Saturday, June 15, 2024

Aaron Rodgers, Haason Reddick skip Jets minicamp

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New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and edge rusher Haason Reddick were notable absences at the team’s mandatory minicamp that began Tuesday.

Rodgers previously told the team he’d be missing minicamp so it did not come as a surprise, coach Robert Saleh said Tuesday in a news conference. Saleh said Rodgers’ absence was not excused, but said Rodgers was attending an “event that’s important to him.”

“He made a decision,” Saleh said.

The Jets coach later said he’s not disappointed by Rodgers’ unexcused absence. The quarterback has been with the team and practicing throughout the team’s organized team activities sessions, which are voluntary, leading up to minicamp. The 40-year-old quarterback is working his way back to game action after a season-ending Achilles tendon injury last season in Week 1.

“Again, selfishly I want our guys here all the time, but when you get to these mandatory things, you make the best decision for yourself,” Saleh said. “Obviously, selfishly, want all of ’em here all the time, but he made a decision and that’s where he went.”

Conversely, Saleh said he didn’t know if Reddick, who missed the team’s OTAs, isn’t attending because of his contract situation.

“The guy is a great dude,” Saleh said about Reddick. “He’s played (at) a high level at multiple places. He’s a pro and seasoned vet. He’s the last guy I’m worried about will be ready to play football.”

Saleh said both Rodgers and Reddick would be subject to fines for skipping the minicamp.

The Jets acquired Reddick, 29, from the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. He’s in the last year of his deal and is set to earn a $14.25 million salary from the Jets in 2024. Reddick is coming off four consecutive 10-sack seasons, including 27 in the last two years in Philadelphia.

Reddick, it seems, still wants a new deal. There is a $250,000 roster bonus included in Reddick’s contract that he forfeited by not showing up for the voluntary portion of the offseason, the clearest sign that he wants more long-term security.

After the trade in March, Reddick told reporters as it relates to his contract that “whatever happens, I’m going to be happy. I’m going to give it my all, no matter what.”

What to make of absences

The Jets were under the impression when they traded for Reddick that he’d participate in the offseason program. He clearly changed his mind as a result of a desire for a new contract, which was one of the primary reasons the Eagles wanted to trade him in the first place. It was reported before the trade that Reddick was seeking a salary in the range of $25 million per season, which would make him one of the highest-paid pass rushers in the NFL. He’s currently set to earn a $14.25 million salary in the last year of his contract.

By skipping voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamp, Reddick gave up $250,000 in workout bonuses and he’ll be fined an additional $50,000 for skipping minicamp. Saleh seemed unworried about the possibility that he’d skip training camp, though it’s not actually clear what Reddick’s intentions are yet. The Jets were hoping for a quiet offseason and this obviously provides an unneeded distraction. There has been no indication as of yet whether the Jets are actually open to signing Reddick to a new deal, though the feeling after the trade was that they would play out the year on his current contract.

As for Rodgers, the Jets’ star quarterback was a complete participant in the offseason program and OTA practices. He also attended Monday’s photoshoot with his teammates before departing for the unknown “event” Saleh mentioned. It’s ultimately not a huge deal that Rodgers isn’t in attendance, though the rest of his teammates are required to be in attendance and it’s fair to wonder if they would be granted the same courtesy — Saleh said he didn’t mind Rodgers skipping — if they didn’t attend practice. Either way, Rodgers has spent all offseason building chemistry with his teammates so this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

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(Photo: Cooper Neill / Getty Images)

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