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What Would You Do at Quarterback for the Jets?

Make or not make the trade

Chicago Bears v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

A lot of people are down on Zach Wilson right now with good reason. Zach has shown a propensity for making egregious errors at various times in games. Many of those errors were bonehead type plays where Zach simply played backyard football instead of serious, technically sound, fundamental football. His laissez-faire attitude on some plays cost the Jets games so he is now paying a price.

I have not lost faith in Zach or his ability to become a top level QB in the NFL. He simply needs to learn that every play could be his last so he should take the utmost care with the football at all times. I know many people prefer Mike White as their QB, Mike now has three starts under his belt this season. It is not a knock on Mike White, just a fact that he had a couple of easier games for the offense this season prior to facing the Bills defense this week.

Mike White I’m sure makes no excuses with his last few games as he has racked up some stats but a 1-2 record. Of course he is disappointed it was not 3-0, but you can’t look back in the NFL. Mike White has always had confidence in himself as a player. (I actually watched him practice in college back in 2014.) He was a 5th round pick (#171) by the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 but he thought he was better than that.

He stated back in 2021 about his draft status, “I couldn’t tell you. That’s definitely the scouting departments across the league and what their interpretation of me is. I have 100 percent confidence in myself. So if you ask me, I should have been a first overall pick. But that’s neither here nor there. That’s four years ago. I try to get my mind off that and be in the here and now and execute what my job is right now.”

Mike White came into the NFL with an attitude that thought he knew everything there is to know about being a QB. He soon learned he was sadly mistaken. The NFL will do that to you. White said, “I think that’s what any young quarterback has to learn and especially in the NFL when guys are so talented and this is the best of the best. You can get away with that in college, but in the NFL, not so much.” Mike White has learned from his time in the NFL, White is a 27 year old QB who has been in the NFL since 2018; Zack Wilson is 23 with little experience compared to White.

Some people forget that White took over for an injured Zach Wilson in 2021 in a horrible 54-13 loss to the Patriots throwing for 202 yards 1 TD and 2 INTs. Everyone remembers the 34-31 win against the (Super Bowl) Bengals with White hitting on 37 of 45 passes for 405 yards and 3 TDs and 2 INTs. He was injured in a Thursday night game the next week while throwing only 11 passes in the 45-30 loss. He returned the following week against Buffalo where he was dreadful in a 4 INT, zero TD affair that turned into a 45-17 loss.

There is still a lot of the season left to go, but I’m going to put you all on the line and ask which player you choose to go on with. You see, the Jets have to make a choice of who they want, either Zach Wilson or Mike White. You can’t have both. I stated after last season that the Jets could have signed Mike White to a 2 year deal worth about $8 million instead of the RFA offer of 2.54 million for 2022. That would have given the team an extra year of control of White. Mike White will be a free agent after the season and will be looking to get paid with a lot of teams looking for a young QB with upside.

Joe Flacco was signed as a mentor/emergency QB but has no future with the Jets. He started the first 3 games with a 1-2 record (with the Cleveland Miracle included) but was sacked 9 times with a season QBR of 32.8. Mike White will not be with the Jets next year without a significant contract.

The problem is the Jets drafted Zach Wilson #2 so he has a lot of money due him. The Jets would incur about a $17 million cap hit for dead money over the next two years if Zach is traded. Of course the salary cap will increase next year about $12 million so that offsets some of that problem.

Here is the real question.

Would you trade Zach Wilson and resign Mike White or let White walk (getting a 3rd round pick in compensation in 2024)?

Who would trade for Zach Wilson?

The number of teams who would have an interest is the same number of teams who don’t have a franchise QB. It’s as simple as that, Zach Wilson has talent. He just needs to mature.

If I were the Houston Texans I would be all over a trade for Wilson if he is offered. The Texans have a lot of Draft capital to use so they would be the obvious choice for the Jets to trade with.

Personally I have not finished my Draft assessments of this year’s (2023) QB crop, but I am less than enthused by the group so far. I had Zach Wilson rated far above any of the current group of QBs in the 2023 Draft Bryce Young is currently rated #1, but he is no slam dunk. He is small at 194 lbs 6’ 0” and played on an all-star team. He has made some nice throws and he is a leader on his team but he lacks the “wow” factor.

The Texans are nearly assured the #1 pick in the Draft, but the Jets would be wise not to ask for it. The Texans would be ridiculed for giving it up, but in reality there is no player worthy (as this moment) of being the #1 pick.

The Jets could ask for the (Texans) Cleveland 1st round pick 2023 which should be a pick in the middle of the first round. They could get substantial secondary assets like a 3rd round in 2023 (Texans) plus a 2nd round pick in 2024. That would still leave the Texans with a franchise QB plus the #1 pick in 2023 and a 1st round pick from the Browns in 2024 (giving them 2 1st round picks) plus other midround assets from the Browns.

Considering the leap of faith the Jets would be putting on Mike White’s shoulders it would be a career changing move for Joe Douglas. If he is wrong either way he is fired after 2024 if the Jets regress. Yet a Draft specialist like Joe he might want to have extra capital to make the Jets great. Or; he believes that Zach Wilson is the answer he could stay the course and build around Zach.

Zach has growing left to do like Mike has done. Mike White is a better QB this year than he was last year. He is still young and learning. So do you sign Mike White and ship Zach Wilson off to another team, or stay with Zach then lose Mike White by doing so?

What do you say?