But there's also a business side to their new relationship, and Gardner intends to get more from Rodgers than just him being Sauce's social director. Gardner, last season's Defensive Rookie of the Year, believes A-Rod can elevate his game even further, starting with the first day of Jets minicamp on Friday in Florham Park.
"I knew he was going to get me better, and by that I was just thinking of him making those tough throws that it's going to be hard for me to intercept and break up," Gardner said Wednesday, already looking forward to their training camp battles. "But he was just telling me (this week) that he is going to be able to help me out (by) telling me how teams are going to try to attack me, telling me the things that I can work on as a cornerback."
Rodgers might lead a secretive life in some respects, but he apparently intends to be an open book with Sauce.
"He was telling me he has the secret gems he can give me," Gardner said. "Just hearing that from him made me respect him even more. Yeah, man, he's a great guy. I wasn't expecting that, but now I'm looking forward to being able to sit down (with Rodgers) and just watch some film and tell him what we're trying to do, and he can tell us what they're trying to do on offense."
Gardner and Rodgers even had a moment together out at dinner, telling one another, "I am built for this" as Gardner told Rodgers what it was like for him playing last season in New York. So, technically, Gardner has experience in that regard that Rodgers doesn't yet have.
"I was just trying to share with him my experience when it comes to playing in New York and how my mentality was to embrace the New York culture -- media, fans, everything that comes with New York instead of trying to be so perfect," Sauce said. "At the end of the day, everybody makes mistakes and goes through adversity."
The bottom line is that Gardner isn't satisfied following a strong rookie season. He knows Rodgers can help him get better and certainly help the Jets improve. But for Sauce to take the proverbial next step in his game, he also knows he needs to put in the time on his own, too.
"I'm trying to be the best," Gardner said. "If I say I'm trying to be the best, I've got to put the work in. I can't do what I did last year. The work that I was putting in last year, I have to take it to the next level. I'm a target now. So I just got to try to do everything, whether it's watching even more film, spending even more time in the weight room, spending more time to perfect my craft."
Perhaps this new, fascinating marriage will work out for the Jets.