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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Billy Riccette

Jets’ offseason primer: quarterbacks

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As the NFL is mere days away from being in full-blown offseason mode, teams are beginning to set their sets on building their rosters in the hopes of making it to Las Vegas next February for Super Bowl LVIII.

With the offseason upon us, we’ll start taking a look at the position groups for the Jets with a quick rundown of who is intact for 2023, who are set to be free agents and any possible additions to the team in the coming months via free agency or the draft. First up, the most important position and the one the Jets will be heavily involved in this offseason, the quarterback position.

Quarterbacks under contract for 2023

Zach Wilson

By now, everyone knows the Jets will be going after a veteran quarterback to boost their offense after the quarterback position was a major issue in 2022, namely the regression of Zach Wilson in Year 2. That said, the Jets also hope to keep Wilson and still be able to develop him behind whichever addition they bring in this spring. Wilson has two years left on his rookie contract and is owed about $9.2 million.

Chris Streveler

Streveler saw action during the Week 16 game against the Jaguars after Wilson struggled in the first half while Mike White was still out with broken ribs. He signed a reserve/futures contract after the season.

Quarterbacks set to become free agents

Mike White

White was the only positive mark at the quarterback position, the highest being just his fight to come back into the game against the Bills after getting demolished and eventually finding out he suffered multiple fractured ribs. The Jets could bring him back as the No. 3 quarterback.

Joe Flacco

Flacco just looked lost all season save for his incredible comeback in Week 2 against the Browns. His time with the Jets is likely over.

Free agency/trade options

Aaron Rodgers

Is Rodgers the No. 1 target for the Jets? They’ll certainly make a charge for him, but the price will obviously be very steep. Not only would they likely have to part with the No. 13 pick in the draft, if not more, but Rodgers is still owed about $100 million over the next two seasons. Of course, the Jets can work it out so that his cap hit is only about $16 million next season and about $32 million in 2024. They could also ask the Packers to take on some of Rodgers’ salary. Owner Woody Johnson has said he is open to paying for a quarterback. Will he be that open?

Derek Carr

Carr could be seen as the fallback or No. 2 option, though the option would have to be decided on before Rodgers. That’s because Carr is likely going to become available shortly after the Super Bowl due to his contract language — his 2023 salary of $32.9 million and $7.5 million of his 2024 salary become guaranteed on February 15. So the question for the Jets becomes do they settle on Carr or roll the dice and wait for Rodgers? If the Jets make a trade for Carr on his current contract, they would owe Carr salaries of $32.9 million, $41.9 million and $41.2 million over the next three seasons.

Lamar Jackson

This is probably a long shot, but he’s at least worth mentioning here with Jackson and Ravens reportedly far apart in terms of guaranteed money. Still, the Ravens can always slap the franchise tag on Jackson, making all this a moot point. But if he does become a free agent, would the Jets make a splurge on Jackson with a contract that would include, say, $150 million-$200 million guaranteed?


Draft options

Anthony Richardson, Florida

Big if here, but if the Jets end up taking a quarterback in the first round, if all else fails, the best option may be Anthony Richardson of Florida, assuming he’s even still on the board at 13. But the sense is someone is going to fall in love with the athleticism of Richardson and talk themselves into thinking they will be able to coach him up and develop his tools with how raw he is.

Note: Because of how high they’re projected to go, we won’t even bother with Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or Will Levis.

Hendon Hooker, Tennessee

If the Jets are taking a quarterback in the draft, it’s likely going to be in the middle to late rounds. Hooker could be an option behind a veteran quarterback as he rehabs his knee injury he suffered in November. Hooker did just turn 25 but is coming off an excellent season before the injury and was called the “face of college football” by Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy, who brought Hooker to Mobile to meet with teams during the week.

Jake Haener, Fresno State

Another quarterback who was down in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and was named MVP of the game, Haener is starting to garner comparisons to Brock Purdy as a quarterback that will likely be a late-round pick but has the firepower to work himself into a solid quarterback in the NFL with the right situation. Haener’s injury history will cause him to slide, but he’s one of the toughest fighters when he’s on the field. He’ll join a team and can begin his career as a No. 3 quarterback with time to develop and build upside down the line.

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