Much has been said about Aaron Rodgers and the wish list he allegedly gave the Jets when he first met with the team nearly two months ago.
However, Jets coach Robert Saleh refuted those claims when asked about it on Friday after their first rookie minicamp practice.
“I think it is a silly narrative with regards to a wish list,” Saleh said.
“They’re 32 teams in the NFL and it’s common practice for when they’re changes, when you have a new coaching staff, when you have people coming in, you surround those people with people they’re familiar with.”
The Jets signed veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one-year contract on Wednesday. He is one of the many ex-teammates of Rodgers that’s joined the Jets roster this offseason.
In March, the Jets also signed wide receiver Allen Lazard to a four-year, $44 million contract. In addition to Rodgers and Lazard, quarterback Tim Boyle, offensive tackle Billy Turner and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have all joined the Jets after spending time in Green Bay.
Other reported names on Rodgers’ wish list included former Giants, Browns and Rams receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and former Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis. The Jets expressed interest in acquiring Beckham before he signed a one-year, $15 million guaranteed contract with the Ravens in April. Lewis remains a free agent, but Saleh said, “you never know” when he was asked about possibly adding the 38-year-old former Pro Bowler.
“I had a wish list, there’s Soloman Thomas, Marcell Harris, DJ Reed, Kwon Alexander, guys who I’ve worked with who are very familiar with our messaging and very familiar with our scheme who can come in and play,” Saleh said. “We had it on offense with Laken Tomlinson and Tevin Coleman and guys who have been in the system.
“Tom Brady goes to Tampa and he gets [Rob] Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. So it is very common for new faces to want old faces to help accelerate the new installation of a program. Hackett has something to say as he loves Lazard, loves Randall, he took Billy Turner with him to Denver, worked with him in Green Bay.
“Of course, you’re going to surround a coach with people who he feels like he can plant the flag. That whole narrative of whatever is being put on the quarterback, it is tired, but it’s common practice in the NFL.”
BECTON CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
After only playing one game over the last two seasons, it surprised no one the Jets decided not to pick up Mekhi Becton’s fifth-year option on Tuesday, which would have guaranteed him a salary of $13.5 million for the 2024 season.
However, Becton continues to impress coaches as he looks like a new man this offseason. He has reportedly lost over 50 pounds and has been practicing with the team during the Jets offseason program.
“He looks good, he looks fantastic,” Saleh said. “I don’t get into the whole business part of it. But just find a way to get better every day.
“He is attacking this offseason the right way and I’m excited for him.”
After his rookie season in which Becton started 13 games for the Jets at left tackle, injuries have plagued the former first-round pick out of Louisville. During the 2021 opener against the Panthers, Becton suffered a dislocated kneecap and missed the rest of that season.
Becton returned healthy for training camp the following season. However, he injured the same knee, resulting in another surgery, as he missed the 2022 campaign. Now Becton will compete with the hopes of him reclaiming a starting role on the Jets offensive line once again.
Becton has made no secret about his preference on the offensive line — he wants to be the starting left tackle. But he will have some competition at the spot in veteran Duane Brown, who started 12 games at left tackle last year. The Jets also selected tackle Carter Warren in the fourth round of last weekend’s draft.
Even if Becton plays at right tackle, there’s no guarantee he starts there either, as Max Mitchell, who started five games at right tackle as a rookie, is set to return after blood clots in his lungs and calf prematurely ended his season.
“We are going to play our best five. You can assume AVT [Alijah Vera-Tucker] is the best right guard and Laken. But center and both tackles, it’s going to be a cool competition on the offensive line.”