There’s a chance the team could trade Wilson this offseason due to his immense struggles. While he’s only two seasons in, the Jets must fix the quarterback position to take advantage of an otherwise strong roster.
So with Wilson potential on his way out, who could be the man to replace him starting next year?
The franchise: Lamar Jackson. This would be the ginormous get for general manager Joe Douglas. The Ravens and Lamar Jackson have not agreed on a new contract and his current rookie deal (which is in its fifth year) will soon be expiring.
While the Ravens could franchise tag Jackson, or at least use the franchise tag as a placeholder to eventually finalize a new contract, Jackson might be on the market in just a few months.
The Jets signing Jackson would be as high-profile as it gets. It would be a long-term deal and an absolutely expensive one at that (it was reported back in September that Jackson turned down an extension worth around $250 million).
The 2019 NFL MVP, as long as he’s healthy, would immediately solve the Jets’ most blatant issue.
Also the franchise: Derek Carr. The lowly 6-9 Raiders, somehow still alive for an AFC Playoff spot, are benching quarterback Derek Carr. This comes after the veteran threw for only 174 yards, one touchdown, and three picks on 16-of-30 passing in a loss to the Steelers last Saturday. And with dead cap hits of just $5.6 million, $3.8 million, and $1.9 million over the next three years, the Raiders may dump Carr this offseason and look to the future.
While Jackson would obviously be the better quarterback to acquire, Carr would still be a legitimate option. He’s prone to turning the ball over but has the experience that Wilson and Mike White don’t, which would assist in the growth and development of the Jets’ young offensive weapons.
White is the darling of New York football, sure. But Carr’s durability (he hasn’t missed a game since 2017) along with his pro-level pedigree and intelligence would make him a sensible fit.
The scheme fit: Jimmy Garoppolo. The veteran 49ers quarterback is set to be a free agent and could be exiting San Francisco. He’s out until at least the postseason with a broken foot while the Niners are in the midst of a playoff run with Brock Purdy at quarterback. 2021 No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance is also still on the roster.
With Garoppolo likely the odd man out in that quarterback room after 2022, the Jets could add an established veteran who has experience in the type of offense run by Jets coordinator Mike LaFleur. From 2017-20, LaFleur worked as the 49ers’ passing game coordinator and now uses elements of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
A healthy Garoppolo would help the Jets get more out of their promising slate of offensive weapons.
The blockbuster acquisition: Tom Brady. The Goat’s contract with the Buccaneers is expiring. He could retire after a 23rd season and commence his tenure as FOX’s handsomely paid lead NFL analyst. But there’s also the sheer possibility he still wants to play in 2023. After all, this is Tom Brady we’re talking about.
If Brady decides to stay in the league but not in Tampa, he will be one of the bigger-named quarterbacks on the market. He would be an option for Gang Green and is someone who could fit in LaFleur’s scheme and maximize the overall talent of the offense.
The veteran bridge: Teddy Bridgewater. The return of Teddy Bridgewater to Florham Park? While he never played a regular-season game for New York, Bridgewater was a Jet for the 2018 preseason before the team officially named then-rookie Sam Darnold the Week 1 starter. Bridgewater was traded to New Orleans for draft capital that August.
If the market doesn’t shake up favorably for the Jets and Jackson stays in Baltimore and/or Brady retires, signing Bridgewater as a bridge quarterback could turn out to be beneficial. He wouldn’t need to do too much in LaFleur’s system and wouldn’t be expensive — the Jets could sign him to a short-term deal worth $10-12 million a year.
The darling of New York: Mike White. And finally, we have someone who’s already on the roster. Mike White is currently nursing a rib injury and has missed the last two games, but could return for the team’s final two matchups against the Seahawks and Dolphins.
If White is healthy, he should absolutely start. And those two last games will be major opportunities for the kid. White’s contract is expiring and he could make a case for why the Jets should re-sign him for 2023.
He wouldn’t land a mega deal that resets the quarterback market. But the Jets could bring him back on a three-year deal that pays him around $15 million per year. And he could be the starter after having already developed chemistry with the weapons on the roster.
Nonetheless, White needs to impress (and likely win) these last two games. That must happen before there is any conversation about him being the permanent starter.