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What are the Jets' Plans at Backup QB for Next Season?

Brian Costello of The New York Post Says the Green & White Could Pursue Jacoby Brissett & Gardner Minshew


The Jets will most likely be in the market for a backup quarterback when NFL free agency officially begins on Wednesday (March 13) after GM Joe Douglas told the media that QB Zach Wilson and his team had been given permission to seek a trade.

Wilson, drafted No. 2 overall by the Jets in 2021, played 34 games for the Green & White in the last three seasons and started 12 games in 2023. At the start of training camp last summer, Wilson was expected to the backup to Aaron Rodgers and spend the season developing behind and learning from the four-time NFL MVP. That plan went by the wayside after Rodgers sustained a torn Achilles tendon four plays into the season-opener. Wilson came on in relief.

"We know what Zach Wilson is," New York Post reporter Brian Costello said. "He has played three seasons, and it was mixed bag. I think he will get a second chance somewhere, everyone does."

What the Jets can expect for Wilson in a trade? Costello projects the haul to be a late round draft pick. In August 2023, the 49ers made a comparable deal trading QB Trey Lance, who was selected one pick after Wilson in 2021, to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2024 fourth-round pick.

"I look at Trey Lance and he was drafted one pick after him, and the 49ers got a late-round pick for him," Costello said. "Trey Lance never played, so there was a real unknown surrounding him. They didn't know what he is, that is why the backup QB is always the most popular guy because there is so much unknown."

On Monday (March 11), the NFL's two-day negotiating and legal tampering period will begin in which teams are allowed to communicate directly with prospective unrestricted free agents. Costello believes the Jets will be active in pursuing a veteran free agent QB to backup Rodgers. In 2023, 66 different QBs made starts, tying an NFL record for a non-strike season. However, other NFL media members have not ruled out the Jets also drafting a developmental prospect.

Costello, a guest on "The Official Jets Podcast," suggested Jacoby Brissett could be a viable option. Brissett, an eight-year NFL veteran, has played for five different teams, most recently the Commanders in 2023. In Brissett's last two seasons (19 games, 13 starts), he has thrown for 15 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and posted a 92.6 QB rating while averaging 149.1 yards per game.

In Week 16 of the 2023 season, Brissett played the second half of a game against the Jets in relief of QB Sam Howell and went 10 -of -13 for 100 yards and 1 touchdown as Washington outscored New York, 21-3, in the second half.

"I like Jacoby Brissett a lot," Costello said. "He looked good against the Jets when he played for the Commanders, and I thought he look good in Cleveland two years ago. He played well against the Jets, which I don't know what that is worth, but I think he is a good backup. I think the price point for him is going up. He got $8 million last year, and he was one the highest-paid backups on the market. I have a feeling that it is going to be $10 million this year. I think they will need to pay up for backup because if you look at the Jets, but also what happened across the NFL, backup QBs are more valuable than ever."

Other quarterbacks Costello mentioned were Gardner Minshew, Ryan Tannehill and Tyrod Taylor. Minshew, who played for the Colts last season, led Indianapolis to a 7-6 record in his 13 starts and nearly guided the team to a spot in the postseason, losing a win-and-in game against the Texans in Week 18.

Tannehill has several connections to the Jets' coaching staff. Jets O-Line coach Keith Carter, passing game coordinator Todd Downing and RBs coach Tony Dews were all on the Titans' staff from 2019-22 when Tannehill played there. Over those four seasons, Tannehill threw for 89 touchdowns, 33 interceptions and Tennessee had a 36-19 record in his starts. The Titans reached the AFC Championship game in 2019.

"I like Minshew, but I think he will get an opportunity somewhere else to start and be a bridge quarterback for a team that is drafting a rookie," Costello said. "You have to look at Tannehill because of all the connections with Keith Carter and Todd Downing and Tony Dews, but I also think he might be in that market of guys looking to be a starter for a year for a team drafting a quarterback and wanting to sit him."

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