Joe Douglas

Jets Notes: Wilson, OL, Odunze, Hardman

The Jets brought an end to Zach Wilson‘s disappointing New York tenure when they traded their former No. 2 overall selection for a mere pick swap on Day 3 of last month’s draft. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Wilson’s camp was, in the run-up to the 2021 draft, deeply worried about Gang Green’s history of failure to develop young quarterbacks and how that would impact Wilson’s own career, but the BYU product was convinced he would be the player to buck that trend.

Of course, that was not the case, and Wilson will now try to resurrect his career in Denver. Per Cimini, one of the lessons that the Jets learned from the Wilson experience is that, regardless of the round in which they draft a QB in the future, they will want to give that player legitimate competition for his role and, preferably, the opportunity to learn on the sidelines (benefits that were not afforded to Wilson).

GM Joe Douglas also said prior to the 2024 draft that, “I’d love to be a quarterback factory,” referencing the 1990s Packers that selected QBs in the later rounds of a draft, developed them, and flipped them for new draft capital down the road. To that end, the Jets selected Florida State passer Jordan Travis in the fifth round of the 2024 draft. Travis sustained an ankle injury in November that prematurely ended his final collegiate season, though he is expected to be healed by the start of training camp.

Travis will be learning behind newly-signed backup Tyrod Taylor and QB1 Aaron Rodgers, whose success will drive the Jets’ fortunes in 2024. Blocking for that group of passers will be rookie OT Olu Fashanu, whom New York selected with the No. 11 overall pick of the draft. As Cimini details in a separate piece, Fashanu is not expected to start right away thanks to the recent additions of Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses, but since both veterans will be on modified offseason programs, Fashanu will get plenty of reps at both left and right tackle during the spring and summer (Douglas suggested that Fashanu could even get looks on the interior, as Cimini relays).

The Jets did have the No. 10 pick in the 2024 draft, but they traded down one spot and selected Fashanu once Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze went off the board to the Bears, who held the No. 9 selection. That suggests that Odunze was New York’s preferred target, and though Douglas would not confirm as much, Cimini says that the Jets did try to trade up for the former Huskies pass catcher.

The club did eventually land a receiver when it nabbed Western Kentucky talent Malachi Corley in the third round. As Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network writes, some teams viewed Corley as a slot-only option, though the Jets plan to get him some reps outside the numbers as well. The club is clearly high on his ability, with Cimini reporting that Douglas started making calls about a possible trade-up to take Corley when the Packers were on the clock with the No. 45 selection. Ultimately, Douglas got his man with the No. 65 pick. Head coach Robert Saleh concedes that Corley will need to refine his route-running, but he is excited to find creative ways to use him (via Cimini).

Speaking of wide receivers, the Jets never levied tampering charges against the Chiefs for Kansas City’s pursuit of Mecole Hardman, as Cimini reported back in March. Hardman, a second-round pick of the Chiefs in 2019, signed with the Jets in the 2023 offseason. But after Rodgers was lost for the season four snaps into the 2023 opener, the Jets’ offense was in shambles, and Hardman later acknowledged during an appearance on Ryan Clark‘s The Pivot podcast that he begged Chiefs brass to “come get me” (via Cimini).

The Jets traded Hardman back to KC in October, and Douglas admitted that Hardman’s comments to Clark “resonated with us” (meaning, presumably, that the Jets may have considered tampering charges at some point).

Jets Owner Woody Johnson Talks HC/GM Hot Seat, Offensive Struggles, Rodgers

FEBRUARY 9: When speaking to ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, Johnson noted that Saleh will “concentrate” on the team’s offense this season (video link). That is notable given the latter’s background on defense, and the continued presence of much-maligned OC Nathaniel Hackett. Johnson praised defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich as well as New York’s special teams units, doubling down on the team’s abundant need for offensive improvement. It will interesting to see what alterations could be made with Saleh committing more time and attention to that side of the ball.

FEBRUARY 8: Following their offseason acquisition of Aaron Rodgers, the Jets had high hopes heading into the 2023 campaign. Those hopes were dashed when Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on his fourth snap. The Jets still managed to finish the season with seven wins, but a five-game midseason losing streak revealed some major cracks in the foundation.

While owner Woody Johnson gave both head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas a vote of endorsement following the 2023 season, the duo won’t be completely excused for the team’s underwhelming performance. While speaking with reporters during tonight’s NFL Honors, Johnson seemed to hint that the HC/GM duo will be on the hot seat heading into the 2024 campaign.

“They’ve seen me about as mad as I could be with what was going on with the offense particularly,” Johnson said (via Adam H. Beasley of “We’ve got all this talent and we’ve got to deploy talent properly. So I think they all got the message.

“This is it, this is the time to go. We’ve got to produce this year, we have to produce this year.”

The Jets are 16-32 under Saleh, and the organization has gone 25-55 with Douglas leading the front office. While Johnson admitted that he’s not a “playoff mandate (guy),” he is counting on his coach and GM to improve on their seven-win campaign (via Costello).

During his conversation with reporters, Johnson seemed to express specific disappointment in the offense in 2023. He even took a clear shot at former second-overall pick Zach Wilson, stating that the team needs a backup quarterback since they “didn’t have one last year” (via Brian Costello of the New York Post). Johnson also pointed to the offensive line when asked about the team’s overall plan for success in 2024.

“We need to keep the quarterback vertical,” Johnson said (via Beasley). “It’s really all about the offense. For the last five years, it’s been about the offense. The offense has to score, keep the defense off the field.

“Defense is good, but we got, I think we were developing a really good plan for free agency and the draft, coaching trying to get the offense, so we have a balance, more of a balance, a balance on offense. We run the ball better in the red zone. A change in our practice schedule? We’re looking at everything. So we know we know what we can’t do, so now we got to do it.”

The owner also made it clear that he’s counting on Rodgers to return to top form. When asked if the Jets could close the gap between themselves and the top of the division, Johnson pointed directly at his veteran QB.

“Yeah. I think we can close it with Aaron Rodgers, yeah for sure,” he said (via Beasley). “We’ve got a very good defense. If we can do anything on offense. I mean, we won games without scoring a touchdown. That’s absolutely incredible.”

Community Tailgate: Jets’ Future

After Aaron Rodgers spent months attempting to come back from an Achilles tear earlier than anyone before him, the lofty goal of returning this season proved unreachable. The Jets activated their preferred starter from IR, and while Rodgers can keep practicing to close out the season, his next game opportunity will come in 2024.

Rodgers said following his darkness-retreat excursion this winter he was “90% retired,” but the future Hall of Fame quarterback has changed his tune since joining the Jets. Turning 40 earlier this month, Rodgers now hopes to play two more seasons. Having planned a two-year run with the Jets, the four-time MVP is planning to start that clock in 2024 — after this lost season ended four plays in. The Jets’ outlook changed at that point as well.

Pivoting back to Zach Wilson, the Jets saw their season resemble a 2022 campaign that became defined by a losing streak. The Jets tumbled out of playoff contention, partially contributing to the call to shut down Rodgers, and have now started four quarterbacks in at least two games. The team’s playoff drought doubles the longest current regular-season-only streak in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL.

Robert Saleh will soon become the rare coach to receive a fourth season after starting his tenure with three consecutive sub-.500 showings, with Woody Johnson confirming he and fifth-year GM Joe Douglas will be given a mulligan and return in 2024. With Rodgers given significant say in organizational decisions, his recent endorsement — and rumors leading up to it — pointed to Johnson sticking with the embattled HC-GM duo. While Johnson did not mention OC Nathaniel Hackett last week, Rodgers being a long-running supporter of the struggling coordinator — after a three-year Packers partnership — looks to count for the most at this point.

Saleh still will be joining a select few in being retained after three consecutive sub-.500 seasons. Not counting interim coaches, 152 HCs have been hired since 2000. Only five have managed to last into Year 4 without a .500 season in their first three years. Here is that short list:

  • Dom Capers, Houston Texans (2002-05)
  • Mike Nolan, San Francisco 49ers (2005-08)
  • Jeff Fisher, St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams (2012-16)
  • Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-16)
  • Jon Gruden, Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2018-21)

Even going back to the start of the free agency era in 1993, which seems like a decent line of demarcation for modern hiring practices, only one other HC qualifies for this exclusive club. The Bengals gave ex-Jets HC Bruce Coslet a fourth season in charge in 2000, but his three straight losing slates came after a 7-2 mark as a 1996 interim hire. No other coaches hired from 1993-99 meet the criteria, putting Saleh (and the Falcons’ Arthur Smith, should the 7-8 Falcons lose once more and he survives) in rare territory.

For all the Wilson drama to take place during Saleh’s tenure, the former 49ers DC has turned around the Jets’ defense. The team ranked last nearly across the board on that side of the ball in Saleh’s first year. By 2022, the unit had rocketed to fourth place in scoring and total defense. This season’s group has not been quite as good, sitting 16th in points allowed and seventh in total defense (but third in DVOA entering Week 17). Saleh’s defensive chops and Douglas’ ability to provide sufficient pieces — though, predecessor Mike Maccagnan brought in top front-seven pieces C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams — have been on display over the past two seasons.

Still, this year has brought a new chapter of Jets drama. Rodgers’ weekly spot on the Pat McAfee Show featured countless updates on a rehab effort that fell short, with the future Hall of Famer’s comments continually forcing Saleh to address various remarks. Rodgers also criticized the team’s culture after The Athletic’s report that indicated Wilson was hesitant to reclaim the starting role. Saleh pushed back on Rodgers’ criticism but also said he always believed Wilson was the team’s best QB option, even as he turned to the since-cut Tim Boyle for two games.

Wilson’s presence has largely defined Saleh’s tenure. The bust-in-progress is 12-21 as a starter and has been benched regularly since November 2022. The Jets handing the former No. 2 overall pick the backup job, while attempting an unusual redevelopment effort, turned out to be a mistake. But the team compounded the error by refusing to bring in a quarterback capable of unseating Wilson once Rodgers went down. Months later, the Jets rank last in offensive DVOA.

A September report pegged ownership as being behind the failure to seek a true Wilson upgrade, which led to the Trevor Siemian practice squad addition. Another report indicated the Jets did not want to add a starter-caliber veteran due to the effect it would have on Wilson. While Wilson is not expected to be part of the 2024 Jets, his three-season tenure — one Douglas greenlit despite the BYU alum’s unusual prospect profile — has been a low point in franchise history.

After another round of ongoing drama and offensive woes, the Jets will bank on a 40-year-old Rodgers bailing them out on the heels of the most significant injury of his career. Considering the ex-Packers (Hackett included) the team brought in this year, it should again be expected Rodgers will have significant personnel sway. Will that be a wise move for the Jets? Weigh in with your thoughts on Jets ownership’s decision to retain its current setup in PFR’s latest Community Tailgate.

Jets Owner: Robert Saleh, Joe Douglas To Stay For 2024 Season

Rumored to be staying despite overseeing nothing but sub-.500 seasons, the Joe DouglasRobert Saleh tandem will officially be brought back for the 2024 season. Jets owner Woody Johnson confirmed it Sunday.

Johnson, who was finishing up his U.S. ambassadorial tenure when the pair was hired, will sign off on the reported plan to give the power brokers a mulligan after the Aaron Rodgers Week 1 Achilles tear doomed the Jets’ season. Douglas has been on the job since 2019, Saleh since 2021.

My decision is to keep them,” Johnson said, via the New York Post’s Brian Costello. “I think we’ve had some very positive moves. The culture of the team is a lot better. The defense is better. The offense needs a few pieces. … Like I said a year ago, we need a quarterback. We had a quarterback for four plays. Since then we haven’t been able to replace him. If we have a good quarterback, it makes everybody’s job easier. It makes the line better, the receivers better.”

The Jets are 16-32 under Saleh, who will join only a handful of 21st-century coaches in being retained despite beginning his HC run with three straight sub-.500 seasons. The team is a ghastly 25-55 under Douglas, who took over ahead of Adam Gase‘s first season. It is safe to say the Saleh-Douglas duo will be on some of the hottest seats in recent NFL history next season, but Johnson will allow them to stay in charge after the Rodgers acquisition produced a mere four plays of work this year.

This will not go over well with many Jets fans, seeing as the team has collapsed in back-to-back years. But Saleh did execute a defensive turnaround. The team ranked last in both scoring defense and total yardage in 2021; it finished fourth in both categories last season. This year, Saleh’s unit rank 11th in points allowed and seventh in total defense. Quinnen Williams and Sauce Gardner have emerged as long-term cornerstones, while veteran C.J. Mosley has stabilized his career under Saleh. Complementary pieces have emerged as well, but the 2024 mandate will clearly be on offense, where the team is finishing off one of the worst seasons in modern NFL annals.

New York’s numbers on offense are down from even 2022, when the Zach Wilson train careened off track. The Jets have scored an NFL-worst 13 touchdowns on offense this season. They rank last in total offense and DVOA on that side of the ball, with Wilson — via the team’s shortsighted plan to leave the former No. 2 overall pick as the unquestioned backup entering the season and its refusal to acquire a better option once Rodgers went down in September — leading the charge toward another woeful campaign. Wilson is expected to be elsewhere in 2024, but the Jets’ lead power brokers will be allowed to pick up the pieces around Rodgers.

Considering Rodgers’ endorsements of Saleh and Douglas this week, that seemed to entrench the duo for the ’24 season. Johnson did not, however, mention OC Nathaniel Hackett on Sunday. That could be telling, and Hackett has submitted one of the worst two-year runs in NFL history.

After leading the way in the Broncos’ offense plunging to the NFL basement last season, Hackett has followed that up with comparably awful Jets offense. Denver ranked last in scoring in 2022, leading to Hackett’s firing after just 15 games, tanking the play-caller’s stock after a successful Green Bay run (as a non-play-calling OC). But Rodgers has long backed Hackett. The four-time MVP’s support for Hackett this week will likely lead to the veteran coach sticking around as well. Indeed,’s Ian Rapoport adds Hackett is expected to come back for the 2024 season.

Look no further than Johnson’s comments on Rodgers’ presence as an indication the QB will get his wish for OC continuity. Rodgers has been practicing with the team for nearly three weeks, doing so despite undergoing Achilles surgery in September. Rodgers’ much-discussed comeback will fall just short, but the Jets activated him from IR and are pleased with the impact he has made on the organization even without playing into the second quarter of Week 1.

I think if you see Aaron Rodgers right now and the impact he’s having on the team and what he’s able to do with virtually no practice, it’s amazing,” Johnson said. “He’s in the fourth quarter of the league year and he’s throwing like he’s practiced all year. When he starts practicing and gets the timing with receivers just perfect, I think you’re going to see some amazing things.”

The Jets convinced Rodgers to accept a historic pay cut for the 2024 season, and after he was close to retiring this year, the 19th-year veteran said this week he wants to play through at least the 2025 season. Not counting this year as one of the two seasons he plans to play with the Jets, Rodgers will likely be given a considerable say in how the team addresses some of the Johnson-referenced offensive deficiencies in 2024. After the Jets based 2023 around how Rodgers could transform their operation, Johnson will keep the keys in Douglas and Saleh’s hands to see this plan to fruition.

Jets GM Joe Douglas Expected To Return In 2024

Very little has gone according to plan for the Jets this season, but many of the pieces in place right now will remain for next year. That includes quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as well as, in all likelihood, key members of the coaching staff.

A report from last week indicated Jets owner Woody Johnson was content with head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. As a result, the expectation remains that (at Rodgers’ behest, in part) both Saleh and Hackett will be in place at the start of the 2024 season. The same can be said of general manager Joe Douglas.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports there are no signs Johnson is looking to replace Douglas, putting him on track to remain in place just like the Saleh-Hackett pairing. Douglas has been in place since 2019 with New York in his first general manager role. Prior to joining the Jets, he had a long tenure as a Ravens scout before working with the Bears and Eagles.

During Douglas’ reign, the Jets’ playoff drought has extended to 13 seasons, although that is due in part to a sustained rebuilding effort. The 2022 draft (which produced Sauce Gardner, Garrett WilsonJermaine Johnson and Breece Hall) has been celebrated as a strong class which will give the team foundational players on both sides of the ball for years to come. Misses in the draft have been present as well, though, of course.

The potentially franchise-altering decision to trade for Rodgers was borne in large part out of the inability of Zach Wilson to develop into a starter. The 2021 second overall pick has been benched multiple times, failing to find consistency after being forced back into the No. 1 role following Rodgers’ Week 1 Achilles tear. The latter will not play again this year, but he intends to return for at least one more season.

Hoping for better injury luck at the quarterback spot and offensive line in particular, the Jets are poised to run it back with the current decision-making core. Douglas – who has received criticism for the team’s lack of a proven backup signal-caller and depth up front, especially ahead of Rodgers’ debut season in New York – will remain a key member of that group, having been publicly endorsed by Rodgers and given a tacit seal of approval from Johnson.

Aaron Rodgers Expects To Play Beyond 2024

The Jets have one more day to activate Aaron Rodgers from injured reserve. With the team officially out of playoff contention and Rodgers having torn an Achilles tendon barely three months ago, a comeback always seemed unrealistic.

After multiple reports placed the future Hall of Famer returning this season as unlikely, Rodgers confirmed he does not expect medical clearance this season. Rodgers said during his latest Pat McAfee Show appearance he would still be pushing the Jets to play had he been 100% (h/t’s Ian Rapoport), but even after the speed-bridge surgery he underwent, the 40-year-old passer does not view himself as fully healthy.

That said, the Jets can still expect the recent trade acquisition to be back in 2024. Not only does Rodgers — who was close to retirement before the trade — expect to be back next season, the 19th-year veteran said he does not anticipate the ’24 campaign being his last. Rodgers hinted at playing beyond his 20th season this summer, but he had taken a year-to-year approach in his final seasons with the Packers.

Rodgers reaffirmed Tuesday he wanted to play two seasons with the Jets. One of those seasons would officially be in the books once the ex-Packers great reverts to season-ending IR on Wednesday, but he now views 2023 as a lost season (via Cimini) that will not count in this evolving equation. Hence Rodgers now wanting to play through the 2025 slate.

More pertinent for the Jets’ plans regarding their power structure, Rodgers said he believes in the Joe DouglasRobert SalehNathaniel Hackett trio. Referring to Saleh as a “fantastic” coach (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini), Rodgers has delivered what is expected to be a pivotal endorsement of a leader who will finish with a third straight sub-.500 season in New York. Jets ownership, however, has been viewed as being fine with writing off this season due to Rodgers’ injury and giving Saleh another shot.

Rodgers’ proclamations could represent great news for a coaching staff that has been unable to generate consistency — particularly on offense, where the Jets have submitted a historically woeful effort — following their quarterback’s season-defining injury. Not many modern-era HCs have been given a chance to return after starting a tenure 0-for-3 in winning seasons, but it is looking like the Jets will lean on Rodgers’ views here and stay the course. Saleh and Douglas would certainly enter the 2024 season on hot seats, while Hackett will be coming off two dreadful seasons as a primary play-caller. But the superstar QB’s injury is pointing to a mulligan.

In reworking Rodgers’ contract this offseason, the Jets convinced the four-time MVP to take a pay cut. Rodgers agreed to an unprecedented reduction in guaranteed money — from nearly $110MM to $75MM — through the 2024 season, and his ’23 campaign ended abruptly. No guaranteed money remains on this adjusted contract in 2025, but Rodgers is due a $35MM option bonus at that point. While the Jets will want to see how their high-profile pickup performs in 2024 after this late-career injury, their run of QB issues would not exactly point to nixing a Rodgers 2025 return.

One of the players to have rejoined Rodgers after a Green Bay stay, Allen Lazard said recently (via Cimini) Zach Wilson looks to understand he only has a few weeks left with the team. The Jets have been considered likely to separate from the disappointing No. 2 overall pick in 2024, but despite a number of benchings over the past two years, the team is hoping Rodgers’ backup can start the rest of this season. The Jets would take on an $11MM-plus dead-money hit by moving Wilson off the roster in 2024, but given his role in this disastrous season, it certainly looks like the team is finally ready to cut bait. Wilson presently resides in concussion protocol, but Saleh confirmed he will start in Week 16 if cleared.

Wilson appears to be on his way out of New York, but Rodgers endorsing the team’s GM-HC-OC trio may well lead to it remaining in place. Hackett will be attempting to come off one of the modern NFL’s worst HC stays (in Denver last year), though Rodgers has long endorsed the former Packers non-play-calling OC. Douglas is now the GM overseeing the longest active playoff drought in major North American sports. Douglas was obviously not in town for the Jets’ entire drought, but he has been in place since 2019.

Jets Aiming For Zach Wilson To Start For Rest Of Season; Latest On Team’s Coaching Staff

The Jets’ latest round of quarterback adventures will feature Zach Wilson reinstalled as the starter. Robert Saleh called the former No. 2 overall pick the best option the team has, and the third-year coach indicated he had always viewed Wilson as the most talented healthy QB on the team despite demoting him for a third time last month.

This marks the second Wilson re-emergence after a benching. The Jets demoted the BYU alum from starter to third-stringer in November 2022, but after leapfrogging Joe Flacco for the QB2 role weeks later, Wilson regained the gig following Mike White‘s rib injury. The Jets will dispense with a Wilson incremental depth chart climb, moving him from QB3 to QB1 in Week 14. Last week’s QB1 (Tim Boyle) being off the team makes that jump a bit easier. Trevor Siemian and ex-Nathaniel Hackett Broncos charge Brett Rypien are now on the roster, with Rypien guaranteed to stay for at least three weeks due to the Jets poaching him off the Rams’ practice squad.

Although Aaron Rodgers remains in the IR-return window, the Jets’ preferred starter is not expected to play this season. Saleh did not rule out Rodgers, who has linked a return to the Jets’ chances at a playoff berth, but said Wilson “God willing” will be New York’s starter the rest of the way.

At 4-8, the Jets are all but eliminated from the postseason race. The team has lost five straight, reminding of its close to last season, which involved a six-game skid to wrap the slate. The rumor about Wilson being reluctant to start again may have come from the embattled QB asking at least one teammate for advice on how to handle the team’s final few games, Rich Cimini of notes. Wilson said The Athletic’s report depicting reluctance to return as the starter was “absolutely not” accurate.

One more season remains on Wilson’s rookie contract. Even with Wilson costing the Jets $11MM-plus in dead money to waive during the 2024 offseason, Cimini indicates the disappointing passer is unlikely to be part of the ’24 Jets. Given his performance and repeated benchings, it certainly adds up the organization will have had its fill by season’s end. The Jets attempting to redevelop Wilson — by handing him the QB2 job this offseason and then declaring him their unquestioned starter once Rodgers went down — can be scrutinized; assuming Rodgers is back next season, it makes sense for the organization to bring in a more reliable backup for its 40-year-old starter.

Regarding Rodgers’ comments about the Jets’ poor culture leading to the Wilson information leaking, Saleh disagrees with the injured veteran about the Jets having a culture problem, Cimini tweets. It is quite possible the Rodgers-Saleh-Hackett-Joe Douglas quartet will be back next season, with ownership writing this one off as a lost campaign due to Rodgers’ Week 1 Achilles tear. Of course, how much more losing will Woody Johnson tolerate even in these unusual circumstances?

The Jets have scored 10 offensive touchdowns this season, topping the 2006 Raiders and 2011 Rams (11 apiece) for the fewest through 12 games this century. Given Hackett’s disastrous showing as the Broncos’ play-caller last season, his stock has cratered since a three-year run as the Packers’ non-play-calling OC. But a perception around the league has pointed to the Jets taking a mulligan on this season,’s Dan Graziano notes. Rodgers’ influence is also believed to be strong enough he will be able to dictate how the Jets proceed with their staff. Rodgers’ first seven months in New York lend credence to that, which could bode well for the current staff. Saleh is 15-31 leading the Jets.

Johnson was serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom when both Douglas and Saleh were interviewed, and Graziano adds acting owner Christopher Johnson is believed to have overseen the Saleh hire in January 2021. How Wilson and the Jets fare down the stretch could have some sway in terms of which staffers have the opportunity to lead a presumably Rodgers-quarterbacked team in 2024.

Latest On Job Security For Jets HC Robert Saleh, GM Joe Douglas

The Aaron Rodgers injury has threatened to derail what appeared to be a promising season for the Jets. While a poor finish would have consequences on the field, the same would likely be the case on the sidelines and in the front office.

[Poll: Who Will Log Most Jets QB Starts In 2023?]

Dianna Russini of The Athletic reports that owner Woody Johnson “made no guarantees” regarding the futures of head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas before or after the Rodgers injury (subscription required). The latter’s Achilles tear left New York without the accomplished veteran passer the team committed to adding this offseason, something particularly crippling considering the efforts made elsewhere on the coaching staff (with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett) and elsewhere on the roster to cater to the four-time MVP.

In Rodgers’ absence, Zach Wilson has been in place as the starter under center, and his struggles from last year have carried over into 2023. In spite of that, Saleh has remained committed to the former No. 2 pick, something which has not sat well in the Jets’ locker room. The return of Rodgers in time for the team’s primetime Week 4 contest could help in the latter regard, but the big-picture implications of a disappointing season could be notable.

Douglas took over in 2019, and his tenure has seen a multi-year rebuild undertaken after a 7-9 season in his first campaign at the helm. Another seven-win campaign in 2022 showcased the talent outside the QB spot in place for the foreseeable future at a number of positions, making this year’s win-now approach a logical one with Rodgers becoming available. Failing to find a long-term successor to the latter (as appears to currently be the case with Wilson’s shortcomings) could put Douglas on thin ice, though.

Saleh, meanwhile, is in his third season in the Big Apple. Carrying signficant pedigree after his time as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, the 44-year-old faced major expectations on that side of the ball. The Jets improved from last in total and scoring defense to fourth from 2021 to ’22, and a number of young pillars of the unit (including the recently-extended Quinnen Williams and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner) are in place for years to come. Another year of poor play under center – and a resultant underwhelming output from the offense as a whole – though, would lead to sustained criticism of the Hackett hire and the continued backing of Wilson on Saleh’s part.

Plenty can change over the course of the rest of the season, one in which Russini notes the Jets will be forced to adapt a week-by-week gameplan for Wilson rather than relying on the scheme installed this offseason for Rodgers. If things don’t go according to plan in the coming weeks and months, it will be interesting to see how ownership responds with the organization’s top decision-makers.

QB Notes: Jets, Jackson, Commanders

Out of football since the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick continues to pursue a comeback. The exiled quarterback wrote a letter to Jets GM Joe Douglas asking for an opportunity to join the team’s practice squad. The letter, as shared by rapper J. Cole (Instagram link), lays out a number of reasons Kaepernick could assist the Jets while making it clear he would be a Zach Wilson contingency plan. Kaepernick cites his ability to offer the Jets’ defense a look at a mobile QB, referencing the advantage that could provide the unit given the dual-threat starters on the team’s schedule. The letter also includes Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh and Mark Davis being listed as references. While it is unusual to see a document like this surface, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirms it is authentic.

Davis’ team gave the 35-year-old QB a workout last summer, and the former 49ers starter questioned the Raiders preferring Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens — the team’s backups at the time — to him. Even though Kaepernick indicated he still trains five days a week for a potential comeback, the book is almost definitely closed for his return to the NFL. He would have profiled as a more realistic option during the late 2010s, but since the 2019 workout snafu in Atlanta, connections to teams have been sparse. Shortly after Aaron Rodgers‘ injury, Kaepernick’s agent contacted the Jets, and a subsequent report indicated no interest existed on the team’s part. The Jets have since signed Trevor Siemian to their P-squad.

Here is the latest from the QB landscape:

  • Siemian could dress for the Jets as an emergency third QB, provided he is elevated to the active roster ahead of Saturday’s deadline, but Robert Saleh confirmed (via’s Rich Cimini) the journeyman passer will not be active for Week 4. Wilson and Tim Boyle will be the team’s only active QBs for a third straight game. Siemian has made 30 career starts, including one for the Jets (Week 2, 2019), but could not beat out Jake Browning for the Bengals’ backup job during training camp.
  • It took the Ravens nearly 2 1/2 years to extend Lamar Jackson, but when the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts contract surfaced, GM Eric DeCosta made an earnest effort to finish the process. “We had just signed Odell [Beckham Jr.] and the Hurts deal came out. I thought to myself, ‘Why not try again?’” DeCosta said, via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required). “We put some stuff together on paper. There were people who probably weren’t optimistic about our chances. How many players request a trade and then do a long-term deal with their team like a month later? It doesn’t happen very often, but I was optimistic, partly because I know Lamar. I had been with him in Florida. I know what he’s made of and I know what’s important to him.” DeCosta said he had not spoken to Jackson much this offseason, one in which the former MVP requested a trade. The Hurts deal continued to paint the Deshaun Watson fully guaranteed accord as an outlier. Long connected to seeking a fully guaranteed contract, Jackson accepted the Ravens’ offer and signed a five-year, $260MM deal — one that helped shape Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow‘s respective negotiations.
  • Eric Bieniemy going from Patrick Mahomes to a Commanders team planning to go with Sam Howell did not represent a deal-breaker for the five-year Chiefs OC. The new NFC East play-caller joined the Commanders in placing a second-round grade on the North Carolina prospect last year, Albert Breer of notes. A one-time first-round-level prospect prior to a statistical regression as a junior, Howell is off to an uneven start. QBR places the 2022 fifth-rounder 25th through three games, though he has shown some promise early in his QB1 run.

Jets Notes: Rodgers, Stafford, Hall, Cook

The Jets debut of quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the most-anticipated aspects of the Week 1 slate. As we wait for the future Hall-of-Famer to take the field for the first Monday Night Football game of the season, here are a few Gang Green-related items:

  • Speaking of Rodgers, his voluntary $35MM pay cut has allowed the Jets to enter the 2023 season with over $20MM in cap space, according to Rich Cimini of GM Joe Douglas confirmed to reporters, including Cimini, that Rodgers agreed to the reduction in pay with the tacit understanding that the funds will be used to supplement the roster. “It’s almost like an unspoken thing,” Douglas said. “You know if you’re doing this, there’s a reason why he’s doing this. So it’s going to give us great flexibility moving forward.” 
  • Before it became clear that Rodgers would continue his playing career, the Jets inquired on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, as Ian Rapoport of reports. Los Angeles, however, insisted that it was not trading Stafford, so the conversations did not gain much traction. We recently heard that the Rams made a concerted effort to deal Stafford before they were required to pick up his 2023 option bonus and 2024 salary this offseason, but team brass subsquently said that while other clubs asked about the veteran passer, the Rams were not actively shopping him.
  • Both of the Jets’ top RBs, Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook, will play against the Bills on Monday night, though the team will be “prudent with their usage” (Twitter link via Cimini). Hall, of course, saw his promising rookie campaign cut short by an ACL tear last October, and Cook was just acquired less than a month ago. As the season goes on, the club will rely heavily on both players to support its Rodgers-led passing attack.
  • Some of the money freed up by Rodgers’ aforementioned largesse could go towards more receiving talent for the QB; Bucs’ WR Mike Evans has been floated as a possible trade target, and the Jets recently worked out free agent receiver Kenny Golladay.