Mike White

Dolphins Name Mike White Backup QB; DeShon Elliott To Start At S

When Mike White was signed to a two-year deal including $4.5MM in guaranteed money, it seemed inevitable he would start the season as the Dolphins’ backup quarterback. After a noteworthy training camp competition, the veteran has indeed landed the QB2 gig.

Head coach Mike McDaniel indicated (via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald) that White won out the backup spot over 2022 seventh-rounder Skylar Thompson. The latter had impressed during training camp to the point where he was believed to have a lead on White at one point. In the end, though, Miami has elected to go with the more experienced option, one who acquired with a larger financial investment than the team expected to make with respect to Tua Tagovailoa insurance policies.

The former No. 5 pick’s injury history has made the backup and third-string QB spots ones worth plenty of attention as his long-term future with the team remains uncertain. White, who took over from Zach Wilson as the Jets’ starter last season and dealt with a rib injury through much of the campaign, did enough to convince the Dolphins to let Teddy Bridgewater depart in free agency. Thompson started Miami’s playoff loss to the Bills in his rookie season, though, and he did enough in the summer to maintain a roster spot.

“This was a difficult one,” McDaniel said of the decision, via Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network“We learned the hard way that you need available players on a roster just in general, and I thought Mike White and Skylar competed all the way until the last rep. And when it really came down to it, I thought they both made just cases.”

McDaniel added that White’s experience helped him edge out the gig over Thompson, who will be eligible to dress as the team’s emergency third QB this season without counting toward the gameday roster. Both passers put up less-than-stellar numbers in the preseason, though, so changes to the pecking order could take place as the campaign progresses.

In other Dolphins lineup news, safety DeShon Elliott will begin the campaign as a starter, Jackson notes. The 26-year-old has started 35 of his 42 career games, split between the Ravens and Lions. Elliott has battled numerous injuries in his career, something which limited his market in free agency. Attached to a one-year, $1.77MM Dolphins pact, the former sixth-rounder will see time alongside Jevon Holland on the backend of a Miami defense expected to take a step forward in 2023. Play in the secondary will go a long way in determining the unit’s success, and Elliott could earn himself a more lucrative deal next offseason with a healthy and productive season.

Dolphins Notes: QB, Gaskin, Berrios, LG

In most cases, the Dolphins aren’t utilizing camp position battles to determine starting roles. But as the deadline to cut the roster down to 53 players draws nearer and nearer, decisions have to be made throughout the roster. Here’s a look at who’s battling for a roster spot as the preseason continues, thanks to some helpful analysis from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

  • At quarterback, the starter is set, but the backup job may be closer than you’d think. Miami signed quarterback Mike White in the first hour of free agency, making it seem like they were dead set on him taking over at QB2. Last year’s backup, Skylar Thompson, doesn’t seem willing to go down without a fight, though, making the battle more competitive than some would assume. White is the presumed winner of this position battle, but if Thompson has a stellar preseason, he has a chance to surprise.
  • After failing to sign free agent running back Dalvin Cook, the room is shaping up to hold Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and third-round rookie De’Von Achane, at the very least. If the team is going to open up a fourth roster spot for the position, it’s likely that one of Myles Gaskin or Salvon Ahmed will fill the role while the other will be on the chopping block, if not both. The Dolphins will have to determine if a fourth running back will help the team, and if not, Gaskin or Ahmed’s time in South Beach may be over.
  • Behind the team’s top two wideouts, there are a number of options to plug in. According to Jackson, AFC East mainstay Braxton Berrios seems to be taking direction from wide receivers coach Wes Welker well, giving him an edge on the depth chart. He’s competing with Cedrick Wilson, Erik Ezukanma, and Chosen Anderson for the WR3 role, and seems to have a handle on it. Anderson has been making up for a slow start to camp lately but may need to compete with River Cracraft if the team only decides to keep six wide receivers.
  • At tight end, the battle for the third tight spot poses the most intrigue, assuming the team only takes three tight ends. The starter, Durham Smythe, and the rookie, Elijah Higgins, are likely to make the roster, leaving backups Eric Saubert and Tyler Kroft fighting for what is likely going to be the final roster spot at the position. Neither is much of a factor in the passing game, so whoever shows the best blocking ability throughout the rest of camp may be rewarded the short-term job security.
  • The biggest battle on the line is the battle for the starting left guard spot. Liam Eichenberg and Isaiah Wynn appear to be in a dead heat for the job, according to Jackson. Wynn has more NFL starting experience, but Eichenberg is more familiar with the franchise. Aside from that, the other big battle is for the swing tackle role. Veteran and former starter Kendall Lamm reportedly has established a lead over Cedric Ogbuehi for the job. Seventh-round rookie Ryan Hayes could also contribute to the team depth at the position if he makes the roster.

AFC East Notes: Becton, Diggs, Dolphins

His place as one of the NFL’s most injury-prone players notwithstanding, Mekhi Becton made some pointed comments when insisting he was a left tackle in May. This forced Robert Saleh to address said comments. Several weeks after predicting he would return to his former spot and win the job, the fourth-year blocker now said (via the New York Post’s Brian Costello) he would be fine playing right tackle again. Becton, who has missed 33 straight regular-season games, said he underwent the wrong surgery to repair his September 2021 knee injury. He indicated he was not fully healed when he went down again, shortly after being moved to right tackle, during the Jets’ 2022 training camp. Becton, who missed time during this year’s camp with more knee trouble, has returned to the field and is expected to play in a limited role in Thursday’s preseason opener, Saleh said.

Duane Brown, 37, has been viewed as the favorite to win the Jets’ left tackle position. But the 16th-year veteran, who underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, remains on the team’s active/PUP list. Billy Turner had received first-team left tackle reps in front of Becton earlier in camp, though the ex-Packers and Broncos right tackle has also been working on the right side with Max Mitchell.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Bills have made a concerted effort to put Stefon Diggs questions in their rearview mirror. The Pro Bowl wide receiver said he is not angling for more say in the team’s play-calling. “For me to just want more say in the offense, it’s crazy because I play receiver,” Diggs said recently. “I don’t care what play is called. I can’t get up there and say, ‘Call this.’ It’s a lot of outlandish, obvious things where people [are] throwing out there or people were saying as far as my role.” A report suggested Diggs was unhappy with his role in Buffalo’s offense. Although Diggs did not say what caused Sean McDermott to send him home from a minicamp day, the ninth-year veteran has since said he was never at odds with Josh Allen and said he and the Bills are on good terms. Diggs’ $24MM-per-year contract runs through 2026.
  • Although it would seem Mike White had a virtual guarantee to become the Dolphins‘ backup quarterback, he entered camp in a battle with 2022 third-stringer Skylar Thompson for the gig. White signed a two-year, $8MM deal ($4.5MM guaranteed) in March, and the Dolphins were believed to be enamored with the ex-Jet as Tua Tagovailoa insurance. Thompson has extended a promising offseason into training camp, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, who adds last year’s QB3-turned-emergency starter is being given a legitimate opportunity to become the backup. Considering Tagovailoa’s injury history, Miami’s QB2 post stands as one of the league’s most important reserve spots.
  • Daron Payne, Jeffery Simmons, Dexter Lawrence and Quinnen Williams have signed long-term deals this offseason, creating a fairly set price range for the Dolphins as they negotiate a Christian Wilkins extension. While the team wants to extend the fifth-year D-tackle and is optimistic on doing so, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes no significant momentum has developed in these talks. Wilkins is tied to a $10.75MM fifth-year option salary. The sides have been talking for months.
  • Dolphins target Cedrick Wilson Jr. has been connected to trade rumors. Multiple reports indicated the team was willing to part with Wilson, who signed a three-year deal worth $22.1MM in March 2022. Dolphins GM Chris Grier said the team is not shopping Wilson, despite reports to the contrary, and the sixth-year receiver said (via Jackson) he is not seeking a trade. Wilson’s $5MM guarantee for 2023 will complicate a trade; the Dolphins would save $7MM by moving him. Wilson did not live up to his contract last year, totaling 136 receiving yards in 15 games. While Trent Sherfield is no longer in the mix, the Dolphins have added Chosen Anderson and Braxton Berrios this offseason.

QB Notes: Hooker, Dolphins, Watson, Draft

The Lions added one of the draft’s most talked-about quarterbacks in Hendon Hooker. The third-rounder is rehabbing the ACL tear which ended his college career, and 2023 is not expected to see him on the field much, if at all.

Hooker has been making progress in his recovery, however, and he indicated last month that he is ahead of schedule. Detroit has no need to rush the Tennessee alum, with veteran Jared Goff in place and high expectations for the offense as a whole after last year’s performance. Hooker remains on a positive track to be available at some point during the year.

The 25-year-old said that he is “progressing very well,” via Cora Hall of the Knoxville News Sentinel. The Lions are not thought to be seeking an addition to their QB room, pointing further to Hooker being available if need be, perhaps as early as the fall. His recovery will be worth watching during training camp and the preseason.

Here are some other quarterback-related notes:

  • Plenty of attention will be focused on the pivot position during the season for the Dolphins, given the health uncertainty surrounding Tua Tagovailoa. The backup spot is up for grabs this summer, with 2022 second-rounder Skylar Thompson and free agent signing Mike White vying for the QB2 role. The former “appears to have the early lead” in the competition, per Adam Beasley of Pro Football Network. Thompson made two starts to close out the regular season, and was in place for the team’s narrow playoff loss to the Bills. Moving on from veteran Teddy Bridgewater, Miami inked White to a two-year, $8MM deal. That investment was larger than the team anticipated they would make, and it is noteworthy White could be third in the pecking order heading into training camp. Beasley notes that the Dolphins’ Week 1 backup may not yet be on the current roster, and Bridgewater is one of a few veterans still on the open market.
  • Deshaun Watson‘s 11-game suspension made his debut Browns campaign a shortened one, and his brief stint at the end of the season was far from the Pro Bowl level of production he has demonstrated earlier in his career. During his first full offseason in Cleveland, though, the returns have been impressive. Watson drew positive reviews for his work in the spring in addressing the issues most prevalent in his 2022 play, as noted by Pro Football Network’s Adam Caplan. A step forward from the 27-year-old – along with the Browns’ re-tooled receiver room – would go a long way in helping Cleveland return to the postseason and justifying the team’s enormous investment (in both trade capital and finances) in him.
  • The 2024 draft class is headlined by a few highly-touted passers, and it comes as no surprise that USC’s Caleb Williams and North Carolina’s Drake Maye are receiving the most attention at the top of the board. The pair are thought to be in a QB tier of their own entering the college season, as detailed by Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. Williams won the Heisman trophy in 2022 and has drawn comparisons to Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Trevor Lawrence with respect to how he is rated as an NFL prospect. Maye, meanwhile, finds himself behind Williams in summer rankings, but trainer Jordan Palmer (one of the evaluators with whom Breer discussed the top QB prospects) stated that he would be the No. 1 option at the position in most drafts. Wideout Marvin Harrison Jr. has been named as a possible contender for the top pick in April, but Williams and Maye likely represent the favorites for that distinction heading into the fall.

AFC East Notes: Floyd, Patriots, Dolphins

Over the past two offseasons, the Bills have added both the Super Bowl LVI-winning Rams’ top edge rushers. Leonard Floyd‘s deal did not move close to the Von Miller ballpark, with the Bills guaranteeing the younger defensive end $7MM. The incentives that could bump Floyd’s deal to $9MM are now known as well. They are each sack-based. Floyd can earn $500K bumps by reaching the eight- and 10-sack plateaus, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. If Floyd registers 12 sacks — which would be a career-high total — he can add $1MM to his base pay. Over the past three seasons, Floyd has hit the first benchmark three times (9.5 sacks in 2021, nine in ’22) and the second threshold once (10.5 sacks in 2020). The Bills tacked on three void years to the deal to keep Floyd’s cap number at $2.6MM.

The Bills began talking to Floyd just before the draft, per GM Brandon Beane, who adds (via the Buffalo News’ Katherine Fitzgerald) Miller led the way in recruiting the former top-10 pick. Floyd turned down at least one more lucrative offer to join Miller and Gregory Rousseau in Buffalo. With Miller now aiming to return in Week 1 after rehabbing an ACL tear, the Floyd addition becomes more interesting given the pair’s production together in Los Angeles.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Although Bill O’Brien‘s Patriots past undoubtedly helped him take over as offensive coordinator, but the former Texans HC is using concepts from his most recent gig as he installs his offense. O’Brien is adding pieces from the Alabama offense he ran, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes (subscription required). This stands to be good news for Mac Jones, who starred at Alabama in 2020. While Tua Tagovailoa‘s Crimson Tide successor did not play for O’Brien in college, he helped the incoming Alabama OC with the playbook on his way out in 2021. Considering Jones’ issues with the Patriots’ Matt Patricia– and Joe Judge-run offense in 2022, O’Brien’s arrival is shaping up as a significant step forward. Jones looks far more comfortable thus far in O’Brien’s offense, Howe adds.
  • A period during the Patriots’ recent OTA sessions may shed some early light on Mike Gesicki‘s New England role. With other tight ends staying on one field to work an inside-run drill, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes Gesicki was working with the Pats’ wide receivers on another field. Gesicki is not known for his run-blocking ability, which became an issue in Mike McDaniel‘s Miami offense last season, but he has long been a proven pass catcher. Lining up as a receiver will not be foreign to Gesicki, though it is still a bit early to determine the five-year Dolphin’s true role with his new team.
  • The Dolphins initially came into the offseason with a goal not to devote much money to their backup quarterback spot, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes they became “smitten” with Mike White. Miami added White early during the legal tampering period, giving the ex-Jets starter a two-year, $8MM deal ($4.5MM guaranteed). It is interesting the Dolphins would have considered skimping at QB2, considering how Tagovailoa’s injury trouble hijacked their promising 2022 season. But White (seven starts from 2021-22) is now in Teddy Bridgewater‘s former role. White, however, has also dealt with multiple injuries over the past two years. Skylar Thompson and rookie UDFA James Blackman are the other Miami QBs.
  • James Robinson‘s Patriots release came after the team included three injury waivers in his contract, Breer tweets. This rare protection measure included waivers on both Robinson’s knees and his left Achilles. This since-scrapped contract — Robinson has cleared waivers — illustrates the ex-Jaguars starter’s lack of options. Robinson, who saw a torn Achilles halt his early-career surge in December 2021, is facing an uncertain NFL future. The 24-year-old back has yet to earn much, either. Robinson totaled a rookie UDFA-record 1,414 scrimmage yards in 2020 but spent his first three seasons attached to league-minimum salaries.

Contract Details: Johnson, Penny, White, Okoronkwo, Lewis

Here are some more contract details on deals recently reached around the NFL:

  • Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE (Browns): Three years, $19MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a guaranteed amount of $12.49MM, $10.83MM of which is guaranteed at signing. That $10.83MM consists of a $5.5MM signing bonus, Okoronkwo’s 2023 base salary of $1.08MM, and his 2024 option bonus of $4.25MM. The remaining $1.66MM of guaranteed money is Okoronkwo’s 2024 base salary, which becomes fully guaranteed on the third league day of the 2024 league year. He also can receive a 2025 option bonus of $3.23MM. The deal includes a $3MM sack incentive and an All-Pro base salary escalator. The team built a potential out into the deal that allows them to release Okoronkwo after 2024 with $6.7MM of dead money but $17.45MM of cap savings over the following five years, four of which are void years in the contract.
  • Mike White, QB (Dolphins): Two years, $8MM. The contract, according to Doug Kyed of AtoZ Sports, includes a guaranteed amount of $4.5MM consisting of a $3.42MM signing bonus and White’s first year base salary of $1.08MM. His second year base salary is worth $3.5MM. The deal includes up to $4MM apiece in playing time and team achievement incentives that up the contract’s maximum value to $16MM.
  • Danny Johnson, CB (Commanders): Two years, $5MM. The contract, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, includes a guaranteed amount of $2.75MM consisting of a $1.75MM signing bonus and $1MM of Johnson’s first year base salary (worth $1.25MM total). His second year base salary is worth $1.49MM. The deal includes a $1MM annual playing time incentive and a per game active roster bonus of $15,000 for a potential season total of $255,000.
  • Tyquan Lewis, DE (Colts): One year, $2.1MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a guaranteed amount of $500,000 from the base salary worth a total of $1.08MM. The contract includes incentives worth up to $1.25MM for sacks, playing time, and playoffs, as well as a per game active roster bonus of $60,000 for a potential season total of $1.02MM.
  • Rashaad Penny, RB (Eagles): One year, $1.35MM. The deal, according to Wilson, has a guaranteed amount of $600,000 composed of a $100,000 signing bonus and $500,000 of the base salary (worth $1.08MM total). The deal includes a rushing yards incentive worth up to $750,000 and a per game active roster bonus of $10,000 for a potential season total of $170,000.

Dolphins To Sign QB Mike White

The Jets are awaiting news on their preferred 2023 starting quarterback, but in the meantime they are set to lose depth at the position. Mike White is signing with the Dolphins on a two-year contract worth up to $16MM (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter).

New York’s quarterback situation appeared to be relatively straightforward heading into the 2022 season. White was projected to serve as a backup to Zach Wilson, but things didn’t at all go according to plan. The latter missed time to start the season, and was benched in favor of White midway through the campaign.

The Jets’ offense performed better with White at the helm, though his individual numbers certainly weren’t eye-popping. He went 1-3 as a starter, completing 59% of his passes and throwing more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (three). Still, the team recently made it clear that they intended to keep him, given the potential showed on either side of a major rib injury suffered partway through the year.

Joe Flacco, like White, saw time in 2022 with the Jets. He is a pending free agent, however, which would have made retaining the latter even more of a priority in the event Wilson isn’t on the roster much longer. The Jets remain publicly committed to the 2021 second overall pick, but his struggles have led Gang Green to be all in on acquiring Aaron Rodgers.

While White’s absence could be acutely felt by the Jets, he could prove to be a savvy addition on Miami’s part. The Dolphins tried adding a veteran backup last offseason in Teddy Bridgewater, but he dealt with multiple injuries just as starter Tua Tagovailoa did. The latter’s concussion issues have led to speculation about his playing future, though the team will pick up his fifth-year option for next season. Even with stability at the top of the depth chart, Miami was widely expected to be in the market for a notable backup.

White will compete for the No. 2 role with Skylar Thompson, who was called into action late in the year and in the playoffs in 2022. The Jets, meanwhile, will have added motivation to keep Wilson in the fold while trying to land an upgrade under center.

QB Notes: Giants, Geno, Watson, Pats, Jets

After a frenzied run-up to the franchise tag deadline, the Giants have been a bit quieter leading up to free agency. The team’s top business is complete, though they will also be prepared to add talent next week and try to negotiate a Saquon Barkley extension before the July deadline. The Giants’ top contract is done, however, with Daniel Jones agreeing to a four-year, $160MM deal. That contract includes $82MM fully guaranteed — eighth among QBs — and both his 2023 and 2024 base salaries ($9.5MM, $35.5MM) are fully guaranteed, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. Most of Jones’ 2025 base ($30MM) is guaranteed for injury at signing, but it does not become fully guaranteed until the 2025 league year. Rather than a year-out vesting date, Jones’ 2025 guarantees not vesting until that point gives the team an out barring injury. Jones’ $46MM 2026 base salary is nonguaranteed, Florio adds.

Although the nonguaranteed 2026 money more accurately tabs this deal as a three-year, $112.5MM pact, the Giants would be on the hook for just $18MM in dead money were they to shed it from their payroll in 2025. Here is the latest from the QB ranks:

  • The Seahawks look to have convinced Geno Smith to accept a “prove it” contract, albeit on a major raise. Initially reported as a three-year, $105MM pact, Smith’s deal includes full guarantees ($27.3MM) that only stretch through 2023. An additional $12.7MM is guaranteed for injury until February, when NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo notes (on Twitter) it shifts to a full guarantee. That gives the Seahawks additional time to evaluate Smith, who surprised most with his 2022 performance. Smith’s guarantee consists of a $26.1MM signing bonus and a $1.2MM base salary in 2023, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets. The Seahawks could designate Smith as a post-June 1 cut in 2024 and be charged with just $8.7MM in dead money. Pete Carroll has spoken of the possibility the Seahawks could take a quarterback at No. 5. While the trade-down-happy team may be trying to create a market for the pick, the Smith details point to the team’s QB situation not being settled beyond 2023.
  • Browns GM Andrew Berry discussed the possibility of a Deshaun Watson restructure. While this is a restructure-crazed point on the NFL calendar, the prospect of adjusting this particular deal would create some new territory due to the $230MM fully guaranteed sum. The Browns do not need Watson’s permission to reshuffle money on his deal, Florio notes. Watson is on Cleveland’s 2023 cap sheet at a record-shattering $54.9MM. A restructure this year could create $33.69MM in cap space, Florio adds. Moving more money onto future caps would create some eye-popping figures, but it is a route the Browns can take to create cap space this year. Cleveland is currently more than $14MM over the cap.
  • Bailey Zappe‘s cameo as a Patriots starter caused became a storyline briefly last season, and while Mac Jones won his job back, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes Zappe will have a chance to push Jones for the job in 2023 (subscription required). After a record-setting season at Western Kentucky, Zappe completed 70.7% of his passes and won both his starts as a Patriot. Jones helped Bill O’Brien learn Alabama’s system back in 2021, when the former was preparing for the draft, so it would be interesting to see if Zappe will cause a legitimate QB controversy this year.
  • The Jets are interested in bringing back Mike White, but they are expected to have some competition. Other teams are interested in adding the popular Jet as an option to compete for a role, Garafolo notes (video link). This could be as a bridge option for a team planning to draft a quarterback. The Jets have zeroed in on Aaron Rodgers. If the all-time great does decide he wants in on the Big Apple, White would seemingly be headed elsewhere.

Jets Want To Re-Sign QB Mike White

The team most closely connected to a big-ticket quarterback addition, the Jets have maintained Zach Wilson still has a place on the roster. New York’s offseason blueprint may also involve bringing back the QB who replaced Wilson.

Mike White is in the Jets’ plans; they are keeping close tabs on him. Robert Saleh said the veteran passer “should be” back on the roster, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. White is a free agent, and he joins a host of bridge- or backup-type quarterbacks available this year. That should make the popular Jet affordable, but he will soon be free to negotiate with other teams.

For a quarterback who began the past two seasons as a backup, White went through two of the more eventful years for a recent reserve. He became the first Jets QB to surpass 400 passing yards in a game since Vinny Testaverde in his debut — an upset win over the Bengals in 2021 — but threw four interceptions against the Bills before returning to the bench. White was not the team’s preferred option to replace Wilson to start last season, sitting behind Joe Flacco, but once again did so after leapfrogging the aging vet on the depth chart in-season. White injected life into a woeful New York passing attack upon supplanting Wilson, but injuries once again intervened. White, 27, finished the season with five broken ribs.

There does not figure to be too much money available for White on the Jets’ end. They appear committed to making a massive upgrade at the position, and acquiring Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr would take up much of the team’s budget. Wilson also remains tied to his No. 2 draft-slot contract, being set to count nearly $10MM toward the Jets’ 2023 cap. Wilson returning and either Rodgers or Carr being the biggest name on next year’s Jets roster would seemingly point White out of town, but the team is keeping the door open.

White, whose QBR dropped considerably from his 2021 cameo, joins numerous QBs that profile as capable backups or spot starters on the market. Ex-Jet Sam Darnold may head up that list, joining Baker Mayfield, Marcus Mariota, Carson Wentz, Jacoby Brissett, Teddy Bridgewater and Andy Dalton here. Jameis Winston may be available soon as well. Case Keenum, Mason Rudolph, Drew Lock, Chase Daniel and Cooper Rush are also set to be UFAs. This collection may well cannibalize each other on the market, even as several teams chase quarterback additions.

Jets Rumors: QBs, Offseason, Injuries

After a season that saw the Jets start four different quarterbacks throughout the year, general manager Joe Douglas knows that New York has “a lot of work to do” at the position, according to Connor Hughes of SNY. Of the four passers who started games for the Jets this season, only second-year starter Zach Wilson and practice squad quarterback Chris Streveler are set to return to New York in 2023, after Streveler was announced to have signed a futures contract earlier this week. Veterans Joe Flacco and Mike White, on the other hand, are set to hit free agency.

Wilson was benched midway through the season and saw White take over starting duties. When White was injured, Wilson took over as the primary backup but was soon relegated back to the bench as White got healthy and Flacco started the season finale. Despite rumors that the Jets could move on from Wilson in the offseason, Douglas iterated that New York has “never been a team that has given up on talent early.” Hughes claims that the team expects to continue to work with Wilson moving forward. As for Wilson’s chances of starting, Douglas washed his hands of the decision, deferring the call to head coach Robert Saleh, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Cimini also noted last week a comment from then-offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who speculated that it “would’ve benefited” Wilson to allow him to sit and learn from a veteran. Unfortunately, when the team drafted Wilson, they had no such veteran. White had no NFL experience at the time, despite having been in the league for three years, and the only other quarterback on the roster was James Morgan. The team eventually brought in that experience, signing Josh Johnson late in that year’s training camp and trading midseason to bring in Flacco. LaFleur claimed he hasn’t done a good enough job of developing Wilson, saying that if any position player isn’t producing to the expected level, it’s a failure of the coach.

Wilson could potentially see his competition from this season return. White, who took the reins from Wilson this year, told Cimini that there is mutual interest in his return to the Jets from free agency. He also noted that situations change quickly in the league, hinting that he will keep his eyes open for other opportunities.

Here are a few other rumors from the Jets’ building as the franchise readies for the offseason:

  • Cimini took to ESPN as the Jets’ regular season came to an end and laid out the offseason plan for New York. Setting aside the search for a starting quarterback, mentioned in part above, and the search for a new course on offense after the firing of LaFleur, the Jets’ biggest focus will be free agency and salary cap space. To create cap space for free agent shopping, some guys with big cap hits may find themselves on the chopping block. Cutting players like wide receiver Corey Davis and offensive tackle Duane Brown could result in cap savings of $10.5MM and $5.3MM, respectively. Even players who have made significant contributions may find themselves in danger because of their salaries. Defensive end Carl Lawson could provide $15MM of cap savings, safety Jordan Whitehead $7.5MM, and return specialist Braxton Berrios $5MM. Not to mention star linebacker C.J. Mosley who is set to have a 2023 cap charge totaling $21.5MM.
  • In terms of what to look for in free agency, offensive line struggles severely hampered the team’s success this year. Starting guards Laken Tomlinson and Alijah Vera-Tucker should return next season. After undergoing triceps surgery, Vera-Tucker is expected to be back in time for training camp, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. Tackle Mekhi Becton is a question mark after missing the team’s last 33 games due to injuries and weight issues. Becton told Hughes he feels “real good” after losing a “lot” of weight and will be ready for Organized Team Activities. If Becton can’t deliver, the Jets are in trouble as they will watch tackle George Fant hit free agency and Brown could be a cap casualty or could just retire. Starting center Connor McGovern is also set to hit free agency.
  • While offensive line will be an important position to build, their most important signing may come on the defensive line. Defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will be with the team through next year due to the fifth-round option of his rookie contract, but that may not be enough to satisfy Douglas and company. Williams has established himself as one of the best at his position and will likely expect to be paid like it. Douglas will want to find an extended contract for Williams long before the idea of free agency enters his mind.
  • Lawson had a strong first year in New York despite coming back from an Achilles injury. Lawson’s recovery hit a snag when he needed a second surgery. He even tweaked something in rehab and was expected to miss a chunk of the season, according to Hughes. Despite not even running until about a month before camp, Lawson started all 17 games and recorded his highest sack total since his rookie season.
  • Running back Breece Hall‘s rookie season was cut short after the second-round pick suffered a torn ACL in October. According to Costello, Hall claims that he will be ready for the start of next year.