The Jets will head into a third straight game with a Zach Wilson–Tim Boyle QB depth chart, with practice squad addition Trevor Siemian not on track to be elevated in time for New York’s matchup against Kansas City. For the foreseeable future, Siemian looks to be it regarding Jets QB additions.
Although Siemian does not profile as a player who will be an open-and-shut upgrade on Wilson, he represents the organization’s move. In the wake of Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, the Jets did not want to bring in a starter-caliber quarterback like Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan due to the quarterback controversy such a move would have incited, per the New York Post’s Brian Costello. Instead, the Jets wanted to give Wilson the best chance to succeed. Robert Saleh‘s endorsements are in line with that plan.
So far, Wilson has not shown notable improvement, despite the Jets’ party line depicting offseason progress from the former No. 2 overall pick. The Jets’ inaction regarding a surefire upgrade effort also stems from finances, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who said during an appearance on Fox Sports’ Undisputed the team already devoting a substantial amount of cash to its QB spot — via the Rodgers trade — has impacted its willingness to chase another passer. Both Wentz and Ryan reached out to the team, with Costello adding Ryan indeed did so (despite the ex-Falcons and Colts starter denying he wants to step away from his CBS announcing gig).
Only the Browns and Ravens have outspent the Jets in terms of 2023 cash, with Gang Green at nearly $277MM. In terms of cap space, the Jets hold just more than $8MM, which ranks 11th in the NFL. The directive aimed at instructing the Jets to make do with that they have at quarterback came from the top down, Anderson adds.
While Woody Johnson confirmed a willingness to spend for a veteran upgrade this offseason, it looks like — for the time being, at least — the Jets will not double down on the position after acquiring Rodgers. The Jets prefer to use their practice squad as the gateway to a QB addition, Anderson notes. This would mean a Siemian elevation or eventual promotion to the active roster.
Names like Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill have circulated as potential Jets options. Cousins, who would cost the Vikings $10MM in dead money to move, has a no-trade clause. The Titans did not touch Tannehill’s base salary this offseason. With that number sitting at $27MM, the Jets would need to make considerable cap adjustments or push the Titans to eat a portion of his contract. Wentz remains unattached. Despite coming into the league via an Eagles trade-up to No. 2 overall, a move Philadelphia made when current Jets GM Joe Douglas was part of its front office, no traction has emerged regarding the now-well-traveled QB being signed.
Siemian spoke with the Jets shortly after Rodgers went down, and while the team opted to stand pat at quarterback through Week 3, Costello adds Siemian reached out again this week to see if they were still interested. The former seventh-round pick, who went into the 2019 season as Sam Darnold‘s Jets backup, is now 31 and has been with seven teams — if his Cincinnati offseason stay is counted. Siemian has made 30 career starts but has been a backup since the Broncos traded him to the Vikings in 2018.
Siemian joined Chad Henne, Colt McCoy and Brett Rypien as players the Jets contacted. Interest was not mutual regarding some of the players the Jets contacted, Anderson adds. The Jets inquired about signing Rypien off the Rams’ practice squad, a move that would have vaulted the ex-Broncos backup to the Jets’ active roster for at least three weeks, but Los Angeles instead promoted him to its 53-man unit.
With Wilson-driven locker-room frustration again surfacing, it will be interesting to see if the Jets change their low-cost approach to QB staffing in this emergency circumstance. The team had mostly relied on rookie-contract QBs since the Brett Favre move 15 years ago, prompting the Rodgers swing. With Wilson’s QBR ahead of only Justin Fields‘ number, the Jets are paying for not acquiring a veteran backup and instead keeping Wilson in that role this offseason. The team’s Week 7 bye might be the point a reassessment occurs.