Well, the New York Jets number one goal this off-season was to figure out the starting quarterback situation. The end result – trading Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers, opening the door for the team to take BYU’s Zach Wilson second overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. With Wilson under center, the Jets (once again) hope to have found their long-term starter. What the Jets do not have though is their backup quarterback.
However, unlike Darnold, Wilson does not have a Josh McCown or Joe Flacco on the roster to mentor him. Having an experienced backup is a huge advantage for any rookie quarterback. Especially for Wilson, who goes from Utah to the bright lights of New York, he certainly would benefit from a veteran behind him.
At the moment, Gang Green only has two other quarterbacks on their roster. James Morgan was a fourth-round pick in 2020, though never dressed for a game his rookie season. A gunslinger through and through, Morgan has plenty of work to do before appearing in a regular season game. As for Mike White, the former 2018 fifth-round pick has yet to even throw a pass in a regular season game.
In other words, the Jets need a true backup quarterback behind Zach Wilson. Yes, free agents Nick Mullens, Matt Barkley, and more are available. Yet it may be the Jets best bet to look to acquire one via trade. Here are the Jets top options on the trade market for a backup quarterback…
New York Jets Trade Market Options for a Backup Quarterback
Top Option: Nick Foles
For weeks, the Jets have been connected to former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. During his time with the Philadelphia Eagles, Foles spent time with Jets General Manager Joe Douglas. There is also the matter of where Foles stands with the Bears.
Entering the draft, it appeared he would compete with Andy Dalton for the team’s starting job. Except in a draft-night plot twist, the Chicago Bears moved up to take Ohio State’s Justin Fields. It is clear Dalton is the likely Week 1 starter, with Fields being the future of the team. Thus, leaving Foles as a lost man on the Bears bench.
For Foles, his contract is not going to make him an easy player to trade for most teams. That is not the case for the Jets though, who have significant cap space available. Chances are that any deal includes the Bears retaining some of his salary, but to acquire Foles would likely be a simple late-round pick swap.
Fun Option: Gardner Minshew
Imagine if Minshew-mania took on the Big Apple? Of course, if the Jets swung for Gardner Minshew, he would not start. Which does go against his wishes, as he simply wants a chance to compete. Nevertheless, for a late day three pick, the Jets must consider calling the Jacksonville Jaguars
A former sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Minshew has outperformed expectations through two seasons. In 23 games (20 starts), the former Washington State quarterback has 5,530 yards passing while completing 62.9% of his passes. The 25-year-old also is as smart as they come with the football, throwing 37 touchdown passes to just 11 interceptions.
As previously mentioned, Minshew wants a chance to compete for a starting role, something that with Trevor Lawrence around, won’t happen. With many teams around the league having clear-cut quarterback situations, if Minshew simply wants out of Jacksonville altogether, the Jets should consider bringing him in. Plus, imagine Minshew’s swagger in Manhattan? That would be a marketing dream.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Mariota
Last year for the Las Vegas Raiders, Marcus Mariota played some good football. He may only be 27-years-old, but Mariota is no longer a starting quarterback in this league. The Raiders may be hesitant to trade Mariota, given their playoff hopes should Derek Carr get hurt. Nonetheless, if the Jets make an enticing offer, he could fit offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s system.
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