New York Jets 2021 Quarterback Options

New York Jets 2021 Quarterback

Whether fans like it or not, the New York Jets will not have Trevor Lawrence under center in 2021. The team made sure of that Sunday, by winning their second in a row. Both wins – one against a nine-win Los Angeles Rams and the other against a 10-win Cleveland Browns squad – seemed impossible to Jets fans just two weeks ago. Yet here they are. The team is locked in at second overall, with everything on the table; most importantly the New York Jets 2021 Quarterback.

The team could stay there and select either Ohio State’s quarterback Justin Fields or BYU’s quarterback Zach Wilson. Either one would give a potential new head coach and general manager Joe Douglas “their guy” to build the team around. Or maybe Gang Green decides to trade back in the draft and give Sam Darnold one last go. This being an option that has gained steam with the team’s two-game win streak.

If New York does run it back with Darnold, they cannot simply guarantee him the job. First of all, 2021 will be the first season of Douglas’ true rebuild effort and it will be a big one in terms of overall team development. Second, while the argument that Darnold has little support will remain, he has still struggled this season with a healthy supporting cast. Therefore, New York must bring in an experienced quarterback to compete for the starting job in 2021 should Darnold be back.

New York Jets 2021 Quarterback Options

Jameis Winston

Should the Jets pursue a veteran to compete with Darnold, Jameis Winston should be at the top of the list, especially if the team does not want to simply hand Darnold the job next season. This past season, Winston has spent time backing up none other than Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, allowing him to learn from one of the NFL’s greatest. His season as a backup has also allowed him to take a step out of the spotlight and hopefully iron out inconsistencies.

Since being the first overall pick in 2015, Winston has proven to be a very talented quarterback. As a rookie, he made the Pro Bowl. Over his first five seasons, he started all 16 games three times, never throwing less than 19 touchdowns. To put that into perspective, Darnold’s career-high is 19 touchdown passes. Winston also averages 264.2 yards passing per game with his lowest Quarterback Rating (QBR) on a season being 54.0. For Darnold, he averages 211.6 yards passing per game with a career-high QBR on a season at 45.5 – in 2018.

Ultimately, Winston should be a top option for New York if Darnold is back next season. He offers high-upside and experience that should Darnold falter, Winston can still win ballgames. Winston will also want to compete for a starting job after being on the bench in 2020. After all, there is no doubt that Winston has the talent to be a starter in this league.

Jacoby Brissett

After Winston, another young veteran who is looking to compete for a starting job will be Jacoby Brissett. After being the Indianapolis Colts starter last season, Brissett has moved to the bench behind Philip Rivers. In five years, Brissett has studied behind Tom Brady and Philip Rivers and is going to hit the market for the first time in his career. Expect Brissett to look for a spot where he could fight his way to the starting job.

A former third-round pick by the New England Patriots, Brissett has been a solid starting quarterback. He has 31 career touchdown passes to 13 interceptions, proving he can take care of the football. Brissett is a step down from the upside Winston brings and may not be the biggest of improvements from Darnold. Nevertheless, Brissett certainly will have Darnold looking over his shoulder.

Tyrod Taylor

Outside of Winston and Brissett, the Jets will be turning to the traditional past-30 journeyman quarterback. In that case, Los Angeles Chargers backup Tyrod Taylor fits the bill. He will be 32-years-old next season and could be looking for a new home with Justin Herbert clearly being the long-term answer on the west coast. With New York, he would offer a fantastic veteran presence.

Taylor has been through it all. He had a Pro Bowl season in 2016 and owns a 24-21-1 career record. He takes care of the football, with 54 career touchdown passes and only 20 interceptions. Taylor is also aware of what it is like being paired with a young quarterback. In 2018, he was replaced by Baker Mayfield as the starter for the Browns. And unfortunately, again so this season by Herbert. With the Jets, Taylor could flip the script. He offers an experienced backup who can help Darnold and should things not work out, take to the starting lineup.

Andy Dalton

Easily the most accomplished of the candidates, Andy Dalton is also the oldest. In October next season, he will turn 34-years-old, being well past his prime. That does not mean he cannot start in the NFL anymore. This past off-season, Dalton signed with the Dallas Cowboys to back up Dak Prescott. When Prescott got hurt, Dalton took the starting job and has done very well. After a slow start, he now has a 4-4 record as the starter, with the Cowboys somehow still in the playoff picture thanks to the abysmal play of the NFC East.

Chances are Dalton will be looking for a similar situation in 2021. A place where he can compete for a job and ride the bench to start if he must. In New York, Dalton can do so, and give the Jets a backup with 141 career starts.

Notable Others

Outside of these four, the Jets enter the realm of unlikely targets. Right off of the bat, do not expect Dak Prescott or Mitchell Trubisky to be in gotham green in 2021. Prescott will be coming off of a gruesome season-ending ankle injury and will be seeking high compensation. The same could be said about Trubisky too. Despite an uneven start and benching this season, Trubisky has been red hot and may have played his way back to Chicago next season. There is also no need to look to Philip Rivers, as the to-be 40-year-old is not going from a playoff team in the Colts to the rebuilding Jets.

What could end up happening, though unlikely, could be the Jets target Cam Newton or Ryan Fitzpatrick. Both offer that veteran presence, remain capable starters, and can challenge Darnold. Newton can still play just is nowhere near the MVP-talent he once was. As for “Fitzmagic,” the 39-year-old continues to wonder and may leave Miami after the whole benching debacle earlier this season. Then again, he may not want anything to do with New York after the events of the 2016 season.

Last Word on the New York Jets 2021 Quarterback Options

Whether he has earned the opportunity or because it is best for the development of the team, there is a chance Darnold is the starter next season. That is the reality now with Trevor Lawrence out of the question. In the scenario Darnold is back, Douglas and a prospective new head coach cannot hand him the starting job on a platter. He must earn it. For that reason, the Jets should turn to the free agent market to add someone with experience to challenge him for the job next season.

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