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Tom Brady? Jimmy G? Eight QBs Jets should consider for 2023

By newadmin / Published on Wednesday, 11 Jan 2023 21:17 PM / No Comments / 3 views

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The New York Jets missed out on the postseason, and ever since they were mathematically eliminated, coach Robert Saleh has been slamming the table in support of his young quarterback, Zach Wilson. It’s clear Saleh is getting ahead of an offseason full of speculation about the Jets parting ways with the former No. 2 overall pick.

“Zach has got all the talent in the world, and we have all the confidence in the world in him,” Saleh said last week.

Saleh basically suggested that Wilson simply needs to take a break.

“Get away from this game, just reset,” Saleh said. “That is the greatest gift you can give yourself, is to discover yourself. And I think Zach needs to get away, read a book, and figure that out.”

It sounds like the Jets have made their decision, right? They’re sticking with Wilson. 

Craig’s Crystal Ball: Jets will keep Wilson for 2023

In his end-of-year predictions, Craig Carton’s Crystal Ball revealed that his Jets will stick with Zach Wilson as their starting quarterback.

I’m not so sure. Not sure at all.

Saleh and Jets GM Joe Douglas will spend the offseason figuring out what to do with Wilson. Despite what Saleh said last week, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer recently reported that the team is expected to move on from Wilson. So I think it’s more likely that someone else is the starting quarterback for New York. And that Wilson is playing for another team.

Let’s dive into all the Jets’ QB options.

Zach Wilson

It’s important to acknowledge that Wilson could remain on the team. And if he does, he has already promised to make any incoming starting QB’s “life hell in practice every day.”

Since we’re starting with quarterbacks already on the roster, I had planned to write that Mike White was a possibility. But with enough consideration (and film study), I don’t think the Jets can bank on him developing into anything other than a backup. 

The Jets need to acquire someone they have full confidence can start.

 So let’s jump into that caliber of player.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers

San Francisco is headed into the postseason. And while the 49ers spent a No. 3 overall pick on Trey Lance (in the same draft as Wilson), they might legitimately consider keeping Garoppolo around as their starter once he fully recovers from his broken foot. San Francisco can trade Lance, probably for a high pick. So there is always the possibility that Garoppolo won’t hit free agency.

If he does, he would be perfect for the Jets. Garoppolo has proven he can take a team to the Super Bowl, even if he ultimately lost. He is one of the best game managers in football, and he has mastery of the Kyle Shanahan scheme that the Jets run. Maybe Garoppolo’s mobility isn’t special. Maybe he doesn’t have an impressive arm. But he has the savvy, the experience and the leadership to take over the Jets locker room and lead the team to the postseason.

Lamar Jackson, Ravens

What team wouldn’t want him?

He’s a former MVP. He can throw the ball a mile. He’s lightning-fast. He can read defenses. He can win postseason games. He is an elite NFL quarterback. He’s 25 years old.

The only question is whether Baltimore will be stupid enough to let Jackson hit free agency.

How should Ravens handle Lamar Jackson situation?

Emmanuel Acho, Joy Taylor, LeSean McCoy and David Helman discuss what the Ravens should do with Lamar Jackson moving forward.

Tom Brady, Buccaneers

Acquiring Brady could change the Jets franchise. He would demand a substantial contract in free agency, but it would be a short deal that might not jeopardize the team’s future cap space.

Even if the 45-year-old QB is a short-term solution, he’s a solution nonetheless.

Garoppolo will surely want big money over a long period. And he’ll get it. While Garoppolo has been an above-average starter, he’ll get paid like an elite one — and likely for five years. 

Brady’s deal might be simpler: $30 million per year for one or two years.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers

He is basically Brady — but acquiring Rodgers would require trading a haul. The 39-year-old Rodgers is not long for the NFL. He is likely going to retire soon. He has made that pretty clear. 

So how much draft capital and cash would a team give to instantly contend for a Super Bowl for the next couple of years? That’s the question with Rodgers.

Is the Rodgers era coming to a close in Green Bay?

Colin Cowherd calls out Aaron Rodgers for his poor performance in Week 18 and discusses his future in Green Bay.

Derek Carr, Raiders

He is Garoppolo Lite. Carr isn’t mobile but can run offenses at a high level and manage a game, like Garoppolo. Unlike the 49ers quarterback, Carr has never been a threat in the postseason. 

The Raiders are ready to move on from Carr. Whether under Jon Gruden or Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas never seemed committed to him. And that’s because, frankly, he’s a mediocre talent. At times, he drags down an offense. But in the right offense, with elite playmakers around him, he can operate a system. 

To me, Carr seems like what New York doesn’t want. He’ll be costly. He’s low-upside. He’s just not right for them. There’s a chance the Jets acquire Carr and feel like the 2021 Colts, who stuck themselves with Carson Wentz out of desperation.

That said, the Jets might not have their pick of the litter — and if they need a veteran with experience to compete with White, Carr might be their only option.

Tanner McKee, Stanford

McKee is a prospect in the same vein as Tua Tagovailoa or Mac Jones. While McKee won’t wow scouts with an impressive physical skill set, he has the mental capacity to turn himself into a Garoppolo or Matt Ryan. McKee could step into the Jets offense and do exactly what the team needs a QB to do: diagnose defenses, take care of the football, complete passes with high efficiency and distribute the football to great playmakers.

The problem? There’s no saying whether he can carry an offense that’s not designed to support him. And he’ll likely cost the Jets a first-round pick.

Would New York spend a first-round pick on a game manager? 

Anthony Richardson, Florida

He is big (232 pounds), tall (6-foot-4) and fast. He has an impressive arm — maybe the best in the 2023 draft class. And Richardson is great throwing on the run, which means that the Jets would need to get him outside the pocket — at least at first — to get the young quarterback comfortable.

Sound familiar?

Yes, here’s another prospect in the vein of Zach Wilson. Richardson is bigger and faster. He has played at a higher level of competition in the SEC. But that has simply revealed that Richardson struggles with pre-snap recognition and risk management. 

If the Jets want to draft a first-round quarterback but intended to take another risk on a high-upside prospect, then they can take Richardson. I don’t think the Jets would do it. But Richardson might be on the board when New York picks at No. 13.

Prior to joining FOX Sports as the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.

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