I tuned in a little late to Monday Night Football and wasn't fully paying attention until play-by-play voice Joe Buck casually mentioned that Zach Wilson had dropped back to pass for the Jets.
It didn't take long to figure out what had happened: Starter Aaron Rodgers, the centerpiece of the Jets' (and really the entire NFL) offseason, had been injured on the fourth snap of the game. It was called an ankle injury initially with a questionable return, but it looked worse.
And it was. The revised diagnosis Tuesday was a torn left Achilles, a devastating injury that will likely knock Rodgers out for the rest of the season and calls into question whether he will return at all after turning 40 later this year.
What does it mean? I talked about some of it on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast, but here are five more defined thoughts.
*Years of Rodgers drama for ... that? Rodgers' clock in Green Bay effectively started ticking in 2020 when the Packers moved up to select quarterback Jordan Love in the first round.
Though the process and personalities were different, it started a three-year odyssey — the MVP awards, the near-misses in the playoffs, the disappointing 2022 season, the communication breakdowns, the "Darkness Retreat" — that had an eerily similar ending to Brett Favre 15 years ago. Rodgers was traded to the Jets, just like Favre, while Love the understudy took over after three years of sitting.
The payoff was supposed to be fascinating. Instead, it is basically over before it started, at least for 2023.
*Was an August incident a warning? Rodgers "tweaked" his right calf on the first day of OTAs in May, which was covered extensively but didn't really seem to slow him down too much.
But a lesser-reported injury — to the left side on which he suffered the Achilles injury Monday — came less than a month ago in practice and had Rodgers clutching his left calf.
*Let's revisit 2009: So Favre lasted a full year with the Jets before landing with the Vikings in 2009. Imagine if Favre had arrived here, with the helicopter chase and everything else, only to get injured for the season after four snaps? That's the level of letdown the Jets and their fans are feeling.
*Good and bad for Packers: Green Bay might feel vindicated for its decision to move on from Rodgers after the Week 1 performance of Love and injury to Rodgers. But it does negatively impact the Packers in one way:
The 2024 draft pick the Jets are sending to Green Bay would have been a first-rounder had Rodgers played 65% of the snaps this season. That is virtually impossible now, meaning it will be a second-rounder. And the Jets still could be decent this year: they managed to win last night over a tough Bills team in overtime thanks in large part to their defense. So instead of getting, say, the No. 25 overall pick let's guess it will be more like No. 50.
*Let's bring this back to Kirk Cousins: Here are three lingering Cousins thoughts from all this.
First, it's another reason to celebrate Cousins' durability instead of taking it for granted. Because the Vikings' season would dramatically change with a Cousins injury, just as the Jets' season has now.
Second, Wilson's continued struggled — he posted a 22.6 total QBR in relief Monday — is a reminder that high draft picks at QB can elevate or drop a franchise. Wilson was the No. 2 overall pick in 2021, and he is no closer to being "the guy" now than he was as a rookie.
However, third ... the Jets pursued Cousins five years ago in free agency. If the Vikings go in the tank this season and the Jets stay afloat, it's not crazy to think the Jets could try to trade for Cousins near the Oct. 31 trade deadline if they think their Super Bowl window is now.
I know, it's too early to think about that. But that's what I'm here for.