The Jets are in the market for a quarterback … again. This is the third and final part in a series exploring their options this offseason. The third part looks at some of the less likely options.
The Jets are expected to swing for the fences in their pursuit of a new quarterback, but if they whiff on the big names? There are alternatives out there for the Jets beyond Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr — the three names they have been connected with the most this offseason.
Not many of those fallback options are going to excite the fan base in the way signing Rodgers would, but the reality is Rodgers could say he wants to retire or stay in Green Bay or the Jets could fail to pull off a trade for him. At the moment, the Jets have to be open to everything at quarterback.
Let’s take a look at some of the less-likely ways the Jets could fill their hole at quarterback through three categories:
Zach Wilson: The Jets have made it clear that Wilson will be on the roster this year, but they have no intentions of making him the starter. Head coach Robert Saleh chuckled at the idea that Wilson could beat out one of the veterans they sign in training camp. Wilson is going to be relegated to the bench this season unless something dramatically changes inside the Jets. Let’s talk about whether he can start in 2024.
Mike White: There was a shot that White could have won the 2023 starting job in December. If he had played well and the Jets had made a trip to the playoffs, White could have built momentum and convinced the Jets’ brass to take a chance on him. Instead, he suffered broken ribs and went 1-3 as a starter and looked like a quality backup quarterback, but not a starter. White is scheduled to hit free agency in March. The Jets could conceivably bring him back as a backup, but it seems unlikely they are going to pay a starter, White and Wilson, who is being paid decent money as the 2021 No. 2 overall pick.
The big names
Lamar Jackson: There is skepticism that the Ravens would actually move on from Jackson, but things have gotten weird between the quarterback and the team over the last year. Jackson won’t hit free agency, because the Ravens will probably use the franchise tag on him and then try to work out a deal. If a team wants to swoop in, it will be costly. They will have to give up two first-round picks and sign Jackson to a long-term deal similar to Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed $230 million deal.
Tom Brady: Brady has owned the Jets for years and now he can come play for them. Brady is expected to be a free agent. He has a son in New York and has talked about wanting to be close to him, but it is hard to imagine a marriage between Brady and the Jets. Brady’s play slipped in 2022 and he seems more likely to land with the Raiders.
Ryan Tannehill: The Titans are undergoing change with a new general manager. Could they look to trade or cut Tannehill, who is due $36.6 million this year? The addition of Tanenhill would not move the needle, but he has had success in Tennessee.
Daniel Jones: This will not happen, but it would be a fun story if Danny Dimes moved across town.
Geno Smith: A reunion? Don’t count on it.
The bargain bin
Baker Mayfield: There were people with the Jets who coveted Mayfield before the 2018 draft. They are no longer with the team, but Mayfield would be an interesting option if they decided they wanted to have a training camp competition between a veteran quarterback and Wilson.
Jameis Winston: Another former No. 1 pick who is expected to hit the market as the Saints likely will cut Winston. Would the Jets bring him in to compete for the job? Probably not, but he will land somewhere in 2023.
Gardner Minshew: The Eagles backup quarterback has played well against the Jets through his career. He is another intriguing name if the Jets settle on having a quarterback competition.