packer organization for an incredible run. That chapter is over now, and I'm excited about the new adventure here in New York."

Why the Jets?

Rodgers, who had previously said he was leaning significantly toward retiring before his darkness retreat, explained that one of his biggest draws to the Jets was their hiring of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in the offseason. 

"They smoked us last year so I knew that they had a good team," Rodgers said with a laugh. "A big reason I’m here, I’ve got to mention, is Nathaniel Hackett who is here. Hack and I became really close friends for three years in Green Bay and I love him like a brother and I believe in him. Really happy to be back working with him again."

Perhaps the biggest draw, Rodgers suggested, was the chance of winning another Super Bowl – New York’s first since the 1968 season.  

"I’m an old guy, so I want to be a part of a team that could win it all, and I believe that this is a place where we can get that done," he said. 

"I noticed, walking in this morning, that that Super Bowl III trophy is looking a little lonely, so." 

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Expectations for Rodgers’ arrival in New York are high considering the trade details, but the four-time league MVP is approaching the situation with realistic expectations. 

"I’m not here to be a savior of any kind. I’m just here to be the best quarterback I can be, to lead authentically, and to inspire the guys around me to raise their level of play to an even greater spot."

"There’s something special about playing in a city for a team like this with a storied franchise, and obviously, going way way back to Super Bowl III  – to be a part of something special would definitely help you down in the history of an organization. I already have 18 years in an incredibly iconic organization, and it’d be fun to be a part of the history of this one as well."

End of an era

Rodgers, 39, posted a lengthy farewell to his Instagram on Tuesday, just one day after news of a trade between the Packers and Jets was announced following weeks of speculation over what Rodgers’ future in the NFL would look like. 

With the Packers, Rodgers won four MVP awards, the second most ever by a single player, and was the MVP of Super Bowl XLV after the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011. His 59,082 career passing yards rank ninth in NFL history, 475 touchdowns rank fifth in NFL history, and 103.6 passer rating ranks second in NFL history.

The quarterback was named a five-time All-Pro by the Associated Press, including four first-team selections. Rodgers' 10 Pro Bowl selections are the most in Packers history. He is also a member of the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team, Tom Brady the only other quarterback.

Rodgers led the NFL in passer rating four times, passing touchdowns twice and completion percentage once. He also holds the NFL record for passer rating in a season, 122.5, as well as records for the lowest interception rate in a season and for a career, consecutive passes without an interception and best career touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft out of California, Rodgers took the reins from Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre after three seasons on the Packers' bench. 

Rodgers holds the Packers franchise record for passing touchdowns and passer rating (among quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts). He is second in team history for passing yards, games played and game-winning drives, trailing only Brett Favre who played 25 more games with Green Bay than did Rodgers.

Statements from Packers' officials

President/CEO Mark Murphy

"Aaron had an incredible career with the Packers.

"During a team-record 18-year career, he brought great joy to our fans through a Super Bowl championship, countless thrilling victories and breathtaking quarterback plays. He made playing quarterback look easy. As great a player as he is, what stands out most for me is his toughness – his willingness to play through pain. He will undoubtedly be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We were proud to have had him as the leader of our team through his impact on the field, in the locker room and in the community.

"We wish Aaron well in New York and look forward to welcoming him back to Green Bay to retire his No. 12, celebrate his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame and unveil his name on the Lambeau Field façade."

General Manager Brian Gutekunst

"We are eternally grateful for all that Aaron gave the Packers the last 18 years.

"While he undoubtedly will be remembered as one of the best players in our franchise’s storied history for all his accomplishments on the field, it is his competitive greatness, leadership and toughness that make him such a special player and person. The daily expectations he placed on himself and his teammates were instrumental in all that we accomplished during a special era of Packers football. We wish Aaron nothing but success and look forward to welcoming him back to Green Bay in the future and celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame."

Head Coach Matt LaFleur

"I’ve had the opportunity to work with many great players, but none better than Aaron.

"I will always be grateful for our time together, both on and off the field. The mark he left on our organization, players and coaches cannot be overstated. His drive for competitive greatness and the standards he set for everyone, including himself, made our team better. Ultimately, he made me a better coach. I will never forget his post-practice interactions with our families. His ability to connect with kids, including my own, was a great example for our locker room. He was and will always be a great representative of the ‘G’ and what it means to be a Green Bay Packer!"

FOX News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.