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5 Backup QBs the New York Jets Could Sign


The New York Jets have a quarterback problem once again.

Aaron Rodgers, the four-time NFL MVP who was supposed to be the Jets’ savior under center, is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, an MRI confirmed Tuesday. Rodgers lasted just four snaps in his franchise debut Monday night before leaving the field.

After a warm welcome from the thousands of Jets fans gathered at MetLife Stadium, Rodgers lost with 10:56 left in the first quarter. Buffalo Bills passer Leonard Floyd sacked Rodgers and twisted the QB to the ground. Rodgers’ left foot apparently got stuck on the turf during the play. The Jets ended up beating the Bills, 22-16, in overtime. Monday Night Football after Rodgers’ injury. But the good news ends there for the Jets.

Jets coach Robert Saleh said after the game that an MRI would likely confirm the team’s worst fears: that Rodgers was suffering from a torn Achilles tendon. And that’s what happened. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport were among the first to report that Rodgers had torn his left Achilles tendon.

Now, Rodgers’ season is ending almost as quickly as it began, and given his age, his NFL future is in question.

“Personally, I don’t feel bad for myself, I don’t feel bad for our locker room, I feel bad for Aaron and how much he put into this,” Saleh said after the game. “I will always say a prayer and remain hopeful. My heart is with Aaron.”

The Jets had a hype-filled offseason after trading for the 39-year-old QB in April, which provided Gang Green fans with Super Bowl expectations. Rodgers was supposed to be the missing piece on a Jets roster that looked good enough to win it all. The 10-time Pro Bowler was brought in to replace Zack Wilson, the No. 2 pick in 2021 and New York’s starter last season.

But it looks like the Jets will have to roll with their old first-rounder again.

The Jets did not have a third quarterback in uniform for Monday night’s game. Quarterback Tim Boyle is on the team’s practice squad. Saleh said the Jets will likely draft a quarterback after Rodgers’ injury, but the plan is to move forward with Wilson as the starter under center.

Wilson completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown and an interception after entering the game in relief of Rodgers.

Now that Rodgers is effectively out for the season, will the Jets really roll with Wilson? The 24-year-old missed time due to injury last season and was then benched for poor play. Saleh could look to trade for a QB with starting experience, perhaps the team’s replacement. New Orleans Saints, Jameis Winston. Or maybe try to lure Tom Brady out of retirement again (this is mostly a joke).

In all likelihood, the Jets will attempt to bring in an experienced free agent, either as insurance for Wilson or potentially to challenge him for the starting spot if necessary.

Here’s a look at some free agent options the Jets could consider.

LANDOVER, MARYLAND – JANUARY 08: Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders wears a shirt in support of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on January 08, 2023 in Landover, Maryland.
Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Carson Wentz

The Jets could turn to another former No. 2 pick who hasn’t turned into the player experts thought he would be: Carson Wentz.

Wentz, a former Pro Bowler for the Philadelphia Eagles, remains unsigned. The 30-year-old started on three different teams over the past three seasons – the Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Washington Commanders – only to be run out of town each time. Wentz went 2-5 in seven starts for the Commanders last season, throwing for 1,755 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Joe Flacco

The Jets could opt to bring a familiar face back into their quarterback room.

Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco played three seasons with the Jets from 2020 to 2022. Flacco started the Jets’ first three games last season while Wilson was injured, then again in the regular season finale when their playoff hopes were dashed. In between, Flacco was demoted to the team’s No. 3 QB behind Wilson and Mike White.

Flacco completed 57.6 percent of his passes last season and threw five touchdowns and three interceptions. The Jets opted not to re-sign Flacco until the 2023 season.

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Colt McCoy

The Arizona Cardinals released Colt McCoy at the end of the preseason, but the 13-year veteran could serve as a solid backup for the Jets.

McCoy has played for five teams in his professional career since being drafted in the third round in 2010. That includes the last two with the Cardinals. McCoy has started 11 games over the past five seasons, completing 67.7 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and nine interceptions in those games.

Nick Foles

Nick Foles’ best moments in the NFL came with the Philadelphia Eagles. But maybe the 34-year-old free agent has a little more to give with the Jets.

Foles is five years away from winning Super Bowl MVP honors with the Eagles. Last season, the former third-round pick started two games for the Indianapolis Colts during Jeff Saturday’s bizarre tenure as head coach. Foles has appeared in 71 games since being drafted in 2012 and could be a safety measure behind Wilson this season.

Matt Ryan

Former league MVP Matt Ryan joined CBS as an NFL analyst this season but insisted he is not retired. So maybe the Jets could call up the 38-year-old.

Ryan threw 381 touchdowns during a 15-year career, most of which were spent with the Atlanta Falcons. Like Foles, Ryan spent last season with the Colts. Indianapolis traded for the veteran QB before the start of last season and Ryan started 12 games for the team. The Colts ultimately benched him in favor of Sam Ehlinger and Foles.

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