There’s a lot of uncertainty at quarterback for the Jets. Maybe the team will take a quarterback like BYU’s Zach Wilson with the second-overall pick. Maybe they’ll pull off a blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. Or maybe they’ll stick with their incumbent, former third-overall pick Sam Darnold.
As Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes, the Jets’ unpredictable quarterback situation could influence their ability to attract free agent wideouts to New York. Besides the obvious financial details of an offer, an agent told the reporter that receivers will be most focused on who’s under center as they evaluate signing with the Jets.
“It’s the first question they’re all going to ask, after they know the money,” the agent said. “Money is always going to matter most to some guys. But if it’s close, the Jets are going to have some tough questions to answer.”
“Players don’t like uncertainty,” said a different NFL agent. “I would think those [top receivers] will want to know who their quarterback is going to be, not just for this year, but for the length of their new deal.”
The Jets may not be able to provide that type of clarity to free agents. As Vacchiano notes, GM Joe Douglas is currently evaluating the top quarterback prospects and weighing their ability against Darnold’s ability. Unfortunately, Wilson’s Pro Day isn’t until March 26, while Ohio State’s Justin Fields will be holding his Pro Day on March 30. Free agency starts on March 17, and at that point, the Jets could still be weeks away from making their own internal decision about the position.
Thanks to the poor timing, there’s a chance some of the top free agent wideouts skip New York’s hypothetical offer and join a team with a bona fide starting quarterback. There will be more than half a dozen teams that could look to add free agent wideouts, and if top names like Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, or Kenny Golladay get slapped with the franchise tag, that means there will be an even higher demand for second-tier receivers (like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller, and Corey Davis).
On the flip side, the Jets have more financial flexibility than most teams, as they’ll be armed with $90MM heading into the start of free agency. Even if the team has yet to decide on their direction at quarterback by March 17, they could still entice a free agent with a massive overpay.
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