Where I dive into the hideous, pessimistic side of New York Jets fandom and ask the question: what exactly would the Jets had on the table if Zach Wilson missed the 2022 season.
All reports indicate that Zach Wilson’s surgery on Tuesday went well, and he should miss 2-4 weeks whilst he rehabs and get’s back to full game fitness. This is excellent news for the Jets, and for their fans following the terrifying notion of going into 2022 without Wilson at QB. But that if it hadn’t worked out that way?
If the scrying of the Twitter Doc coterie had come true, and Wilson had suffered the ACL tear fate of so many NFL players and had been sidelined on IR; his long term future nothing but a question mark burned into the psyche of the Jets-verse in 2023 … what would Joe Douglas and the team at 1 Jets Drive had done to fill the QB spot for 2022?
The Jets Current QB Room
The easy answer would have been to look at what the Jets already have in the building:
As far as careers go Flacco has had a very decent one. Over 41000 passing yards and 227 passing touchdowns, as well as a Superbowl ring, an MVP and multiple pro bowl appearances. You’ve got to go back to 2013 to find a season where Flacco had a rating of less then 80. In his time with the Jets, Flacco had contributed in 7 games, starting in 5. 1202 yards, with 9 TDs and 3 INTs. That’s as good a back up as you need in the NFL; someone who can keep your team going through a short stretch with quality reliable QB play.
Relying on Flacco for a full season though is a non-starter. Although his play had started to decline for the Raven it was a back injury that sidelined Flacco in favour of Lamar Jackson in 2018, and a neck injury which later required surgery that handed the starting role to Drew Lock when Flacco went to Denver in 2019. There’s been no injuries to speak of since then, but it’s concerning enough that you wouldn’t want to entrust a full 17 game slate to Flacco.
No. Just no. I’ve written already about Mike White and the best case scenario is that someone becomes desperate for a back up QB and the Jets can get a day 3 pick for Mike “F’in” White.
Streveler is looking like the pre-season football darling for the Jets with a productive 2nd half performance against the Eagles. You can’t argue with the stats or how confident he looked when on the field. Streveler connected on 6 of 9 passes for 62 yards and 2 TDs including the final play of the game finding Calvin Jackson in the redzone for the game winning touchdown. You also shouldn’t ignore the fact that he was playing against 3rd and 4th string players; take the pre-season for what is it.
He went undrafted in 2018 coming out of South Dakota and instead went to the CFL, signing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, where he threw for around 2700 yards over 2 seasons for 19 TDs and 19 INTs. He led the team to CFL Grey Cup victory in 2019.
Streveler has seen limited snaps in the NFL. Following the success in the CFL he signed a reserve/futures contract with the Arizona Cardinals. His only real extended play came in week 17 of the 2020 season when he took over for an injured Kyler Murray against the LA Rams, ending the game with 107 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
Why not. I mean, if the season is over anyway and the plan from the Front Office is to Mike Glennon our way to a number one overall pick then shoot for the gutter. It’d be a fun story for about a week but nothing something I’d watch on a Sunday.
The Trade Market
It wasn’t even the end of the 1st quarter on Friday night against the Eagles when the Jimmy G tweets started. With Zach’s season apparently over, Jimmy was the de-facto started in New York. The problem is, no-one can tell me why.
Jimmy is coming off an injury of his own and is yet to even practice this offseason. There’s the trade; with multiple teams potentially being involved (Browns, Seahawks) it could take a 3rd round pick or more to bring Jimmy over. Sure, the Jets could wait and see if he gets released in the next few weeks, but if they genuinely saw him as the answer for 2022 can they take that risk.
Even the money is a problem. As Peter Schrager pointed out on Good Morning Football, Jimmy is set to earn $24 million this year and is a $27 million cap hit. Jimmy Garopollo is the very definition of mid when it comes to quarterbacking. Last year he threw for 3,806 yards, 20 TDs, 12 INTs and had a QBR of 53.3. For what you’re going to give up and what you’re going to pay him is that enough?
Giving the Green Bay Packers anything in return for Jordan Love would, in some way, justify one of the weirdest draft decisions of the last ten years, and that alone is reason enough not to even consider this. Love hasn’t seen the NFL field in any meaningful way since the Packers traded up in the 1st Round of the 2020 Draft to get him (yes it really happened), and when he had it hasn’t been overly impressive . In the 2 seasons since then Love has only seen the field in 6 games; throwing for 411 yards,2 TDs and 3 INTs when the Packers have let him step in for Rogers.
There was a lot of interest in Love coming off a good second year in college, but then he tanked the third year, somewhat bafflingly opting to enter the draft after a season throwing 20 TDs and 17 INTs when he had the option to stay in college for another year. I don’t understand why the Packers traded up to draft him; and I certainly wouldn’t trade for him now.
Andy Dalton, Taylor Heinicke, and Gardner Minshew all have starting experience and have demonstrated recent ability to play at a decent level in the NFL. Andy Dalton would just be Joe Flacco but with less experience in the building. Taylor Heinicke and Gardner Minshew though present interesting options.
If you’re a QB and you’re sitting on your couch in August, chances are you’re not a viable starter in the NFL. Cam Newton, Mike Glennon, AJ McCarron, Brett Hundley; it’s not pretty out there. The list of available players is out there, but I don’t know most of the names and neither should you have to. If you were struggling for a back up or a 3rd string guy this is where you’d go, but not to look for starters.
Thankfully, this is all hypothetical. The nightmare scenarios that we all lived this weekend, and probably shared on Twitter, are nothing but that: nightmares. Zach should be back early in the season, and until then we’ll get some genuinely entertaining games, with Flacco starting the season going up against his old team the Baltimore Ravens in week 1. I’d quite happily keep Zach away from Myles Garrett in week 2, and give this O-Line another week to gel to make sure that when Zach does come back onto the field he stays on it.
My own opinion on this scenario would have been to let Joe Flacco take the starting role, but bring in Heinicke or Minshew by trade to sit behind, and take over every 3-4 games to give Flacco a rest. This would have given the team a legitimate chance to compete for games, because, whatever you think of Wilson going into his second year, this Jets team is built to compete every Sunday. The realistic season record is somewhere around 6-8 games, but there shouldn’t be any games on the schedule this year that this team can’t be in until the 4th quarter.
Weirdly, this feels like new territory for the Jets and some kind of evidence that things may just be turning around luck-wise for this organisation. In past years it’s easy to see how this could have gone differently (see: Mark Sanchez, Chad Pennington, and Brett Favre) and we could be having these conversations for real. Perhaps the time is up on Joe Namath’s curse