The New York Jets are facing a tough decision regarding their quarterback situation. After losing star Aaron Rodgers to a season-ending injury in Week 1, the Jets have relied on rookie Zach Wilson, who has struggled to produce consistent offense. With the trade deadline approaching, the Jets have to decide whether to stick with Wilson or trade for a veteran QB who can help them contend for the playoffs.
Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, has not lived up to the expectations of being the franchise quarterback for the Jets. In three games, he has completed only 44 of 84 pass attempts (52.4%) for 467 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. He has also been sacked 10 times for 74 yards lost.
Wilson’s performance has been especially poor in the last two games, both losses to the New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys. He threw three interceptions in each game and failed to reach 200 passing yards. He also missed several easy throws and looked overwhelmed by the pressure.
Jets coach Robert Saleh offered a lukewarm endorsement of Wilson after the loss to the Patriots, saying that “right now … he’s who gives us the best chance to win.” However, some reports suggest that Wilson’s lack of accountability and leadership has rubbed the locker room the wrong way.
The Jets still have a chance to make the playoffs, as they are only one game behind the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills. However, they need a better quarterback who can spark their offense and complement their defense and run game.
According to Pro Football Network, the Jets could explore several trade options for veteran QBs who are either on expiring contracts or on struggling teams. Some of the names mentioned are Kirk Cousins, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
Cousins seems to be the most likely candidate, as he is in the final year of his deal with the Minnesota Vikings, who are off to a 0-3 start. Cousins has been solid this season, throwing for 1,075 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions. He could be a short-term solution for the Jets, who would only have to pay him $10 million for the rest of the season.
Ryan is another option, as he is also on an expiring contract with the Atlanta Falcons, who are also winless. Ryan has thrown for 1,012 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions this season. He is a former MVP and has experience working with Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.
Tannehill and Garoppolo are less likely options, as they are both under contract beyond this season and play for teams that are still in contention. Tannehill has led the Tennessee Titans to a 1-2 record, throwing for 688 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions. Garoppolo has helped the San Francisco 49ers to a 2-1 record, throwing for 663 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.
What Will The Jets Do?
The Jets have to weigh the pros and cons of trading for a veteran QB or sticking with Wilson. On one hand, trading for a veteran could boost their chances of making the playoffs and give them a proven leader who can mentor Wilson. On the other hand, trading for a veteran could cost them draft picks or players that they could use to build around Wilson in the future.
The Jets also have to consider how Wilson would react to being benched or traded. Would he take it as a challenge to improve his game or would he lose confidence and motivation? Would he welcome the opportunity to learn from a veteran or would he resent being replaced?
The Jets have until November 2 to make their decision. Until then, they will have to hope that Wilson can turn things around and show why he was drafted so high.