Jets general manager Joe Douglas has a lingering issue to address at quarterback. Will he get the opportunity to trade for the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers? Will he sign free-agent Derek Carr, who Douglas said had a “fantastic visit” with the Jets? Will he lose out on both and resort to signing Jimmy Garoppolo or Ryan Tannehill?
The point is: Douglas needs to get a veteran to replace Zach Wilson. The Jets’ 2021 No. 2 overall draft pick, and the team’s once-hopeful franchise quarterback, has had a rough go since entering the league. Ridden by injuries and immense struggles, Wilson experienced a forgettable first two seasons.
But Douglas is still high on the young quarterback and praised him Tuesday at the NFL Combine. Or, maybe he’s just hyping him up as a trade-negotiating tactic?
“Again, our stance on Zach hasn’t changed,” Douglas told reporters in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“We feel like Zach has a very high ceiling. Obviously, the first two years haven’t played out the way that anybody’s hoped, but we still feel like there’s a very high ceiling with Zach. In my time in the league, I’ve found that when players love this game and players work their tails off, they usually hit their ceiling. We feel like Zach definitely has those traits. So still feel strongly that Zach is gonna be able to hit his ceiling.”
It’s tough to imagine Wilson regularly starting for the Jets again. The team is all in on acquiring a veteran quarterback this offseason. If the Jets reach the playoffs with that veteran in 2023, there’s a chance that veteran starts again in 2024. If they don’t reach the playoffs, everyone is gone. Including Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh, and the rest of the coaching staff. Co-owner Woody Johnson would blow it up and fire everyone at that point.
Therefore, it’s clear the Wilson-Jets era is all but over and Douglas needs to find a trade partner, with the praising a part of the groundwork. The organization needs to earn back something for Wilson’s services after wasting a second-overall pick on him. Acquire a few mid-round picks (maybe a second-rounder as well) and allow the kid to assume a fresh start elsewhere, away from the brutal New York market.
Douglas could definitely find a suitor, too. Despite Wilson’s struggles (55.2% completion rate, 70.9 rating, 20 turnovers in 22 games), he still has two years left on his rookie deal plus the fifth-year option. A rebuilding, quarterback-needy team such as the Buccaneers or Falcons could be trade partners to consider.
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