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As the New York Jets turn focus toward next season, the biggest open-ended question surrounds the quarterback position. The team plans to move forward with Zach Wilson in 2023, but that does not inspire much confidence for fans at home, or for the coaching staff.
Wilson struggled during his first two years in the league. Although he played through injury in 2022, his time under (behind) center did not lead to wins and Mike White became a cult hero as his replacement.
No matter who was at quarterback, the Jets were bad. New York went 7-10, with the 25th-ranked offense in terms of yards per game and 29th-ranked offense in terms of points per game.
Where will the Jets go at quarterback for next season?
Head coach Robert Saleh was asked that question multiple times since letting offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur go earlier this month. He and the organization cast a wide net in their search for his replacement. They interviewed 15 candidates before landing on Nathaniel Hackett.
Hackett, and all 14 other interviewees, wanted to know about quarterback plans! The answer was direct, but also left things fairly open-ended.
The quarterback position with all the different interviews was the No. 1 concern, and rightfully so and it was simple. We’re committed to finding a veteran — we didn’t get into names. I doubt that he’s studied those guys yet which he’s going to start next week, but we didn’t get into specifics on names. But it was talked about that we do plan on bringing in a veteran quarterback if we can and we do want to continue working with Zach (Wilson).— Robert Saleh
The top name that is being floated around New York is Aaron Rodgers. The Packers quarterback played with Hackett in Green Bay and there is buzz about a potential reunion.
Other upcoming free agent quarterbacks include:
- Derek Carr
- Jimmy Garoppolo
- Tom Brady
- Baker Mayfield
- Sam Darnold
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Daniel Jones
- Case Keenum
- Mason Rudolph
- Jacoby Brissett
- Andy Dalton
- Taylor Heinicke
- Lamar Jackson
- Blaine Gabbert
- Drew Lock
- Gardner Minshew
No matter where the Jets turn, either through a trade or free agency, the hope is that Wilson will develop under Hackett.
Zach Wilson is not going anywhere, Saleh said.
We still have a lot of faith in him. He does things with the football in his arm that you can’t teach. He’s still young, he’s only 23 years old, and he’s already got two years under his belt in this league. We just want to make sure that we give him every opportunity to develop. The expectation is to pour your heart and soul into that young man just like you will every other player on this football team.— Robert Saleh
Quarterbacks are typically expected to take a step in the right direction come year three. Wilson is entering his third year.
Maybe he can get things sorted out during the offseason and win the starter job. Maybe the team will turn to a veteran, like Rodgers, and keep Wilson on the bench either way. It could also sign a veteran and start Wilson with a short leash.
No matter how things play out, the Jets will have Wilson and a veteran in camp this summer.