Nov 24, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; General overall view of the NFL shield logo at midfield at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Raiders 34-3.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

MetLife Stadium replaces playing surface, sticks with FieldTurf

MetLife Stadium, the home of the New York Giants and Jets, installed a new playing surface ahead of the 2023 season — choosing a new version of FieldTurf rather than a complete switch over to grass.

The stadium, which hosts twice as many regular-season games as most stadiums around the league due to the dual tenants, drew criticism in recent years for the increasing number of noncontact injuries.

Five San Francisco 49ers players came away with lower-body injuries in one game against the Jets during the 2020 season. Baltimore Ravens cornerback Kyle Fuller was lost for the season after a Week 1 ACL tear in a game against the Jets, leading Ravens coach John Harbaugh to join the chorus of those saying it wasn’t a safe surface.

Former Giants captain Julian Love, a safety who signed with the Seattle Seahawks in free agency this offseason, said last season that “the stats have shown we are on one of the worst fields in the league.”

Giants owner John Mara told reporters that the new turf — FieldTurf Core, a multilayer, dual-polymer monofilament fiber — was installed at both the stadium and the Giants’ practice facility. FieldTurf Core also was installed at the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field earlier this year.

“Installation of the new FieldTurf CORE system reinforces the commitment we have to providing the best playing surface for our teams,” president and CEO of MetLife Stadium Ron VanDeVeen said Thursday in a statement. “The research that FieldTurf has put into the heavyweight infill design for this new field system will equip MetLife Stadium with one of the premier surfaces in the league.”

SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., also is home to two NFL teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. That venue uses Matrix Turf, which is also an artificial surface.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates after rushing for a first down during the fourth quarter of their game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

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Jets coach ‘confident’ team will acquire Aaron Rodgers

New York Jets coach Robert Saleh said he believes four-time Most Valuable Player Aaron Rodgers will be his quarterback in 2023.

While Rodgers has said he wants to play for the Jets in the upcoming season, the team and Green Bay Packers have yet to come to trade terms. Saleh told reporters Monday at the league owners meeting in Phoenix that he is “confident” a trade will happen.

“I’m not hitting the panic button,” said Saleh, who didn’t state Rodgers’ name because of league tampering rules but made it clear who he was talking about.

He added: “I’m confident that things are going to work out. You guys know me. I’m a very positive person and optimistic, so I’m confident that things will go the way we’re hoping. But at the same time, it’s not going to eat at me.”

Saleh also said he’d like to pair free agent receiver Odell Beckham Jr. with the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

ESPN reported Monday that the Packers want compensation for Rodgers that includes the Jets’ first-round draft pick, No. 13 overall, but the Jets are balking at the request.

While it would be beneficial for Rodgers and the Jets for him to be on board when the offseason program begins in mid-April, Saleh implied he isn’t in a hurry because of Rodgers’ familiarity with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who held that job in Green Bay for three seasons.

“If there’s a great rapport with the coordinator, there’s really no urgency,” Saleh said. “The quarterback, if he understands the system, if the quarterback knows it, it’s just a matter of just refining skills and doing all that stuff. So, there’s no hurry.”

Speaking of Beckham, Saleh said the Jets are intrigued by the 30-year-old veteran.

“He’s been a fantastic receiver in this league,” Saleh said. “Everything you hear about him, he’s a phenomenal person. That’s something you’re always going to look over, turn over every stone, cross your Ts, dot your Is, just make sure you’re, you’re not missing an opportunity to add a great player. And there’s no guarantee anything will happen.”

–Field Level Media

New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, left, head coach Robert Saleh and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) participate in training camp Wednesday.

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Jets’ Robert Saleh: Aaron Rodgers’ interest ‘pretty cool’

Jets coach Robert Saleh called quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ interest in playing for New York “pretty cool” during an interview Sunday with NFL Network.

“Two years ago when we first got here, just thinking about where we were and how far we’ve come,” Saleh said. “To have a guy like him want to play for us is pretty cool and shows how far we’ve come. But we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”

Some of that work includes officially acquiring Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers.

Earlier this month, the four-time NFL MVP said he intended to play for the Jets in 2023.

“The Packers would like to move on. They’ve let me know that in so many words, they’ve let other people know that in direct words,” Rodgers said during a March 15 appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

“And because I still have that fire and I want to play, I’d like to play in New York. It’s just a matter of getting that done at this point.”

Rodgers, 39, signed a three-year, $150.815 million contract extension in March 2022. He is set to make $59.5 million in 2023.

Rodgers was named league MVP in 2011, 2014, 2020 and 2021, but is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career in 2022. He completed 64.6 percent of his passes for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions as the Packers (8-9) missed the playoffs.

There are familiar faces waiting for him in New York. The Jets signed former Packers receiver Allen Lazard to a reported four-year, $44 million deal earlier this month, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett held the same position in Green Bay from 2019-21.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Report: RB Ezekiel Elliott considering Eagles, Jets, Bengals

Ezekiel Elliott has narrowed his options to three teams and hopes to sign by the end of next week, ESPN reported Thursday.

Cut by the Dallas Cowboys in a salary-shedding move on March 15, the two-time rushing champion is considering the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, according to the report.

Elliott, 28, was scheduled to count $16.4 million against the Cowboys’ 2023 salary cap. Dallas designated him as a post-June 1 cut, per reports, saving the team $10.9 million. The team takes a $5.8 million hit in dead money.

Elliott was slowed in the second half of last season by a knee injury and wasn’t fully healthy in 2021. He rushed for a career-low 876 yards and 3.9 yards per carry in 2022 while backup Tony Pollard emerged as a 1,000-yard rusher and big-play threat.

The Cowboys used the franchise tag in March to retain Pollard at a cost of $10.1 million, resulting in a commitment of more than $27 million to the position for 2023.

Elliott led the NFL in rushing in 2016 and 2018 and registered four 1,000-yard seasons. The 2016 first-round pick (fourth overall) ranks third in Dallas history in rushing yards (8,262) and rushing touchdowns (68) behind Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.

Elliott rushed for 1,107 yards and seven touchdowns (one receiving) in 12 career games against the NFC East rival Eagles, who signed Rashaad Penny in free agency. Last season’s leading rusher, Miles Sanders, landed with the Carolina Panthers.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets running back Ty Johnson (25) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jets bring back RB Ty Johnson on 1-year deal

The New York Jets are re-signing running back Ty Johnson to a one-year deal, ESPN reported Thursday.

Johnson, 25, rushed for 160 yards and a touchdown in 17 games (one start) for the Jets last season. He’s fourth on the depth chart for the club.

Johnson has rushed for 925 yards and four TDs in 62 career games (six starts) for the Detroit Lions (2019-20) and Jets. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 draft by the Lions.

–Field Level Media

Jan 29, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) warms up against the Cincinnati Bengals prior to the AFC Championship game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jets get WR Mecole Hardman on 1-year deal

The New York Jets are in agreement on a one-year deal with wide receiver Mecole Hardman, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

The deal is worth up to $6.5 million, per NFL Network.

The reports come one week after the Jets signed WR Allen Lazard to a four-year contract.

Hardman, 24, had a painful end to his four-year tenure in Kansas City. He missed the final two months of the 2022 season with what the team called a pelvic injury. He returned to play in the AFC Championship Game but re-aggravated the injury and exited the game. He missed the Super Bowl.

He underwent groin surgery last month in Philadelphia.

Hardman finished 2022 with 25 catches for 297 yards and four touchdowns.

He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie return specialist with the Chiefs, who selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft. He has 151 career catches for 2,088 yards and 16 TDs while also rushing for two scores and returning one kickoff and one punt for touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrate together after connecting for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Lazard happy to join Jets, awaits Aaron Rodgers

New York Jets wide receiver Allen Lazard said he’s looking forward to a likely reunion with his former quarterback.

While nothing is official on the Aaron Rodgers front, the four-time NFL MVP has made his intentions known that he wants to play for the Jets in 2023.

“Obviously, standing here today, it feels good knowing that 12’s going to be my quarterback again,” Lazard said in a Zoom call with reporters on Friday.

Lazard, 27, signed a four-year, $44 million contract to join the Jets.

He caught 60 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns in 15 starts with the Green Bay Packers in 2022. He has 169 receptions for 2,236 yards and 20 TDs in 57 games (40 starts) since signing with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

“As a wide receiver, the best relationship you can have is with the quarterback, and the relationship I have with him has been phenomenal,” Lazard said of Rodgers. “Obviously, there’s an inclination that he’s coming here, but … after the season, after the last game, in the locker room, I mentioned how I have to worry about myself and take care of what’s best for me and I can’t worry about other people.

“Me and my decision coming here was purely based off that and making sure that I’m doing what’s best for my career. Obviously, him being here, it definitely helps the entire organization to be able to take that next step, make a deep playoff run and go win that Lombardi Trophy.”

Lazard admitted Friday that he felt the Packers showed little interest in welcoming him back.

“They didn’t seem like they were going to miss me too much,” he said.

Lazard joins a wide receivers room that includes Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Denzel Mims.

He also will be reunited with Nathaniel Hackett, who was hired as the Jets offensive coordinator after being fired as head coach of the Denver Broncos in December. Hackett was the OC in Green Bay from 2019-21.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers runs out on to the field as he is announced against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

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Aaron Rodgers says he wants to play for Jets in 2023

Four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers said Wednesday on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he intends to play for the New York Jets this upcoming season.

“At this point as I sit here, I think, since Friday, I made it clear that my intention was to play, and my intention was to play for the New York Jets,” Rodgers said. “I haven’t been holding anything up at this point, it’s been compensation that the Packers are trying to get. … The Packers would like to move on, they have let me know that in so many words, and have let other people know that in direct words.”

Rodgers, 39, admitted Wednesday that felt he was 90 percent certain that he was retiring when he went on a four-day darkness treat to contemplate his future. The quarterback then said he felt something changed within the Packers’ stance toward him, and he wished the team was more direct with him at the onset of the offseason.

Per ESPN, Rodgers reportedly supplied the Jets with a wish list of free agents that he’d like the Jets to pursue and acquire.

Per the report, Rodgers would like the Jets to turn their attention to wideout Odell Beckham Jr., as well as Green Bay Packers wide receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb and tight end Marcedes Lewis.

The Jets got to work on that checklist Tuesday afternoon by working to finalize a four-year, $44 million deal with Lazard, The Score and NFL Network reported.

“Because I still have that fire and I want to play and I want to play in New York, it’s just a matter of getting that done at this point,” Rodgers said.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) celebrates with wide receiver Allen Lazard (13) after the pair connect for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Friends of Aaron? Jets target WRs Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb

The New York Jets reportedly want to make Aaron Rodgers feel at home and are eyeing two of his favorite targets in free agency.

With the Green Bay quarterback widely expected to join the Jets in a trade, multiple outlets said Tuesday that New York is close to a deal with Allen Lazard and ESPN said fellow Packers receiver Randall Cobb is “on their radar.”

New Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett worked with all three players when he held the same position in Green Bay from 2019-21.

Lazard, 27, caught 60 passes for 788 yards and six touchdowns in 15 starts in 2022. He has 169 receptions for 2,236 yards and 20 TDs in 57 games (40 starts) since signing with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

Cobb, 32, recorded 34 receptions for 417 yards and one score in 13 games (three starts) for Green Bay in 2022. He has 625 catches for 7,585 yards and 53 TDs in 155 games (87 starts) with Green Bay (2011-18, 2021-22), the Dallas Cowboys (2019) and Houston Texans (2020).

Pro Football Network reported Monday that the deal to send Rodgers to the Jets “is done.”

No trades for players under contract can be made official until the first day of the NFL league year on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers had a brutal showing against the Jets at legendary Lambeau Field.

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Report: Deal sending Aaron Rodgers to Jets is ‘done’

When the NFL’s new league year begins Wednesday afternoon, it appears likelier than ever that Aaron Rodgers will be traded to the New York Jets.

While Rodgers has remained coy about his own decision-making timeline, Pro Football Network reported Monday that “Rodgers to the Jets is done.”

Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson, who won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year while catching passes from Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco and Mike White, chimed in shortly afterward.

“I can finally enjoy my vacay now,” he tweeted from the island of Saint Barthelemy, following that up with, “Y’all (should) see this smile on me (right now).”

Other media outlets were more conservative Monday, with ESPN reporting the Jets were “cautiously optimistic” that Rodgers would agree to be traded.

Talks between the two parties have been ongoing for days. Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy confirmed Friday that the team granted Rodgers permission to speak with the Jets about a deal that would put the four-time NFL MVP in Gotham Green.

The Jets visited Rodgers, 39, in California last week, and reports Wednesday indicated there was optimism New York was “on the verge” of acquiring Rodgers.

The Jets then restructured the contracts of cornerback DJ Reed, guard Laken Tomlinson and tight end Tyler Conklin to save $15.2 million of cap space in 2023. Rodgers’ cap charge for 2023 nearly matches that amount: $15.74 million.

No trades for players under contract can be made official until the first day of the NFL league year.

–Field Level Media