Aaron Rodgers is latest aging NFL star to join Jets late in career
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The trade of quarterback Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay to New York puts one of the greatest players in NFL history in a Jets uniform.
Despite a 54-year Super Bowl drought and the league’s longest active streak without a playoff appearance (12 seasons), the Jets have acquired several Hall of Fame players over the years. Some had big impacts, while others simply made a pitstop in New York on their way to Canton.
Here are some of the most notable players who joined the Jets late in their careers and ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — mostly for their accomplishments elsewhere:
QB Brett Favre
After 17 NFL seasons, including 16 in Green Bay, the three-time MVP and one-time Super Bowl champion was traded to New York during training camp in 2008 for a conditional fourth-round draft pick. He got the Jets off to an 8-3 start before a shoulder injury affected his performance and New York missed the playoffs. Favre retired after his stint with the Jets before returning to play two more years with Minnesota.
Jets stats: 3,472 yards passing, 22 TDs, 22 INTs in 16 games. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2016.
RB La Dainian Tomlinson
The 2006 NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year was one of the most electric players in league history as a speedy and elusive double threat out of the Chargers’ backfield. After nine seasons in San Diego, Tomlinson signed with the Jets in 2010 and helped them to the AFC title game. Not nearly as dynamic a player in his two years with New York, he retired after the 2011 season.
Jets stats: 1,194 yards and 7 TDs on 294 carries with 94 catches for 817 yards and two TDs in 29 games. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2017.
S Ronnie Lott
The hard-hitting defensive back helped San Francisco win four Super Bowl titles during his 10 seasons with the 49ers. After two seasons with the Raiders, Lott signed with the Jets as a free agent in 1993. He was still a quality safety during his two-year stint with the Jets.
Jets stats: three interceptions, two sacks and six forced fumbles in 31 games. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2000.
WR Art Monk
After a 14-year career in Washington during which he was one of the league’s most productive wide receivers and had a then-NFL record 106 receptions in 1984, Monk signed with New York as a free agent in 1994. At 36, his best days were behind him. He wasn’t re-signed and spent his final NFL season in Philadelphia.
Jets stats: 46 receptions, 581 yards, three TDs in 16 games. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2008.
DE/LB Jason Taylor
Taylor was already established as one of the NFL’s top pass rushers when he left the Dolphins to join the AFC East-rival Jets in 2010. He was a good fit for Rex Ryan’s aggressive defense that helped New York to the AFC title game. Taylor returned to Miami for one final season before retiring.
Jets stats: 5 sacks, 1 safety, 6 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries in 16 games. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2017.
G Alan Faneca
Faneca played 10 years with Pittsburgh, helping the Steelers win a Super Bowl while also becoming one of the NFL’s top guards as a ferocious run blocker. The six-time All-Pro signed a five-year deal with the Jets in 2008, helping them make the AFC title game that season. He also was selected to the Pro Bowl in two years with the Jets before being released in a cost-cutting move. Faneca played one final year in Arizona.
Jets stats: 32 games, 32 starts. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2021.
S Ed Reed
The five-time All-Pro and 2004 Defensive Player of the Year with Baltimore was on the back end of his illustrious career when Ryan lured him to the Jets after being waived by Houston in 2013. Reed had three interceptions in his short tenure with the Jets and retired after spending the 2014 season out of football.
Jets stats: 3 INTs, 4 passes defensed in seven games, including five starts. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2019.
S Steve Atwater
One of the most feared safeties in NFL history because of his ferocious hits, Atwater spent 10 seasons in Denver and helped win a Super Bowl while twice being selected an All-Pro and making eight Pro Bowl teams. He signed with the Jets in 1999 and spent one season in New York before retiring.
Jets stats: 1 pass defensed, 1 forced fumble in 12 games, including 11 starts. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2020.
CB Ty Law
The three-time Super Bowl champion with New England had two stints with the Jets. He had a league-leading 10 interceptions and made the Pro Bowl after signing a three-year deal with New York as a free agent in 2005. He was a salary-cap cut the following offseason, but rejoined the Jets midway through the 2008 season after two years in Kansas City. Law retired after one more season in Denver.
Jets stats: 10 INTs, 20 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery in 23 games. Pro Football Hall of Fame: 2019.