Jets Bank Zach Wilson: New York Quarterback Options to Consider in 2023

The New York Jets made a big move Wednesday when head coach Robert Saleh decided to bench former No. 2 overall quarterback Zach Wilson for Mike White. Saleh claimed during his press conference that this isn’t the end of Wilson’s career in New York and that he will play again this season, but what about next year?

The quarterback position is the most important in football, and the Jets won despite their signal caller. Wilson has completed 55.6% of his passes for 1,279 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions in seven games this season. He has the fewest passing touchdowns in 20 career starts among all active quarterbacks (13), has never had more than two passing touchdowns in a single game, and has more games with under 100 passing yards than 300 passing yards.

This Jets team looks great on paper in many areas. The broad receiving corps of Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios and Elijah Moore has potential, and the defense, led by Quinnen Williams and rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner, was very impressive. At 6-4, it’s time for the Jets to step up and win some games so they can reach the postseason for the first time since the 2010 campaign.

What could the Jets do to upgrade at quarterback this offseason if they choose to? Below we will examine exactly that.

Let’s start with the sexiest option. In fact, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin has the Jets as the Landing pad #2 if Rodgers left Green Bay. The reigning NFL MVP just signed a three-year, $150 million extension with the Green Bay Packers, but he has some control over where he plays going forward. Rodgers doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but the Packers would obviously have to agree where they would send him. Given how the past few offseasons have gone, I imagine Rodgers could leave the Packers if he wants to — but retirement might be the most likely outcome this offseason. Still, we know Rodgers has a wandering eye, and the off-conference Jets could be a potential landing spot — moving from one LaFleur brother to another.

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There’s no doubt the AFC East is a tough division with the likes of Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa and Bill Belichick, but the Jets are built to compete at the moment and the addition of Rodgers would make the Jets an attractive place to play make free agents. If you were curious, the Jets currently sit 17th in available cap space for 2023 at $17.15 million per over the cap.

Free Agents

The quarterback carousel this upcoming offseason is not a carousel to wait in line for. Tom Brady is technically a free agent, and so is Lamar Jackson. I don’t see either as legitimate options for the Jets at this time. Daniel Jones and Geno Smith are a few other names looking for new deals, but one player who stands out on this list is San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

The 49ers, of course, tried to get away from Garoppolo this offseason but couldn’t find a trading partner. That ended up being a blessing in disguise when sophomore quarterback Trey Lance went down in Week 2 with a season-ending ankle injury, so Jimmy G.

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Garoppolo is averaging 239.9 yards per game this season and has thrown for 15 touchdowns compared to four interceptions in nine total games while going 5-3 as a starter. Garoppolo isn’t someone who will automatically turn you into a Super Bowl contender, rather he’s a game manager — which would instantly make the Jets better. He could also come out cheaper compared to someone like Rodgers. It’s quite an intriguing game to think about.

The design

The Jets could draft a new quarterback at any time. As it stands now, New York has the No. 18 pick in the 2023 NFL draft — which doesn’t allow him to pick one of the best signal callers in the draft. However, that doesn’t mean the Jets won’t draft one somewhere. Here’s CBS Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Edwards on the Jets’ situation:

“New York could pack a few picks to go upstairs and get one of those big three quarterbacks (Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, Alabama’s Bryce Young or Kentucky’s Will Levis), but they might have to deal with a handful of quarterback-needy ones teams already up there get into the top 5. Florida’s Anthony Richardson is the only other player I would personally consider playing in the first round right now. He’s a bit edgy but has all the raw qualities necessary to be an Impact player one day. “That being said, he’s more likely to return to school in hopes of fulfilling that potential. If none of those options come to fruition, the Jets should be looking for someone who can manage the game and limit errors. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker, Stanford’s Tanner McKee, Oregon’s Bo Nix and Fresno State’s Jake Haener would be a few in this next league who wouldn’t require a lucrative investment but could help the team produce a game that doesn’t hurt the team.