The New York Jets -- with a playoff-ready squad needing a quarterback to take them to the next level -- were already one of the top teams in the rumor mill before they hired Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator. Once that move was made, speculation that Gang Green was trying to woo Rodgers by hiring his former OC (as the Broncos were perceived to have previously attempted) intensified.
Now every Jets player will be asked his thoughts and opinions on the Packers QB.
"He's definitely great. He's definitely elite," Gardner said when asked his opinion of Rodgers. "He's been doing it [since] damn near before I was born. I can't discredit nothing that he do. I've seen him do so many good things. He's a great quarterback for sure."
Asked directly if he'd want Rodgers on his team, Gardner responded, "I mean, you know, I would. I wouldn't mind that. I just want what's best for the offense. But, at the same time, I just got to focus on my job and focus on what we've got going on on the defensive side."
Hypothetical speculation puts players in a tough spot. What exactly was Sauce supposed to say? If he says something akin to "We like the guys we have," it's a headline. If he says, "Rodgers is great," it's a headline. The game is the game.
Gardner handled the minefield as well as he could. Of course, no one would mind a future Hall of Famer stepping in under center. But the young CB pivoting it back to his job and the defense is what you want to hear from a team leader. Gang Green players have no say in whether Rodgers plays in New York, doesn't play in New York or retires to the jungle altogether. Unless and until the speculation dies down (good luck), the best they can do is respond like Sauce.