The New York Jets offense has struggled over the first three weeks of the season with Zach Wilson at the helm after Aaron Rodgers went down with a torn Achilles tendon just four plays into the season opener. What options do the Jets have to salvage their 2023 campaign amid a rough 1-2 start?
Jets QB Zach Wilson Not Good Enough as the ‘Best Chance To Win’
In New York’s 15-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, Wilson completed 18 of 36 pass attempts for 157 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and took three sacks for 24 yards lost. Jets coach Robert Saleh offered a carefully worded response as to Wilson’s role after the game.
“Right now … he’s who gives us the best chance to win,” Saleh said.
"Right now, he's who gives us the best chance to win."
– Robert Saleh on Zach Wilson remaining the Jets' quarterback pic.twitter.com/AejUXvPlCK
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) September 24, 2023
Although Wilson is the Jets’ best option on the roster, given the limited experience of recently activated backup Tim Boyle, he has not been particularly effective over the last two weeks.
Wilson completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards, one touchdown, and an interception in New York’s 22-16 Week 1 overtime win over Buffalo, which ended on a punt return touchdown. He then went 12 of 27 for 170 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions in a 30-10 Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
That paltry production has left the Jets in need of a better option at quarterback if they are to reach their lofty ambitions.
Potential QBs Targets for the Jets
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
Cousins would make plenty of sense as a short-term solution for New York, especially amid Minnesota’s rough 0-3 start to the season after Sunday’s 28-24 loss to the previously winless Los Angeles Chargers.
The veteran signal-caller has been solid this year, completing 96 of 138 pass attempts (69.6%) for 1,075 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions. He went 32 of 50 for 367 yards, three scores, and one interception against the Chargers. The Vikings’ early woes could make them amenable to moving on from his expiring contract.
Cousins’ contract could also make the deal more sensible for the Jets at just $10 million base salary for the season after a restructure, or roughly $500,000 per week if New York were to add him.
He seems to be the most likely trade option if both sides are willing.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Tannehill is another potential trade option for the Jets to consider, with the Tennessee Titans also struggling at 1-2 on the year and the veteran signal-caller in the final year of his contract.
Sunday’s 27-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns was a rough outing for Tannehill and the Titans’ offense. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 104 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. His best performance of the season came in last week’s 27-24 overtime win over the Chargers when he completed 20 of 24 passes for 246 yards and one touchdown.
If Tennessee is ready to move on from him, Tannehill could be a solid stopgap for the Jets.
Matt Ryan, Free Agent
If New York instead decides to go the free agent route, Ryan is one of a few intriguing options on the market and recently expressed interest in the job, as reported by FOX’s Jay Glazer.
The longtime Atlanta Falcons quarterback made 12 starts for the Indianapolis Colts last season, completing 309 of 461 pass attempts for 3,057 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. The Colts posted a 4-7-1 record across his 12 starts amid a 4-12-1 season for the franchise.
The 38-year-old might still have enough left in the tank to give New York an upgrade at quarterback for the remainder of the season.
Carson Wentz, Free Agent
Wentz is another intriguing option on the free agent market and reportedly also expressed interest in the Jets’ quarterback job, per Glazer.
The former No. 2 overall pick appeared in eight games for the Washington Commanders last season, including seven starts, completing 127 of 276 pass attempts for 1,755 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Washington went 2-5 in his seven starts on its way to an 8-8-1 season and last-place finish in the NFC East.
Colt McCoy, Free Agent
After McCoy was released by the Arizona Cardinals less than two weeks before the start of the season, he became one the top veteran options on the free agent market.
The journeyman quarterback appeared in four games for the Cardinals last year, including three starts, as he completed 90 of 132 passes for 780 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Arizona went 1-2 in his three starts.
Joe Flacco, Free Agent
Flacco would be a familiar face returning to the franchise after spending each of the last three seasons with the Jets.
He appeared five times last year, including four starts, going 110 of 191 for 1,051 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions as New York went 1-3 with him under center. He was not re-signed by the Jets this offseason after being demoted to their third-string quarterback late last year behind Mike White.