Jets legend Joe Namath praises Aaron Rodgers for taking pay cut: It's a 'great exhibition of his character'

Aaron Rodgers has had Jets fans on a high since his April trade to New York, but Gang Green legends seem to be buzzing over him, as well.

Joe Namath, the quarterback of the Jets for their lone championship victory in Super Bowl III, has been particularly impressed with Rodgers' unselfishness during the four-time MVP's recent contract renegotiation.

"It's a great sign, a great exhibition of his character," Namath told The Jake Asman Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "Just the way he is. He wants to win and he wants that team he's on to win. And he already likes the area, the coaches, the people around there -- the teammates especially -- and he wants to them to know, 'Hey, we're in this a couple of times. We want to win now. If we don't, we're going to win it next year.' To have him for two seasons and for him to show his appreciation of being with the Jets and his teammates and coaches, man, is just wonderful."

By agreeing to a new two-year, $75 million guaranteed contract on Wednesday, Rodgers accepted a pay cut of nearly $35 million while shrinking his 2023 cap number to $8.9 million, which amounts to just 3.9 percent of New York's cap.

By doing so, it opened the door for the Jets to add even more pieces in what's already been a busy spending period between seasons.

The Jets could use the newly freed money on a star like running back Dalvin Cook, a four-time Pro Bowler who paid a visit to New York this weekend and told Good Morning Football on Friday his chances of signing with the team were "pretty high."

It could also help shore up depth and allow for shrewd moves on cutdown day or in the case of injury.

The bottom line is that Rodgers did his team, and himself, a solid, providing maximum flexibility to capitalize on an already championship-caliber roster.

Namath was impressed by that approach, just as he was when Rodgers opted not to wear Broadway Joe's jersey number despite having his blessing.

"Of course it meant something," Namath said. "It's a wonderful sign of the way Aaron is. He's a man of respect, too. He just really respects the history of the game, and he was kind enough to go to his college number. I'm tickled. Honest to God, I thought that was wonderful. But at the same time, he could've kept the number, because I wanted him, we wanted him there, man. Badly."

Rodgers, who will be aiming to cement his No. 8 next to Namath's No. 12 forever in New York lore during the season ahead, also had a chance to address the pay cut on NFL+ during Sunday's Back Together Weekend.

"I understand what the contract was and now what it is," he told NFL Network's Peter Schrager. "I'm paid extremely well, and I feel great about the contract. I felt like I could alleviate some cap stuff, also free up some cash in order to keep getting some players. Joe and I have been in constant dialogue about the roster and any ideas I have. What he's thinking about. Moves he wants to make. It's been a great relationship with Joe, and I felt great about it."

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