Mike White‘s feel-good 2021 season lasted about five quarters. The fourth-year quarterback led the Jets to an upset of the Bengals in relief of the injured Zach Wilson in Week 8 and then played well in the early stages of the club’s Week 9 loss to the Colts before being forced out with an injury. But his four-interception showing against the Bills last week forced HC Robert Saleh to turn the reins over to veteran Joe Flacco for today’s game against the Dolphins.
The move still qualified as something of a surprise, as New York is not competing for a playoff spot and arguably should have tried to see if White could rebound from his poor outing. The good news for White, as Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says, is that he is still in the Jets’ plans and that the team will tender him as a restricted free agent this offseason.
Cimini recently said that was the expectation, though after the disappointing Bills game and with Wilson slated to return soon — Cimini adds that Wilson has a good chance to suit up for next week’s bout with the Texans — the Jets’ potential last look at White in game action in 2021 might have put his future with the team in jeopardy. It does not sound like that is the case, however, and Cimini writes that the Jets expect White to draw interest from other clubs, which could prompt Gang Green to hand him the second-round tender worth $3.9MM (the original-round tender checks in at $2.4MM).
In related news, the Jets’ top decision-makers are not alarmed by the team’s seven losses in nine games, a number of which have been blowouts. Aside from his election to start Flacco over White, Saleh has adhered to the plan of getting as much playing time for young contributors as possible, and as Cimini observes, the Jets are on pace to give 9,000 snaps to their first- and second-year players. Of the 19 teams to hit that threshold from 2017-19, 13 realized an increase in their win total the following season (with an average of 3.8 more victories).
Of course, GM Joe Douglas will need to nail the 2022 draft — in which he is slated to have nine picks — but the organization expects to return to competitiveness no later than 2023.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.