National Football League
Is Aaron Rodgers' absence from Jets minicamp cause for concern?
National Football League

Is Aaron Rodgers' absence from Jets minicamp cause for concern?

Published Jun. 12, 2024 5:06 p.m. ET

As the New York Jets opened mandatory offseason minicamp this week, there were two notable unexcused absences. One is newly acquired defensive end Haason Reddick, who is entering the final year of his contract and presumably wants a new one.

The other is Aaron Rodgers.

Details are scarce on why the 40-year-old quarterback is missing minicamp after he appeared at voluntary workouts last month and told reporters he knows the 2024 season is make-or-break for him and the staff in New York after he played just four snaps in 2023.

Head coach Robert Saleh said Rodgers was away for a previous commitment that "is very important to him" — and something he told the team about ahead of time. On Wednesday, Saleh was asked specifically whether Rodgers was aware the team would term his absence as "unexcused."


"I talked about it yesterday, but Aaron and I are on the exact same page," Saleh said. "There's no issue between Aaron — or his teammates, for that matter. So, like I said, we addressed it yesterday. It's more of an issue for everyone outside the building than it is inside.

"And that's about it."

Saleh reiterated that Rodgers had made the team aware of his plans in advance, but backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor said Tuesday he only learned he would be leading the starting offense earlier that morning. That implied neither Rodgers nor the Jets told Taylor — and perhaps his other teammates — that Rodgers would skip minicamp sessions.

"It’s a one-on-one conversation," Saleh said of his chat with Rodgers. "That’s not something the team needed to know about."

FS1's Colin Cowherd said Wednesday on "The Herd" that he was told by a source close to the four-time NFL MVP that Rodgers is "on vacation" overseas and his whereabouts would be publicly revealed Thursday.

Cowherd believes Rodgers' absence, despite Saleh's comments, could signal some tension between the Jets and their quarterback.

"This is what happens when you give a prickly, rich, set-in-his-ways, passive-aggressive quarterback coming to save the franchise and you put him with a defensive coach on the hot seat with an 11-23 record before Aaron got there," Cowherd said. "What you get a is weird power dynamic. … Saleh really has his hands tied, but they've been tied from day one. From the very outset, the power dynamic here has been off."

Aaron Rodgers will skip the remainder of Jets mandatory minicamp

Cowherd believes that power dynamic, pointing out how the Jets went out of their way to surround Rodgers with familiar faces from the Green Bay Packers like offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and wide receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, will prevent New York from contending for a Super Bowl. 

"[The Jets are] a perpetual weird, odd mess," Cowherd said. "An uneven franchise that threw a Hail Mary to get Aaron. … You thought this was going to work? Aaron in Green Bay never liked it that he didn't have as much control as he thought he deserved."

"The point is, don't be surprised by this. This is sort of what you would expect. Impulsive owner, new general manager, coach with a losing record, prickly, older, at times arrogant, disconnected quarterback in New York City."

SNY Jets reporter Connor Hughes told FOX's Craig Carton on Wednesday's edition of "The Carton Show" that Jets officials knew about Rodgers' planned minicamp absence months in advance.

"He actually started putting [this trip] together when he was still injured," Hughes said. "The dates, obviously, had been finalized and set, and when the minicamp dates were finalized and set as well and they overlapped, he immediately let the Jets know and there was an understanding he wasn't going to be there. I think the hysteria has built just because Robert Saleh decided to use the word ‘unexcused,' and the minute he said that, it came off like, 'This is an unacceptable absence from the starting quarterback.'

Jets insider on Aaron Rodgers' minicamp absence

"Internally, obviously the Jets would love to have their starting quarterback here for minicamp, but I don't think there's any full-blown meltdown over him not being there. In fact, one of the high-ranking executives I talked to yesterday said, ‘Look, do we want him here? Yes. Is him not being there going to impact anything he does come the regular season? Absolutely not. So, this is just another storm the Jets are going to deal with."

Carton agreed that the criticism over Rodgers' absence is "much ado about nothing," pointing out all voluntary team activities Rodgers has been involved in this offseason. However, he believed that the Jets and Rodgers made a misstep by not clarifying publicly beforehand that he would not be at minicamp. 

"You could have just easily said, ‘Hey guys, I just want to make this clear. … For the minicamp, Aaron is not going to be here,'" Carton said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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