Robert Saleh

Becton: Right Tackle Move ‘Made No Sense’

Mekhi Becton is making a full-fledged push to convince the Jets to move him back to the left tackle position at which he excelled during his 2020 rookie season. Much has changed since that slate, and Becton has barely seen the field.

After an injury to Becton’s right knee cost him 16 games in 2021, he injured the same knee during training camp and missed all of last season. Between those injuries, the Jets moved him to right tackle. At the time, the Jets were preparing to play George Fant — who slid from right to left tackle after Becton’s September 2021 injury — on the blind side. But Becton’s injury led to Duane Brown signing and taking over at LT. Brown remains under contract, but Becton — his string of absences notwithstanding — intends to unseat the 16th-year veteran.

A recent (since-deleted) tweet made Becton’s intent clear. He doubled down on that pursuit in an interview with Newsday’s Bob Glauber, indicating he attempted to convince the Jets to keep him at left tackle last summer. The team officially moved Becton to right tackle at the start of training camp.

It made no sense to put me at right tackle,” Becton said, via Glauber. “I hurt my right knee. That’s going to be the knee that I put the most pressure on [while backpedaling in pass protection]. I explained it [to the coaches], but no one cared.

I got forced to play a position I don’t play, and then I was pretty much telling them I wasn’t feeling good the whole time throughout camp, and I was told I shouldn’t be complaining. ‘Go out there and do it.’ I was limping throughout the whole practice, and I just took a step and my knee buckled and I got hurt again and had to get reconstructive surgery.”

Becton went down barely a week into training camp but remains in the picture to start for the Jets. The team is widely believed to have targeted Georgia’s most recent left tackle, Broderick Jones, at No. 15. The Aaron Rodgers trade included a 2022 first-round pick swap, knocking the Jets down two spots. That turned out to make a difference, with the Patriots trading No. 14 to the Steelers, who took Jones. The Jets selected defensive end Will McDonald at 15.

The team has since signed Billy Turner, whom Nathaniel Hackett hoped to use as the Broncos’ regular right tackle last year. Injuries intervened, limiting Turner to eight games in 2022. But Turner brings four years’ worth of experience in Hackett’s offense. Turner’s form could affect Becton’s right tackle status and potentially Brown’s role. Brown is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, and although he intends to play a 16th season, no guaranteed money remains on the former Texans and Seahawks Pro Bowler’s two-year deal.

When asked about Becton’s tweet, Robert Saleh said, “Go earn the left tackle [job].” Addressing Becton’s latest round of comments on the situation Tuesday, Saleh did not fire back at the contract-year blocker.

Whatever happened in the past, happened in the past,” Saleh said, via the New York Post’s Brian Costello. “It’s not about finger pointing. It’s about moving forward. If he keeps approaching this offseason the way he has and he keeps attacking it the way he has, excited to see what he does with this fourth year.”

Saleh said Tuesday that Becton’s time at right tackle may not be over, though the third-year Jets HC noted the 6-foot-7 lineman will be competing for both jobs. Becton, whose fifth-year option was recently declined, remains resolute in his hope of returning to the blindside post. After going into New York’s 2022 training camp as a right tackle, Becton expects to finish this one at his old position.

They’ve been putting me on the depth chart as their third-string tackle because I’ve got to earn it, but I know within a week, I’m going to be starting on that left side,” Becton said, via Glauber.

Noting his relationship with the Jets’ coaching staff is “OK,” Becton continues to train and shed weight. He weighed 394 pounds in February, per Glauber, but was amazingly down to 342 by early May. Last offseason, Glauber notes Becton was nearly 400 pounds. Weight issues have contributed to Becton’s unavailability, but the Louisville alum will attempt to play at a much lighter weight compared to his last healthy season. Becton came into the NFL at around 370.

With Brown ahead of what would be his age-38 season, Becton can certainly earn himself a lot of money with a bounce-back year. The Jets missing on Jones leaves them without a left tackle of the future. Both the Jets’ tackle positions will be much higher-profile jobs compared to last year, when the team trudged into another season with Zach Wilson as its planned starter. With Rodgers in the fold and six nationally televised games scheduled, the Jets will be under the microscope. Before the games begin, it will now be more interesting to see how the Jets proceed with Becton in training camp.

Packers Sought Russell Wilson-Type Haul For Aaron Rodgers; Jets Debated Stronger Derek Carr Push

Aaron Rodgers has begun attending Jets offseason workouts, but it took an extensive process for the Packers to move him off their roster. The teams had different goals when they begun negotiations.

The Packers initially sought a trade package comparable to the haul the Seahawks received for Russell Wilson or the Lions picked up for Matthew Stafford, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports. But with Rodgers moving out of the picture in Green Bay, the Jets were never expected to pay what it would have likely cost the Broncos (or another suitor) to pry Rodgers from the Packers in 2021 or ’22. Still, the lag time between the first Rodgers-related discussion between Packers GM Brian Gutekunst and Jets counterpart Joe Douglas — in January, when the latter represented the only interested party among those Gutekunst contacted — led to some uncertainty.

Just before Derek Carr committed to the Saints, Jets brass debated if they should make a stronger push for the longtime Raiders quarterback, Costello adds. The Jets hosted Carr in February and met with him again at the Combine. Though, Gang Green viewed the 10th-year veteran as its Rodgers backup plan throughout the process. With the Jets not knowing until March 12 Rodgers was even planning to play in 2023, they saw their top backup plan vanish when Carr signed with the Saints on March 6.

Shortly after the Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett as OC — a move widely rumored to be a Rodgers-related decision — Robert Saleh instructed his staff to study Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Tannehill,’s Albert Breer notes. The former 49ers starter surfaced as a Jets option, while the longtime Titans first-stringer has been involved in trade rumors this year. But the Jets waited out Rodgers and received confirmation, via the four-time MVP’s agent contacting Douglas, his client was onboard with the Jets.

The Packers could have obtained more in a trade for Rodgers had they unloaded him in 2021 or ’22, but Jordan Love had not progressed to the point the team was ready to roll with the former No. 26 overall pick. Gutekunst sought to tell Rodgers the Packers planned to field a younger roster this season and make moves to help their salary cap, per Breer, with this meaning Rodgers favorites Randall Cobb, Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis would not be back. (Cobb is now a Jet, with Lewis potentially on the team’s radar.) Of course, Gutekunst and Rodgers never got around to a meeting regarding his future. The parties had multiple January meetings in California scheduled, Breer adds; neither came to fruition. Gutekunst dealt with Rodgers’ agent during the trade talks.

As for the trade price, one of the Jets’ counterproposals — during the sides’ off-and-on talks — involved a 2025 Packers second-round pick coming back in the event Rodgers did not return in 2024. The March Rodgers-Jets summit did not involve discussion about how much longer Rodgers would play, though that later became an understandable component of the Jets’ trade push. Instead of the Jets receiving a 2025 second from the Packers — in the event Rodgers retires after this season — the teams agreed on the deal that included the 2024 first-rounder being a conditional pick and not a locked-in 1, Breer adds. That said, Rodgers has only failed to play 65% of his team’s offensive snaps twice in his 15-year starter run. It represents a fairly safe bet the Jets will send the Packers their 2024 first-rounder in this swap.

Rather than the 65% figure, the Jets wanted to tie the 2024 draft choice to team placement, per Breer. But the Packers did this in the Brett Favre trade 15 years ago; the Green Bay icon’s biceps injury ended up leading the Jets out of the playoff race and reducing the Pack’s compensation to a 2009 third-rounder. With Packers president Mark Murphy involved in both negotiations, the Packers did not relent on a refusal to tie the pick to the Jets’ 2023 record.

Douglas was a bit leery about a potential post-draft suitor emerging as an alternative for Rodgers, Breer adds. The Jets had lost Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins in a two-team race last year. The All-Pro wideout was nearly a Jet, but when the Dolphins entered the fray, Miami became Hill’s preferred destination. This helped provide the impetus for the Jets to complete the deal by the draft, even as no other teams were closely connected to Rodgers this offseason.

The 2023 pick-swap component also did not enter the negotiations until late. That turned out to matter, with many believing the Jets were prepared to draft tackle Broderick Jones in Round 1. The Steelers moved up three spots, from No. 17 to No. 14, to prevent that from happening. New York selected edge rusher Will McDonald with its Green Bay-obtained No. 15 pick. The Packers chose Iowa pass rusher Lukas Van Ness at 13.

Jets Rumors: Beckham, Rodgers, Lawson, OL, Elliott

Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. made quite a few headlines during the league’s recent owners’ meetings in Arizona. One such headline came from Rich Cimini of ESPN who reported that the veteran wideout was seeking a one-year deal worth $15MM.

It’s a bit difficult to imagine a team dedicating that kind of capital to a 30-year-old wide receiver who is coming off his second ACL injury in three years. Beckham is still a talented athlete and displayed his abilities during his short time with the Rams. Cimini estimates that a contract worth $10-12MM is much more likely for Beckham. In terms of annual average value, this would place Beckham just under Corey Davis and over players like Michael Gallup, Curtis Samuel, and Tim Patrick.

Despite bits of buzz concerning a few other teams, the Jets seem to remain the favorite to land Beckham’s services for 2023.

Here are a few other rumors pertaining to Gang Green:

  • There’s an understanding around league circles that the Packers will eventually trade star quarterback Aaron Rodgers to New York. That understanding has, as of yet, failed to materialize, and according to Cimini, it has Jets owner Woody Johnsonanxious.” Johnson claimed to be anxious but optimistic as the team awaits the resolution to the problem of compensation. As the two sides continue to work towards equal compensation, the Jets aren’t getting impatient, asserting that there’s no deadline on when they’d like a deal to be done.
  • As the Jets entertain more potential additions to their roster, they have their salary cap to keep in mind. A question that has arisen in regard to that issue is whether or not New York will release defensive end Carl Lawson. The Jets have only been able to get one strong season out of Lawson since signing him in 2021. A ruptured Achilles tendon kept him from playing during his first season in New York before he was able to debut for the team this year. Now, after only one season of play, Lawson is set to take up the second-largest chunk of the Jets’ cap space. There is a potential out built into Lawson’s contract that would allow the Jets to cut Lawson with only $333,334 in dead money, saving $15.4MM in cap space. Head coach Robert Saleh reportedly turned down that possibility, according to Andy Vasquez of the Star-Ledger, claiming not to speak for general manager Joe Douglas, but asserting that “as long as (Lawson) can walk and play” he’ll be a Jet.
  • Saleh also spoke to the offensive line, according to Vasquez. While changes on the offensive line may be imminent with the addition of multiple offensive linemen in free agency, the head coach made sure to confirm the plan for Alijah Vera-Tucker to return to the right guard position in 2023. Also concerning the offensive line, Tony Pauline of provided an update on offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, who reportedly is lighter than his NFL Combine weight after changing training facilities.
  • Another comment from Saleh concerned free agent running back Ezekiel Elliott, according to Vasquez. When asked about the possibility of bringing in the former Cowboy, Saleh told the media, “We love our running back room. I’ll leave it at that.” The Jets enter 2023 with a strong 1-2 punch of Breece Hall, whose rookie season was cut short due to injury, and Michael Carter.

AFC North Notes: Mixon, Browns, Steelers

Nearly three weeks into free agency, Joe Mixon remains on the Bengals‘ roster. The team having seen Samaje Perine turn down an offer to stay and instead choose Denver thinned out its running back room. But Mixon’s status for a seventh Bengals season is not yet a lock. Bengals executive VP Katie Blackburn stopped short of guaranteeing the six-year Cincinnati starter will be back, reminding of comments player personnel VP Duke Tobin made at the Combine.

Right now, he’s on the team and we are going count on him until that wouldn’t be the case,” Blackburn said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway. “Right now, he’s our starting guy. You’ve seen other teams have to make moves. Could we get to that point? Maybe. But it would be down the road here and we’d have to see if that’s what makes sense or not.”

This situation could hinge on how the Bengals approach the position in the draft. Mixon, 26, is due a $9.4MM base salary and is tied to the third-highest cap figure ($12.8MM) on the team. Blackburn did not rule out the possibility of a post-June 1 cut designation, which would save Cincy $10MM, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler indicated recently (h/t Bleacher Report) the Bengals are looking to add at running back. (They were linked to Ezekiel Elliott, but little has emerged on that front since.) The Perine offer may have been indicative of Mixon plans. The team could still pair Mixon with a rookie, but it does have some pricey deals — most notably for Joe Burrow — on the horizon. Mixon’s $12MM-per-year deal could be used to create more cap space.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • The Browns attempted a bigger swing at defensive tackle in free agency. Dalvin Tomlinson became an expensive consolation prize, with Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer noting the team was one of the final two suitors for Javon Hargrave. The standout D-tackle signed a four-year, $84MM 49ers deal, denying the DT-needy Browns one of this year’s biggest free agency fish. Cleveland regrouped with Tomlinson, who signed a four-year, $57MM pact. The Browns, who did little at D-tackle ahead of a poor run-defense season in 2022, preferred Tomlinson to fellow target Dre’Mont Jones, Cabot adds. Tomlinson’s acumen as a run defender attracted the Browns more, as Jones profiles as an inside pass rusher rather than a run stopper.
  • Staying in Cleveland, the Browns no longer have a second-round pick thanks to the Elijah Moore pick-swap trade. The Browns eyed Moore since his trade request emerged last year, GM Andrew Berry said (via Cabot). After a dispute with then-Jets OC Mike LaFleur, Moore requested a trade. The Jets were adamant they did not want to trade Moore at the time, but after they signed Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman, the Ole Miss alum became expendable. Still, Cabot adds Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh vouched for Moore’s character to the Browns ahead of the trade.
  • The Steelers traded Chase Claypool for a second-round pick last year, and given their reputation for selecting Day 2 wideouts, it should not surprise the team is being connected to such a move once again. The team will seek an upgrade in the slot, GM Omar Khan said (via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly). Hopeful slot weapon Calvin Austin III missed his entire rookie year due to injury. The team should be considered likely to address this need by Round 3, Kaboly adds in a separate piece. From 2013-22, the Steelers chose eight wideouts on Day 2. Both their current top two receivers — Diontae Johnson and George Pickens — were Friday-night draftees.
  • It does not sound like the Ravens will use a notable resource to replace Ben Powers. John Harbaugh alluded to another competition — one featuring former third-round pick Ben Cleveland, ex-Raiders draftee John Simpson, swingman Patrick Mekari and 2022 fourth-round tackle Daniel Faalele (who is 6-foot-9) as options — being how the team will replace Powers, who won a left guard battle last year. Powers, who scored a four-year Broncos deal worth $52MM, beat out Cleveland in training camp. A draft choice could be added here, but The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec does not anticipate a high pick going to this spot.

Jets’ Duane Brown To Play In 2023

The Jets’ offensive line was decimated by injuries in 2022, and the team entered this offseason with a high degree of uncertainty at the tackle position in particular. Some clarity has emerged on that front with respect to a veteran member of the unit.

Duane Brown intends to play in 2023,as confirmed by his agent. That will set him up to continue his career for a 17th season, and second with the Jets. The 37-year-old signed with New York on a two-year, $20MM contract last offseason as the Jets scrambled to find an experienced replacement for Mekhi Becton after the latter suffered another major injury of his own.

Expectations were relatively high for Brown, given his consistent play over five seasons in Seattle. Things took a turn for the worst just before the season, however, when the five-time Pro Bowler suffered a shoulder injury which required being place on IR. He opted not to undergo surgery, instead opting for rehab to allow for a quicker return to action. That ultimately took place in time for him to suit up for 12 contests this season, all spent at left tackle.

It was later revealed that Brown was playing through a torn rotator cuff, something which made his return even more impressive. Overall, the former first-rounder allowed just one sack during his first Jets campaign, leading to a pass-blocking PFF grade of 72.3. While his overall rating was far worse, Brown still provided stability on the blindside in a season which was marred by crucial injuries up front for the Jets.

“Duane is a freaking rock star, man, the way he fought through pain and injury,” head coach Robert Saleh said of Brown recently, via ESPN’s Rich Cimini“He did what I’d say about 90% of players probably wouldn’t have done, in terms of playing when he didn’t have to. All his money was already guaranteed, and the guy still strapped up and played [12] games for us. So, a lot of respect for him… and if he’s here [in 2023], it’d be awesome.”

Today’s news means that Brown will indeed suit up for the upcoming season, though his name has been mentioned as a cut candidate. He is due a non-guaranteed base salary of $9MM in 2023, and has a scheduled cap hit of $11.2MM. Releasing the former All-Pro would save the Jets just under $5MM in cap space. Doing so would create a roster hole at the position, though, one of increased importance given the lengthy injury history Becton has.

Brown had been contemplating retirement, but now he will play at least one more season in pursuit of a first Super Bowl title. The Jets will likely have him, Becton and Max Mitchell as their top offensive tackles, though Cimini notes the position is likely to be a high draft priority. The team may feel less urgency to use their first-rounder on a lineman knowing they are in line to have Brown back in the fold as at least veteran insurance.

Robert Saleh Addresses Nathaniel Hackett Hire, Aaron Rodgers Connection

The Jets have their Mike LaFleur replacement in place after Thursday’s decision to hire Nathaniel Hackett as their new offensive coordinator. That move immediately led to speculation that it could be followed in the near future by the acquisition of Aaron Rodgers.

New York is indeed expected to add a veteran passer this offseason in the wake of Zach Wilson‘s struggles, and a clear connection exists between Hackett and the future Hall of Famer. The pair worked together in Green Bay between 2019 and 2021, a period during which Hackett did not call plays but still played a role in the team’s (and Rodgers’) shared success. Head coach Robert Saleh denied Hackett’s background with the Packers – and his potential importance with respect to securing Rodgers via a trade – played a role in his hire, though.

“It doesn’t matter what the connections are,” Saleh said, via Brian Costello of the New York Post“Everyone’s got a connection to everybody in this league. The most important thing was finding a guy who we felt could continue developing our young guys at a very high level and a guy who has done it before, a guy who has had success in this league with a variety of different quarterbacks.”

Hackett has indeed worked with several different signal-callers dating back to his time as a play-caller in Buffalo and Jacksonville. While those stints did not result in much success (save for the 2017 Jaguars’ run to the AFC title game), the 43-year-old represents at least a somewhat reasonable hire given his track record prior to his disastrous foray into a head coaching role in Denver last year.

The Broncos were long connected to Rodgers given not only Hackett’s hire, but the presence of a strong defense and several intriguing skill-position pieces on the roster. The exact same can be said of the Jets at this point, as they boast a number of high-end defenders, a strong running game and a pass-catching corps led by Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist Garrett Wilson.

Rodgers is once again at the heart of trade speculation, though it still remains to be seen if he will play in 2023, and how willing the Packers would be to move on from him. The four-time MVP is due $58.3MM option bonus this year, and it can be paid at any before the season begins. But a team trading for Rodgers would have the opportunity to roster him on merely a $15.8MM cap hit in 2023. Even after a down season statistically, Rodgers would also likely command a hefty trade price from the Jets or any other interested team. In light of that, Saleh doubled down on his support for Hackett being his preferred choice to guide the team’s status quo on offense.

“When it came back to a certain checklist that I was trying to go through, just checking boxes on what we were looking for in regard to this next offensive coordinator, I just kept circling back to him,” Saleh said. “He checks every box of what we were looking for. I’m really, really excited about being able to get Nathaniel here.”

Woody Johnson Prepared To Pay Up For QB Addition, Addresses HC-GM Setup

Everything about the second half of this Jets season pointed to the team entering the 2023 quarterback market. Their owner all but confirmed it Thursday.

Woody Johnson said the Jets will be prepared to spend for a veteran quarterback. The team has not gone in this direction in a while, but its past two top-five draft choices — Sam Darnold and Zach Wilson — have not panned out. Wilson’s struggles ended up holding back a vastly improved defense, something Johnson obviously does not want to recur.

Absolutely,” Johnson said (via’s Rich Cimini) when asked he was willing to spend for a veteran. “We’ve got a cap, so there’s an amount you can spend. But, yeah, yeah. That’s kind of the missing piece.”

Robert Saleh added the Jets will be “aggressive as heck” regarding the quarterback position. A veteran pursuit will mark a change of pace for the organization.

Not only have the Jets devoted their QB investments to rookies over the past five years, they had low- or midlevel QB contracts — Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick — on the payroll in the years before Darnold’s arrival. The organization which tried Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith throughout the first half of the 2010s last made a major veteran investment back in 2008, when it traded for Brett Favre. As such, the Jets appearing serious about trying to pair their reloaded defense with a readier QB would qualify as a significant development.

Wilson’s disastrous start to his career led to a second-season benching — almost unheard of for a modern top-five QB pick — and Johnson said the team likely erred by not bringing in a veteran last year to ease the BYU prospect’s transition. Since-departed OC Mike LaFleur said the same recently.

Zach had a tough year. There’s no denying that,” Johnson said. “I still have confidence that I’ve seen some kernels of real talent there. …[His] confidence level, whatever it was, went down, so that was certainly frustrating for him. And then we had that rotation, which is very hard to do in the NFL — changing quarterbacks.”

The Jets attempting to fix their Wilson mistake with a veteran move has seemed likely for weeks, since the team demoted the former No. 2 overall selection to the third-string level. LaFleur’s exit clouds a potential Jimmy Garoppolo signing. Previously, a LaFleur-Garoppolo reunion made some sense; the ex-49ers duo reuniting would have allowed for a smooth transition. But other QBs will be available.

New York has the option of trading for Derek Carr in February; Las Vegas is prepared to shop him. Otherwise, Smith has been connected to staying with the Seahawks. The Giants now want to re-sign Daniel Jones. Gang Green’s weaponry and defense could conceivably attract Tom Brady, though it is not yet certain if he will play an age-46 season, and Aaron Rodgers‘ Green Bay future is once again murky. The Raiders, who are also connected to Garoppolo, are seemingly set to be a Brady suitor — if the all-time great wishes to play in 2023. The Ravens will not let Lamar Jackson hit the market. The former MVP hitting the trade block after two offseasons of failed negotiations would certainly test Johnson’s pledge to pay up for a QB.

Johnson was serving as ambassador to the United Kingdom when the Jets hired Saleh and GM Joe Douglas. Despite inheriting the two, Johnson said Thursday he would not require a 2023 playoff berth for Saleh and Douglas to stay. However, he also did not confirm the duo would be safe with another postseason absence. The Jets’ 12-season playoff drought is by far the NFL’s longest active streak.

No, I don’t do mandates,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a long wait. Fifty-four years from the last Super Bowl is too long, way too long. I’d like to change that fast, but mandates don’t work.”

Saleh said LaFleur had other options, but it is interesting the Jets will allow their two-year OC to explore them rather than ensure he came back. This certainly points to a firing. Johnson said (via the New York Post’s Brian Costello, on Twitter) he was not part of the decision that led LaFleur out, though he also noted he had private conversations with Douglas, Saleh and LaFleur and offered input. The team is now shopping for a new OC.

Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh Backs OC Mike LaFleur

The Jets have been eliminated from playoff contention, a disappointing end to what had begun as an encouraging season. Much of the blame for the team’s struggles down the stretch of been placed on their offense, but a shakeup on the sidelines affecting the unit does not appear likely.

When speaking to the media, head coach Robert Saleh expressed his support of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. The latter has been at the helm of New York’s offense since 2021, joining the staff at the same time as Saleh. That tenure began with an underwhelming performance across the board on offense, but expectations were raised considerably in light of the organization’s offseason moves.

Those included, among others, the additions of wideout Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall in the draft to go along with a second season of quarterback Zach Wilson under center. The latter has struggled immensely this year, though, missing time at the start of the season and being benched in favor of Mike White on multiple occasions. The 2021 second overall pick’s future in the Big Apple has been called into question, though Saleh recently backed the possibility of a continued relationship with him.

In addition to Wilson, LaFleur has reportedly been on thin ice given the Jets’ inability to consistently produce on offense in recent weeks in particular. During the team’s current five-game losing streak, they have averaged only 12 points per game and have not found the endzone since Week 15. Wilson’s marked lack of improvement, along with injuries to Hall and left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker offer at least a partial explanation for the unit’s struggles, but LaFleur has drawn sharp criticism in light of New York’s elite rankings in several defensive categories.

Saleh said, via ESPN’s Rich Cimini, that the Jets are partway through “a commitment to go young everywhere – coaches, players, staff, everybody. It’s so important to take a deep breath… and make sure we’re telling ourselves the truth rather than allowing narrative and panic to set in.”

He cited his own history as the former 49ers DC, along with the success a number of players have had after departing New York, as reason to remain patient even after the disappointment of recent weeks and months. Saleh, LaFleur and the Jets will be the subject of plenty of scrutiny this offseason as they look to take another step forward in 2023.

Jets Not Looking To Move On From Zach Wilson?

The Jets have no plans to shop embattled quarterback Zach Wilson this offseason, as Ian Rapoport of reports. “We’re not going to quit on him,” head coach Robert Saleh said in the wake of New York’s Week 16 loss to the Jaguars, a game in which Wilson completed nine of 18 passes for 92 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. Per Rapoport, the organization’s other top decisionmakers share those sentiments, despite recent reports that Gang Green is prepared to part ways with Wilson at season’s end.

Wilson’s uninspiring play has compelled the Jets to turn back to Mike White for their critical Week 17 matchup against the Seahawks. Of course, the club had benched Wilson in favor of White in Week 12, and Wilson got his job back for a brief time only because White was dealing with multiple fractured ribs. Indeed, Wilson’s performance in the Jacksonville contest was so poor that he was replaced in the third quarter by Chris Streveler, a 2018 UDFA who had thrown a grand total of 17 regular season passes.

In his 22 games under center since being drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in 2021, Wilson sports an 8-14 record and has completed 55.2% of his passes for 15 touchdowns against 18 picks, which amounts to a dismal QB rating of 70.9. While growing pains and a general lack of talent around him in his rookie campaign can certainly excuse some of his first-year difficulties, his lack of progress is alarming.

However, as Wilson’s rookie contract is fully-guaranteed, releasing him this offseason is not realistic, and even a trade would result in a negative cap charge if it were consummated prior to June 1. So from a financial perspective alone, it makes sense for the Jets to continue their efforts to develop the BYU product and generate something of a positive return from their investment of premium draft capital.

White, meanwhile, has had several impressive games over the past two years, but his rate stats are not much better than Wilson’s. Still, one agent who represents prominent quarterbacks tells Rich Cimini of that White, who will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in March, has enough quality tape to appeal to teams looking for a bridge passer. If he plays well over the remainder of the season, the former fifth-round pick of the Cowboys could land a short-term deal worth at least $10MM-$12MM per year. While the Jets may consider re-signing White, it seems likely that they will at least explore more established options like Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo before going that route, especially since they appear to be putting their rebuilding phase behind them.

In addition to a new quarterback, the club may be looking for a new offensive coordinator. Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post — who, incidentally, is among those who believe Wilson will be jettisoned in the coming months — cites one high-ranking executive who says owner Woody Johnson will want to fire current OC Mike LaFleur. La Canfora believes Johnson could consider even more dramatic coaching or front office shakeups, and while Cimini concedes that Johnson’s patience will be put to the test if the Jets finish the season on a six-game losing streak, the ESPN scribe thinks the owner will realize his organization is in generally good shape under Saleh and GM Joe Douglas (the QB situation notwithstanding).

If the Jets do look to trade Wilson, La Canfora reports that they will not receive more than a fifth-round pick in return.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Chubb, Hines

The Jets pulled off an upset win over the Bills today, despite the absence of wideout Corey Davis. The 2021 free agent signing ranks second on the team with 351 receiving yards, but has been unavailable since suffering a knee injury in Week 7.

That has allowed Denzel Mims to occupy a roster spot on gamedays, something which had yet to take place prior to the injury. The 2020 second-rounder saw a drastic drop in his playing time last year compared to his rookie campaign, which fueled a summer trade request. In the build-up to this year’s deadline, the possibility of a deal sending him out of New York remained, but nothing took place, perhaps as a reflection of his situation beginning to change.

Head coach Robert Saleh indicated that “something switched” recently with respect to Mims’ attitude and approach (Twitter link via SNY’s Connor Hughes). As a result, Saleh added that there is a strong possibility the Baylor alum will remain active for games even after Davis returns.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC East:

  • While the Jets were without Davis on offense, a notable member of their defense was back in action this afternoon. Edge rusher Jermaine Johnson returned after a three-game absence, something which was expected to take place today, per Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post. Part of New York’s vaunted 2022 rookie class, the first-rounder recorded a sack in the win over the Bills, bringing his total to 2.5 on the year. The Jets’ decision to trade away Jacob Martin will likely open the door to a larger role for Johnson moving forward.
  • More details have emerged regarding the Bradley Chubb extension he signed upon being acquired by the Dolphins. As detailed by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the new pact includes a fully guaranteed salary of $19.4MM next season. In March of 2023, his 2024 compensation will also become fully guaranteed. Overall, the Pro Bowler is in line for a steady base salary throughout the life of the deal; likewise, his cap hit is scheduled to remain very consistent, ranging from $22.2MM next year to $23.2MM in 2027, the final year of the deal.
  • The Bills were among the teams making notable additions on Tuesday, trading for running back Nyheim Hines. The veteran is known as an effective pass-catcher out of the backfield, but also for his special teams contributions. To no surprise, then, PFT’s Michael David Smith noted before today’s game that the ex-Colt was expected to serve as Buffalo’s punt returner. Indeed, Hines accounted for his new team’s only punt return, taking over that role from rookie Khalil Shakir.