It’s becoming clear that the New York Jets won’t let poor quarterback play sabotage another season in 2023. They haven’t shared their plan for next season, but the Jets are making it clear that fixing the position is priority No. 1 this offseason.
Though coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas each stated his commitment to developing and fixing Zach Wilson this offseason, there are clear signs that the Jets are looking to add a viable veteran QB in 2023.
“We are going to be aggressive as heck when it comes to quarterback play and making sure we do everything we can to satisfy that position,” Saleh said Thursday.
"We've got a really, really good core group of guys." pic.twitter.com/X5KBgEg8to
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 12, 2023
That would surely seem to put Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr in play for the Jets. What about Lamar Jackson if he doesn’t re-sign with the Baltimore Ravens?
Jets owner Woody Johnson met with reporters Thursday for the first time since the season ended. He was asked if he’s willing to spend big money to get the QB position right.
“Absolutely,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a (salary) cap, so there’s an amount you can spend. But yeah, yeah. That’s kind of the missing piece.”
No playoff mandate for Saleh and Douglas in ‘23.
Willing to spend big for a QB, which he called the “missing piece.”
Still confident in Zach Wilson, wants to keep and develop. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) January 12, 2023
That didn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft who struggled mightily in his first two NFL seasons. Had the Jets received league average play from Wilson this season, they very likely would have ended their playoff drought that now stands at 12 years. Instead, he was benched twice and started only nine games. Saleh has suggested Wilson “go to a beach” this offseason to get away and “find yourself.”
Looking ahead, Johnson refused to give a playoff mandate for next season. Looking back, he agreed with Mike LaFleur, who mutually parted ways with the Jets as offensive coordinator on Wednesday, that Wilson would have benefited playing behind a veteran QB his rookie season.
“I don’t think we did everything the right way,” he said.
The Jets averaged 11 points during a six-game losing streak to end this season with a 7-10 record. They did not score a touchdown in their final three games. Quite simply, New York’s defense, ranked No. 4 in the NFL, put them in a position to win every week. And more often than not, the offense didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.
LaFleur was the first offseason casualty. Offensive line coach John Benton was fired Thursday.
Robert Saleh on Mike LaFleur's departure:
"He got a lot of inquiries about his availability…felt it would be in everyone's best interest to pursue those opportunities" pic.twitter.com/ACqPE4Hpu9
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) January 12, 2023
Saleh said the Jets will consider all qualified candidates to replace LaFleur. He added they do not need to run a specific scheme nor come from the Kyle Shanahan tree, as LaFleur did.
“We’ve got a really, really good core group of guys,” Saleh answered in part when asked what makes the Jets’ OC job attractive.
Zach Wilson said last week if he was battling a veteran QB for the starting job next season, he’d “make that dude’s life hell in practice every day.”
By the sounds of things Thursday, it appears Wilson had better prepare for that scenario.