In the wake of Aaron Rodgers’ New York Jets career coming to a screeching halt after just four plays, Gang Green’s front office has some quick decisions to make. We now know Rodgers suffered an Achilles injury on Monday Night Football, so his season in NYC is over. Now, the Jets must scramble to decide who else they’ll bring in at the quarterback position. Zach Wilson played about as well as anyone could have hoped against Buffalo, but that type of performance won’t get it done over the next 17 weeks. Let’s look at some realistic free-agent replacements and some that are less than pragmatic but fun to throw around for the Jets.
The most obvious solution would be for the Jets to ride this out and stick with Wilson, the guy they selected second overall in the 2021 draft. He played all but the first four snaps of the Monday Night opener against the Buffalo Bills and played well enough (alongside that fierce defense) for the Jets to win in overtime, 22-16.
Of course, we’ll hear Brady’s name at some point, whether it’s a realistic option or not. Making the phone call doesn’t hurt. After all, the worst thing he can say is no. Well, Brady could go much further than that, but he probably won’t and will pass respectfully. Imagine Brady adding a third team in his 24th season and leading them to the Super Bowl after replacing Rodgers. [Ed. note: Could be a way to stick it to The Hoodie by joining the NYJ.] Those who can’t stand the legend of the GOAT already will likely join A-Rod in that cave for an extended wilderness retreat. NFL life without Brady might not be over just yet.
This is one of the most realistic options, but the problem here is Wentz doesn’t give the Jets a much better option than throwing Wilson out there. The Jets could bring Wentz in as insurance, but he won’t tip the scales in their favor much more than Wilson. That’s how far Carson Wentz has fallen in the past few years. Barely a better option than Zach Wilson.
Another Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback is also on the market: Joe Flacco. At nearly 39 years old, Flacco is looking for his next gig, and that position has just opened up. Flacco played for the Jets over the last three years and was let go during the offseason. Cruel fate may launch him right back into the arms of the team who sent him packing a few months ago. Flacco says he can still play and still has that itch. Let’s see if the Jets are willing to scratch it for him.
This former NFL MVP, who is out of the league but not “technically” retired, could also be an option for the Jets. The downside is the last time we saw Ryan, he was far from the 2016 MVP version of himself. In fact, the last couple of years Ryan played were nothing to write home about. It’s not the most unlikely solution, but even if he returns, you have to wonder how much Ryan has left.
Philip Rivers is another retired veteran QB who hasn’t played in a while. He’s been linked to comeback talk since he walked away after one year with Indianapolis during the ’20 campaign. Rivers would probably be an upgrade over Wilson even after being out for a few years, and more realistic than some other names on this list. Again, you’ve got to make the call or send a text if you’re the Jets.
Brees last played in the NFL during the pandemic season, and while he was long past his prime, his play wasn’t awful. He might be a decent option, although his ball had lost quite a bit of velocity during the last couple of years of his career. Even with that, Brees would be an upgrade over Wilson and others on this list, but it’s hard to see him leaving retirement now.
Kap hasn’t suited up for an NFL game since ’16, so this is the longest shot. It won’t happen, but Kaepernick still wanted to return to the league not too long ago. But at age 35 and having not played NFL football in about seven years, this may be the most unrealistic option for the Jets. But these are the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets we’re talking about.