The Jets are going back to Mike White.
The 27-year-old quarterback was cleared by doctors on Monday, per The Post’s Brian Costello, and will return to the starting lineup after missing two games with a rib injury.
Zach Wilson struggled mightily in White’s absence. During the latest loss to Jacksonville last Thursday, Wilson was 9-for-18 for 92 yards, one interception, and a brutal 41.9 passer rating. Head coach Robert Saleh benched Wilson for Chris Streveler in a 13-point game at the beginning of the fourth quarter and will now turn to White for the final two-game stretch.
And while much is at stake, these last two matchups could dictate White’s future in Florham Park.
The obvious. Wilson’s Jets tenure is all but over. The kid has been benched twice this season. He isn’t improving nor giving his teammates a reason to believe. He also failed to take accountability after the offense scored only three points in the Week 11 loss to the Pats.
This coaching staff can no longer sell Wilson to the fanbase or justify drafting him No. 2 overall.
The Jets will thus have a quarterback issue to address this offseason. And it’s tough to believe they’ll do it in the draft after the Sam Darnold and Wilson experiments were colossal failures.
General manager Joe Douglas could solve this glaring problem through free agency, where there will be various options. But he could also look in-house.
White, a pending free agent, might be an option, but it will depend on how he performs in Weeks 17 and 18.
Best-case scenario. In a perfect Gang Green world, White plays well enough to win these last two regular-season games over the Seahawks and Dolphins. He gets multiple weapons involved, the offense plays great, and the Jets sneak into the playoffs.
At that point, the Jets would absolutely need to consider re-signing White regardless of what occurs in the postseason. It wouldn’t need to be an overly expensive deal either — a three-year, $45 million contract could get the job done. The Jets could also structure the contract in a way that allows them to get out of it after a year or two if need be.
White would then be your starter for at least the 2023 season and potentially beyond, depending on how he performs.
Worst-case scenario. White comes down to earth and shows why he was a fifth-round pick. He struggles against weak Seahawks and Dolphins defenses, turns the ball over like he’s Wilson against Bill Belichick, and the Jets miss out on the postseason after six straight losses to end the year.
His future would then certainly be up in the air. Because this league isn’t about what you’ve done, but about what you’ve done lately.
Two poor performances from White to close out the season would leave a bad taste in the organization’s mouth. The team could then consider other quarterback options in the offseason, leading to White’s potential exit.
Mike White is loved by the fanbase and is the guy who can save the season in the final stretch. But if he blows this opportunity, it will affect how he’s perceived ahead of what should be a major quarterback decision.