The QB Conundrum
We had some football last year! Yes it was the HOF game, yes a lot of players missed it, but it was slightly competitive football that signaled the start of the pre-season slate. I enjoyed it and hope you did too.
Today we’re going to catch up with what people are saying about the Jets as there was no practice to report on, and then jump into the QB situation for the Jets, but we’re barely going to talk about Zach Wilson…honestly.
NFL has released a list of 2nd year wide receivers who are primed for a breakout and unsurprisingly, Elijah Moore found his way onto the list: “A darling among the Jets beat last summer, Moore’s rookie output was kept at bay inside a ghastly Jets offense that finished 27th in passing DVOA. A quad injury shelved the former Ole Miss star for the final five games of his rookie campaign. In a rough-and-tumble environment, though, Moore showed growth before exiting stage left. After squeezing out just nine grabs over his first five appearances, he put up a 13/151/2 line in outings against the Bengals and Colts. Moore went on to stamp Miami for 141 yards and a score off eight grabs in Week 11. His 62-yard catch-and-dash touchdown in that game serves as a preview of what's to come, but it's notable that outburst came with Joe Flacco in the lineup. Injuries limited Moore and Zach Wilson to a 19/202/1 line over seven games together.”
PFF released their list outlining the player on each team that has the most to prove in 2022. The Jets have a few candidates including Mekhi Becton and Denzel Mims, but it was Zach who got picked out:
If you pay attention to social media you have probably seen reports about the performance of Joe Flacco in camp, even Robert Saleh recently said that he believes that Flacco is a starter in this league, even at the ripe old age of 37.
I’m not concerned with any reports that indicate Flacco is outperforming Zach in camp, Zach’s already made strides over the first week and if he continues this trajectory he’ll be good to go as soon as Baltimore role into town.
My main question now is what will the Jets do in relation to their backup quarterbacks?
I recently took a look back at the opening rosters of all NFL teams from 2021 and there was almost an even split between teams carrying two quarterbacks and teams carrying three.
The Jets find themselves in a great spot right now, they’re experiencing a boom in skill position players making a statement. If the players maintain this throughout pre-season it increases the chances of the Jets deciding to carry an extra receiver in someone like Irvin Charles or an extra TE in Lawrence Cager/Kenny Yeboah, if you carry an extra player in one area, another has to be cut.
The impression I’ve been given all off-season from speaking to people close to the organization is that the Jets wanted to carry three quarterbacks for two reasons. The first is they like Joe Flacco and his ability to both perform on the field and more importantly mentor Zach Wilson. The second is they really rate Mike White and see him as the ideal long-term backup to Wilson in New York, mainly because of his ability to play within the system, but also because of the relationship he has with Zach.
All of this leads to an uncomfortable truth. Either the Jets will need to cut a skill position player they may not want to cut, or they’re going to need to lose a QB that they don’t want to lose. Could they poach a roster spot from somewhere else on the 53? Absolutely, but I’m not sure where, I’m already struggling to fit all the defensive ends in that we’ll likely want to carry.
Let’s say the Jets need to trade one or the other, I believe there would be a market for both right now, but if teams start to lose their starters/backups through pre-season that market will only grow. What are the pros and cons?
Pros of trading him
Let’s start with the obvious one, trading your 3rd string QB opens up a roster spot for another position. With the Jets that probably means a wide receiver or tight end.
The Jets can trade White now and be completely off the hook for his contract. There is $0 guaranteed on White’s one-year deal.
Despite some heroics last season, White showed his limitations at the NFL level. He threw 8 interceptions in 3 1/2 games.
Probably wouldn’t be hard to find another Mike White down the road when Joe Flacco retired.
Cons of trading him
His intangibles work within the current system and his performance against the Bengals showed he can win NFL games with a supporting cast.
He has an excellent relationship with Zach, the coaches really like him and he loves being a Jet.
At just 27 and with little wear and tear, he is capable of being a solid backup for the next 5-10 years.
He’s cheaper than Joe Flacco and having extra roster flexibility will allow the Jets to invest in other areas of the team.
Pros of trading him
Proven track record as a starter and performed admirably last year, a team in need of a starter will feel more comfortable trading for him.
He will turn 38 before the season is through, likely only has 1-2 years left, and as such, the Jets will need to find a longer-term backup anyway.
Cons of trading him
Joe has become a very good mentor for Zach and his experience is vital to the development of the young QB.
If the Jets decide to trade Joe, they’ll still be on the hook for $1.73 million of his salary in 2022.
Showed last year that he was capable of working within this system and moving the offense. Wouldn’t be the reason for a loss.
If you read TJW from the start, you’ll know that I like Mike White, and the Bengals game was probably my favorite game from the 2021 season. But, my logical head says that there is only one solution if the Jets only want to carry two QBs, and that’s to trade Mike White.
Joe Flacco has guaranteed money on his contract, he’s the better QB from a performance perspective and his mentorship and experience will be key for Zach in 2021. As much as I enjoyed Mike White’s cameo last year, I think you’d be able to find another Mike White either on waivers, through free agency, or through the draft once Joe Flacco retires.
Obviously, there is another solution. If Mike White doesn’t have a market then they could move him to the practice squad, which would open him up to being claimed by another team, but there’s a chance they could stash him and have all three available. Thanks to the rule introduced during COVID that states teams can carry up to six players with no limitations as to their number of earned accrued seasons, we don’t even need to worry about that.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Diontae Johnson have come to an agreement on a two-year extension worth $36.71 million.
New Orleans Saints rookie tackle Trevor Penning was kicked out of practice Wednesday after starting his third altercation in three days.
The NFL has said that it will appeal the 6-game suspension handed down to Deshaun Watson, they are looking to extend the punishment handed down.
The Dallas Cowboys reached an agreement with veteran linebacker Anthony Barr on a one-year deal for the 2022 season.
Chicago Bears 2nd-year offensive tackle Teven Jenkins missed his 6th straight practice with an undisclosed injury.
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Preseason games could determine Mike Whites fate. It’s his second year in the system, it will be interesting to see if White lights things up.