The New York Jets gambled when they hired ex-Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett as their new offensive coordinator. The Jets hope that hiring Hackett will entice Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to force a trade to Gang Green to play with his former offensive coordinator.
Hackett spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers between 2019 and 2021, and they won 13 games in each season of his tenure. Hackett has a tight relationship with Rodgers, and the Jets hope to leverage that link to upgrade their quarterback.
The Packers missed the postseason with an 8-9 record this season, and there’s been rampant speculation that Rodgers played his last game with the Packers and will request a trade in the off-season.
Powered by a strong defense, the Jets started the season 7-4 before they ended the season with a six-game losing streak. With a 7-11 record, the Jets missed a shot at the AFC wild card.
Oddsmakers and bettors didn’t have much faith in the Jets during the preseason. They saw little action in futures wagers at +13000 odds to win the Super Bowl. However, after a 5-2 start, the Jets saw their Super Bowl odds shrink to +8000. That would be their best odds, because they won only twice more in the remainder of the season.
The Jets recently fired offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and didn’t wait long before they hired Hackett.
Hackett Lasted Only 15 Games with the Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos hired Hackett as their new head coach under the assumption that would persuade Rodgers to join the team in a blockbuster trade. The risky move backfired, and Rodgers only used the Broncos’ interest to secure a $200 million contract extension with the Packers.
The Broncos were stuck with a rookie head coach and no quarterback. They quickly pivoted and overpaid to acquire Russell Wilson in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson struggled in his first season with the Broncos. He and Hackett failed to get on the same page with the offense, and injuries hampered Wilson’s ability to unleash the same magic that made him successful in Seattle. As a result, the Broncos were the lowest-scoring team in the NFL, averaging 16.9 points per game.
The Broncos fired Hackett after the team gave up in a 51-14 blow-out loss on Christmas against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16. Hackett finished his rookie season as a head coach with a 4-11 record.
The Broncos were a popular pick to win the Super Bowl at +1800 odds last season after they added Wilson. However, bettors quickly soured on the Broncos and jumped off the bandwagon early in the season, especially after they realized Hackett was out of his depth as a head coach.
Jets Think Hiring Hackett Will Snag them Rodgers
Hackett had success as an offensive coordinator with the Packers, but he was awful as a head coach with the Broncos. His inexperience cost the Broncos a couple of games early in the season, and the team never recovered.
The Jets made a bold move by hiring Hackett, and hope that he’ll thrive in his old position. They’re also gambling that their bet on Hackett will pay off by using him to help them land Rodgers. We saw this move fail last season when the Broncos’ bet on Hackett blew up in their face and Rodgers remained in Green Bay.
Head coach Robert Saleh downplayed the Hackett hire as a conduit to Rodgers.
It’s all surface-level stuff, because it doesn’t matter what the connections are,” said Saleh. “Everybody has a connection to everybody in this league.”
Hackett has familial ties to the Jets. His father, Paul Hackett, was the offensive coordinator with the Jets for four seasons in the early 2000s under head coach Herman Edwards.
Rodgers has been coy about his future. Reports out of Green Bay suggested the Packers won’t trade Rodgers to an NFC team. That position has led everyone in the New York tri-state area to speculate that the Jets, as an AFC team, have an inside track to adding Rodgers.
The big question looms in Gotham: does Rodgers even like Hackett? If he does, then the Jets made the right move to lure the former MVP and Super Bowl champion to the Jets.
Did the LOLJets Make Another Huge Mistake?
The Jets overestimated their opinion of quarterback Zach Wilson. They selected Wilson with the #2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he failed to live up to lofty expectations. Saleh benched Wilson in the middle of the season because of his subpar play and poor leadership abilities.
The Jets’ offense thrived under backup quarterback Mike White. Unfortunately, White suffered multiple injuries in a game against the Buffalo Bills and was unable to suit up for the Jets down the stretch. Wilson returned to his starting job but failed to lead the Jets to an AFC wild-card berth when they finished the season with a 7-10 record amidst a six-game skid.
The Jets know Wilson isn’t the quarterback of the future, but he’s still under contract for one more season.
Team owner Woody Johnson said the Jets are willing to spend big bucks to land a quarterback, but the free agent market is thin this season. Perhaps Johnson was suggesting the Jets would be willing to add Rodgers and pay his lucrative salary?
Jets fans are used to the franchise making blunder after blunder. There’s a reason the team is referred to as the LOLJets. Fans were the ones who created the popular #LOLJets hashtag on social media.
Hiring Hackett could help get them Rodgers, who in turn could deliver the Jets their first trip to the Super Bowl since Joe Namath led the underdog Jets to a victory in Super Bowl III.
However, the most jaded fans are skeptical. They’re worried that Hackett’s hiring could deter Rodgers from joining the Jets, and the team will be saddled with an offensive coordinator who is one year removed from a disastrous season with the Broncos.
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