FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It wasn't just a quarterback trade. When the New York Jets acquired Aaron Rodgers in April, they committed to a new way of doing business. They built everything around one player -- personnel, scheme and culture -- and it unraveled in spectacular fashion.

Unofficially, Year 1 of Rodgers ended Tuesday, when he announced on "The Pat McAfee Show" his 2023 comeback bid is over.

A healthy Rodgers will be back in 2024, but only a naïve observer would believe that a 40-year-old quarterback, coming off Achilles surgery, could singlehandedly transform a franchise that has suffered for the better part of a half-century.

The Jets have issues. We're talking big questions, starting with ... yep, personnel, scheme and culture. Namely:

Will GM Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh get a chance to clean this up?

They received a strong endorsement Tuesday from Rodgers, who wields considerable influence within the organization.

"I believe in the leadership we have here," he said.

If owner Woody Johnson harbors any thoughts of making changes, he'd risk upsetting his future Hall of Famer, who committed to playing at least two more seasons.

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Saleh's record is 16-32, including a 2-11 mark in December/January games. His .333 winning percentage is the third worst in franchise history among coaches with at least one full season, ahead of Adam Gase (.281) and Rich Kotite (.125). Douglas, who arrived two years before Saleh, is 25-55 as the top football executive.

Ordinarily, those kinds of records get people fired, but this is a unique situation because of the Rodgers factor. At the same time, the fan base is fuming, having endured 13 straight non-playoff seasons -- the longest active streak among the four major sports leagues.

Rodgers probably feels indebted to Douglas and Saleh because they got him out of an uncomfortable situation in Green Bay and showed faith in him when no other team was knocking on his cabin door at his darkness retreat in February. Rodgers -- in the twilight of his legendary career -- doesn't want to start over with a new coach and GM.

Johnson has poured so much into Rodgers (including $75 million guaranteed for 2023 and 2024) that it might behoove him to maximize that investment, which is why the sense at One Jets Drive is Douglas and Saleh will be back. Maybe that changes if they lose out, but right now, it seems like it's mulligans for everyone.


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What becomes of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett?

Hackett, in his first year with the Jets, is presiding over one of the worst offenses in modern NFL history. There are countless statistics we could use to back that up, but just know this: They have 13 touchdowns, meaning they average less than one per game. The offense has fewer first-quarter touchdowns (one) than the defense has safeties (two). Week after week, the Jets seem to be a step behind from a tactical standpoint, yet Saleh has not made any changes on his offensive staff.

Hackett's close relationship with Rodgers, dating to three years together in Green Bay, may have a lot to do with it. Rodgers agreed to play for the Jets, in large part, because of Hackett, who gives carte blanche to the four-time MVP.

Like Douglas and Saleh, Hackett received effusive praise from Rodgers, who wants no part of having to learn a new offense at the back end of his career. He said Hackett runs a "quarterback-friendly offense" designed for him. Translation: I stay, he stays.

Which puts the Jets between a Rodgers and a hard place: Do they retain an underperforming coordinator because he's tight with the quarterback? Does Hackett get a do-over because he lost his quarterback on the fourth play of the season?

If ownership decides to replace Saleh, it would be unorthodox and completely cumbersome to force the next coach to keep Hackett.

So, you see, it's a sticky situation.

How do they fix the offensive line?

Rodgers was running for his life on the second play of the season. On the fourth play, he got caught and ruptured his left Achilles. It was a cruel harbinger. The pass protection has been abysmal all season, as the Jets have allowed 61 sacks, second most in the league.

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The offensive line needs an overhaul. Only two starters are locks to be back in 2024 -- injured guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and center Joe Tippmann. Tackle Mekhi Becton will be a free agent, and guard Laken Tomlinson ($18.9 million cap charge in '24) could be a cap casualty.

Bottom line: They will need two or three starters. Currently holding the No. 7 position in the draft, the Jets could have a shot at a blue-chip left tackle, either Penn State's Olumuyiwa Fashanu or Notre Dame's Joe Alt. Either one would be a solid blind-side protector for Rodgers. Douglas will have to rely on free agency to plug the other holes, but the pickings are slim. Jonah Williams (Cincinnati Bengals) might be the most intriguing name.

Douglas, a former college lineman who vowed to build a formidable offensive line, has failed to do that. Since taking over in 2019, the Jets have allowed 251 sacks. Only the New York Giants (256) have allowed more. Injuries have been a factor, as 13 different players have started.


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How can they keep No. 1 wide receiver Garrett Wilson happy?

Their top playmaker does a good job of bottling his frustration (most of the time), but his patience is tested every week. In Sunday's 30-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Wilson wasn't targeted until the third quarter. "I'm aware," he deadpanned to a reporter. The Jets need to acquire another weapon to balance the passing attack and take pressure off Wilson.

Free agency could be filled with big names, with Mike Evans (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Tee Higgins (Cincinnati Bengals) and Michael Pittman Jr. (Indianapolis Colts) slated to hit the open market, but the Jets could try to trade for Davante Adams (Las Vegas Raiders). Yeah, another Rodgers guy.

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Rodgers and Adams were magic in Green Bay, but now Adams is 31 and due to make $17 million guaranteed in 2024. Then again, he'd be ideal for a win-now team. Somehow, they need to add another quality wideout because the position is devoid of playmakers after Wilson, who seemed envious of the Dolphins with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

"I think they have a lot of pieces in their favor that make it easier to scheme," Wilson said after the game. "Then Reek goes down, they put Waddle in there and you go for 150. That's the ball I grew up loving, but that's not how it's going right now. I have to figure it out, be better."

The allure of playing with Rodgers probably will appease Wilson for another year, but his long-term future with the team bears watching if the offensive struggles continue.

Who will be the backup quarterback?

Zach Wilson has one year remaining on his contract, but he could be a goner after three tumultuous seasons and little production. Ultimately, his inability to stabilize the offense is one of the big reasons why they collapsed after the Rodgers injury.

The Jets learned a hard lesson, which means they must secure a better insurance policy next season. Ryan Tannehill (Tennessee Titans), Gardner Minshew (Indianapolis Colts) and Jameis Winston (New Orleans Saints) are heading to free agency. This will be one of the bigger decisions of the offseason.

Will they alter their team-building approach?

Except for drafting defensive end Will McDonald in the first round, every significant move last offseason was designed to help Rodgers and make him comfortable in his transition. Not only have those moves fizzled -- most notably the $22 million guarantee for wide receiver Allen Lazard (23 receptions) -- but it created a "one-man team" perception.

That's not always great for the culture.

"If we're just depending on one person, one position, to save our organization, then it's never going to happen," said linebacker C.J. Mosley, a team captain. "It has to be everybody. ... If we're just putting our chips on one person, nine times out of 10 it's not going to happen. This is a team sport."