The Jets continue to see struggles at the quarterback position. Hours after hearing that Aaron Rodgers would likely not work his way back to a starting role this season, the situation at the position became even more dire as third-string starter Tim Boyle was benched in today’s loss to the Falcons in favor of veteran Trevor Siemian. The team is currently undecided on whether or not the switch will be permanent going into next week, per Josh Alper of NBC Sports.
New York was trailing Atlanta early in the second half, and Boyle had completed just over half of his passes for 148 yards in what was a fairly uninspiring performance. When Boyle threw an ill-advised pass that ended up in the hands of an over-the-top safety, head coach Robert Saleh put the 29-year-old on the bench, sending in Siemian, the recent journeyman.
Siemian, who despite playing for four different teams has started a game in each of the past five years, didn’t fare much better than Boyle against Atlanta. While Saleh hoped the move would spark the offense, Siemian failed to lead the team to any points, completing only 5 of his 13 pass attempts for 66 yards. He also fumbled the ball three times, losing one to the opposing defense.
With that failed experiment, Saleh has yet to make a decision on what the plan will be next week. Asked if benched former starter Zach Wilson could make a return to the first team, Saleh replied that Wilson is “always in consideration.” With Rodgers not likely to return, Saleh will need to figure something out with the options available to him.
Here are a few more rumors coming out of East Rutherford:
Defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey made his season debut today after being a standard gameday elevation from the practice squad. Unfortunately, that’s where his 2023 campaign will end. In today’s loss, Winfrey suffered a “really bad” foot injury that Saleh proclaimed would leave him done for the season, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
Also sidelined in the loss were veteran tight end C.J. Uzomah and undrafted rookie wide receiver Jason Brownlee. Per Cimini, Uzomah suffered a sprained MCL and Brownlee left the game with an ankle injury. Taking away offensive weapons from the Jets’ arsenal surely doesn’t help the team’s struggles at quarterback.
It wasn’t a great showing for Boyle yesterday in his first start of the season. While the 29-year-old completed a respectable 71.1 percent of his passes, he also tossed a pair of interceptions and had a pair of fumbles. The loss to the Dolphins dropped Boyle to 0-4 as a starter in his career, with the other three losses coming with the Lions in 2021.
If Boyle is replaced, the Jets would likely turn to newly-named QB2 Trevor Siemian. The veteran was signed to the Jets active roster earlier this week as the team reworked their depth chart, a shakeup that saw Zach Wilson get demoted to the third spot on the depth chart. At this point, it seems unlikely that the Jets would turn back to the former second-overall pick, meaning Boyle or Siemian should get the bulk of the snaps at the position.
Of course, Aaron Rodgers has continued to keep the door open regarding a late-season return. However, thanks to yesterday’s loss, the Jets are now armed with the third-worst record in the AFC. Even with a future Hall of Fame QB back in the lineup, it’s unlikely they’d have enough time to insert themselves into the playoff picture.
Speaking of, that Jets loss also means the team would be eyeing a top-10 pick if the season ended today. Even though the organization is quickly climbing into “QB territory” on the draft board, Cimini says it would be a stunner if the front office chose a quarterback in the upcoming draft. The team still plans to roll with Rodgers in 2024, so any move will likely revolve around their win-now mentality.
Nearly two months after he rejoined the Jets, Trevor Siemian is back on their active roster. Set to be the team’s backup in Week 12, Siemian is now officially signed to the 53-man roster.
The well-traveled veteran has spent seven weeks on New York’s practice squad, signing with the team Sept. 26. Tuesday’s transaction will mark a change for the 31-year-old passer, who has not been a gameday elevation this year for the Jets.
The Jets’ latest Zach Wilson benching will send Tim Boyleinto the starter’s role and Wilson down to the third-string level. This is how the Jets proceeded when they initially benched Wilson last year, moving Mike White to the QB1 spot and bumping Joe Flacco above Wilson. While Wilson eventually worked his way back to the QB2 position, he only reentered the lineup due to a White injury. Robert Saleh kept the door open for Wilson re-emerging yet again and repeated the expectation (via SNY’s Connor Hughes) the demoted passer will have a good career, but the former No. 2 overall pick has been given considerable time. Through 31 starts, the BYU product has proven incapable of being a viable NFL starter.
Boyle, 29, is by far the least experienced of the Jets’ three healthy quarterbacks. The 2018 Packers UDFA has made three starts and thrown only 120 career passes. Despite Siemian being with the team for nearly two months, Boyle — signed in April to be New York’s third-stringer behind Aaron Rodgers and Wilson — will receive the first start in the wake of Wilson benching No. 3.
Siemian has made 30 career starts, the bulk of them coming in Denver. The Broncos signed off on a historically unusual plan by making Siemian — the third-stringer on their Super Bowl-winning team — their Peyton Manning successor. Siemian beat out Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch for that role in 2016 and went 13-11 as Denver’s starter in two seasons. The Broncos, however, traded him to the Vikings after signing ex-Minnesota starter Case Keenum. After a year backing up Kirk Cousins, Siemian signed with the Jets. A season-ending ankle injury sustained during a Week 2 game replacing a mononucleosis-stricken Sam Darnold ended Siemian’s initial Jets stint.
The former seventh-round pick has since been with the Titans, Saints, Bears and Bengals. Siemian lost a preseason competition withJake Browning to become Joe Burrow‘s backup, a battle that suddenly becomes quite relevant in Southwest Ohio. Although Boyle has been in Nathaniel Hackett‘s system for three years, it would certainly not surprise to see Siemian given a chance for a Jets team (4-6) desperate for a win to stay in the playoff race and keep a potential window for a Rodgers return open.
3:02pm: For the second straight season, the Jets will demote Wilson two spots on their depth chart. Saleh confirmed Siemian will be Boyle’s backup in Week 12. The Jets made this move last season, bumping Joe Flacco up the depth chart as White’s backup. After another season of continued struggles, Wilson will be out of the equation for the time being.
Saleh benched Wilson in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Bills, another game in which the Jets’ offense struggled mightily. The unit has put up highly underwhelming numbers in a number of categories – including on third down, where New York has a conversion rate of 22.9% on the season – due to a number of issues. Wilson’s play has been one of them, though, which resulted in Boyle finishing the game yesterday.
The latter went 7-for-14 for 33 yards and one interception during his brief relief appearance in Week 11. That marked his first regular season action with the Jets, as he had previously served as Wilson’s backup in the wake of Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear. Wilson has failed to show signs of tangible development in 2023 (although factors such as an injury-riddled offensive line have played a part in his struggles), but Saleh routinely backed him earlier in the campaign. His stance shifted yesterday, however, with the announcement New York would make a decision on a starter for the team’s upcoming Black Friday game.
Boyle, 29, joined the Jets in the spring to serve as depth behind Rodgers and Wilson. His signing marked his first foray out of the NFC North, having spent his first two years with the Packers followed by one-year stints in Detroit and Chicago. Boyle was part of New York’s final roster cuts, but he was immediately retained via the practice squad. That decision, coupled with the Rodgers injury and Wilson’s performance, has now thrust him into a No. 1 role.
The former UDFA has three starts to his name, each of which came in 2021 with the Lions. Boyle has played in 18 total regular season games in the NFL, making him a less experienced option than Trevor Siemian (35 games, 30 starts). The latter signed in September in what the Jets quickly confirmed would be the team’s only outside addition at the QB spot. Siemian has remained on New York’s practice squad since his arrival.
One year remains on Wilson’s rookie contract, though the Jets could elect to pick up his fifth-year option for 2025 this offseason. Such a move would come as a major surprise, since for the second straight year (after the change to Mike Whitewhich took place in 2022) he has seen an extended run as a starter brought to an end. Today’s move marks another sign of lost confidence in the former No. 2 pick, as well as a bid to rescue the remaining weeks until Rodgers’ targeted return to action. New York will face Miami on Friday to begin the attempt at a rebound on offense.
The NFL’s franchise in New England had been spoiled with their consistency at the quarterback position over the 20-year reign of Tom Brady. This season, though, many are wondering if Brady’s eventual successor, Mac Jones, has what it takes to retain his seat atop the depth chart. According to several different sources, his starting job as the Patriots‘ quarterback is safe for now.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the first to report this morning that the Patriots would be sticking with Jones at quarterback for today’s game against the Saints and that “no change was imminent.” He did mention that second-year quarterback Bailey Zappe, who got about a quarter of the team’s offensive snaps is last week’s blowout loss to the Cowboys, got more practice snaps than usual throughout the week.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated detailed that a lot of the struggles seen with Jones last week were things that have been noticed at practice in New England. He asserts that Jones still has a bit of leeway with the coaching staff, but Jones is going to need to remedy those issues in order to keep it that way.
Even after another blowout loss today that saw Jones pulled from the game in the fourth quarter, head coach Bill Belichick confirmed that Jones will remain the team’s starter, according to Josh Alper of NBC Sports. Belichick reportedly said that “the team will be ‘starting over’ as they move toward next Sunday’s game against the Raiders, but the new start won’t include a new” starter.
Here are a few other rumors out of the AFC East, starting with a new familiar face who recently returned to Massachusetts:
Recent trade acquisition from the Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson was once a prized free agent addition in Los Angeles after his original stint with the Patriots. But things this year deteriorated to the point that Jackson, who was a healthy scratch for the Chargers in Week 3, was asked to enter the game to fill in for an injured Michael Davis, and he refused to do so, per a joint report from Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Jackson, who had already sustained a serious injury during his time in Los Angeles, knew he had no future with the team and didn’t feel comfortable risking further injury. Additionally, the arrest warrant issued for Jackson in late September for reckless driving has reportedly been lifted, according to David Linton of The Sun Chronicle. Jackson paid the fine and agreed to probation in order to avoid arrest.
Along with Aaron Rodgers‘ former Green Bay teammates, wide receiver Mecole Hardman was considered a big addition to the Jets‘ receiving corps in the offseason. And despite his once prominent role on the perennial contender in Kansas City, Hardman has been a non-factor in the first five weeks of the season, including his status as a healthy scratch today. Hardman voiced his frustration to ESPN’s Rich Cimini saying, “I’m probably the best in the league in space. Maybe (the coaches) see something different. I’m just waiting for the opportunity to present itself. I think when I was in K.C., I proved that I was probably the most dangerous guy on the jet sweep, or whether it be on the end-around or on the screen, I think I proved year-out that I was that guy you had to worry about doing that.”
Sticking with the Jets, many expected a change to the composition of the quarterbacks room coming into the week. Cimini relayed head coach Robert Saleh‘s assessment that the room was “status quo” today. Tim Boyle remained as Zach Wilson‘s primary backup, while Trevor Siemian stayed down on the practice squad today.
September 29th, 2023 at 10:19pm CST by Sam Robinson
Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear four plays into his Jets tenure doubles as one of the most crushing injuries a team has sustained in many years. The Jets have gone from a team with Super Bowl aspirations to one trapped in the kind of situation that caused the all-out Rodgers push.
The Jets have been connected to a few outside options, attempting to add Colt McCoy and ex-Nathaniel Hackett charge Chad Henne. They also looked into poaching fellow ex-Hackett pupil Brett Rypien off the Rams’ practice squad, but Los Angeles promoted the ex-Broncos backup instead. Two years after the Jets took heat for not backstopping Wilson — a plan former OC Mike LaFleur called a mistake — the team has not attempted to chase a veteran who would unseat him.
Citing the Jets’ $276MM in cash spent — a number that trails only the Ravens and Browns — a Thursday report indicated a top-down Jets directive has led the team to prefer to have a QB rise through the practice squad route. This, and the team’s desire to avoid a Wilson QB controversy, has led to the current depth chart forming. As such, Trevor Siemian represents the top option to take over if Wilson continues to struggle. Although the recently added arm has not been a regular starter since 2017, the ex-Peyton Manning Denver successor has made 30 career starts.
Siemian, 31, is 0-6 over his past six starts. Prior to losing four games leading a depleted Saints roster, Siemian did pilot the Saints past the then-defending champion Buccaneers in his first appearance with the team. Siemian also started a Jets Week 2 game in 2019, a contest that featured the then-Sam Darnold backup going down with a season-ending ankle injury. But the seven-team journeyman is back in town. Although he is not coming off the practice squad this week, an elevation figures to take place soon after.
Current backup Tim Boyle has thrown 106 career passes, residing as a Rodgers and Jared Goff backup during his career. Boyle’s most notable work came when he started three games for an injured Goff in 2021. A rebuilding Lions team lost all three of those games. Boyle, who played at UConn and Eastern Kentucky, served as Rodgers’ top backup at points in Green Bay. The Jordan Love pick changed his standing with the organization.
The Jets cannot trade their first- or second-round picks, with those selections in escrow since they are part of the Rodgers trade package. But will the Jets attempt to use a mid-round choice to trade for a better option? The team still boasts an upper-echelon defense that is again tied to a bottom-tier QB situation. Teams will not be eager to unload a proven backup, but decent draft compensation could change that equation. The Texans’ backups have generated trade interest, and either Case Keenum or Davis Mills could potentially be pried away. Would they move the needle much for the Jets?
Douglas was in place when the Eagles traded up for Wentz in 2016, and the fifth-year Jets GM was present when the former No. 2 overall pick soared to the MVP favorite before an ACL tear ended his 2017 season. Wentz’s stock has tanked since that outlier year, but he is just 30 and would be an upgrade on Wilson. Matt Ryan is 38 is coming off a dreadful Colts season. While Ryan indicated he is happy at CBS, both free agents are believed to have reached out to the Jets. Although Colin Kaepernick wrote Douglas a letter campaigning for a P-squad opportunity, the Jets are not interested in a player out of the league for the past seven seasons.
Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill loom as longshots that have not come up in legitimate trade rumors, but both are on expiring contracts — albeit pricey expiring deals — and playing for teams with sub-.500 records. The Titans, who drafted Will Levisin Round 2, would likely need to eat some of Tannehill’s money. The 12th-year veteran is on a $27MM base salary; the Jets hold barely $8MM in cap space. Cousins carries a no-trade clause. Both 35-year-old passers have void years at the end of their contracts, with the Vikings starter’s void number checking in at a whopping $28.5MM for 2024.
Will the Jets aim higher via Wentz or a trade? Or will Siemian represent Wilson’s top competition for the rest of the season? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section.
Although Siemian does not profile as a player who will be an open-and-shut upgrade on Wilson, he represents the organization’s move. In the wake of Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, the Jets did not want to bring in a starter-caliber quarterback like Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan due to the quarterback controversy such a move would have incited, per the New York Post’s Brian Costello. Instead, the Jets wanted to give Wilson the best chance to succeed. Robert Saleh‘s endorsements are in line with that plan.
So far, Wilson has not shown notable improvement, despite the Jets’ party line depicting offseason progress from the former No. 2 overall pick. The Jets’ inaction regarding a surefire upgrade effort also stems from finances, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who said during an appearance on Fox Sports’ Undisputed the team already devoting a substantial amount of cash to its QB spot — via the Rodgers trade — has impacted its willingness to chase another passer. Both Wentz and Ryan reached out to the team, with Costello adding Ryan indeed did so (despite the ex-Falcons and Colts starter denying he wants to step away from his CBS announcing gig).
Only the Browns and Ravens have outspent the Jets in terms of 2023 cash, with Gang Green at nearly $277MM. In terms of cap space, the Jets hold just more than $8MM, which ranks 11th in the NFL. The directive aimed at instructing the Jets to make do with that they have at quarterback came from the top down, Anderson adds.
While Woody Johnson confirmed a willingness to spend for a veteran upgrade this offseason, it looks like — for the time being, at least — the Jets will not double down on the position after acquiring Rodgers. The Jets prefer to use their practice squad as the gateway to a QB addition, Anderson notes. This would mean a Siemian elevation or eventual promotion to the active roster.
Names like Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill have circulated as potential Jets options. Cousins, who would cost the Vikings $10MM in dead money to move, has a no-trade clause. The Titans did not touch Tannehill’s base salary this offseason. With that number sitting at $27MM, the Jets would need to make considerable cap adjustments or push the Titans to eat a portion of his contract. Wentz remains unattached. Despite coming into the league via an Eagles trade-up to No. 2 overall, a move Philadelphia made when current Jets GM Joe Douglas was part of its front office, no traction has emerged regarding the now-well-traveled QB being signed.
Siemian spoke with the Jets shortly after Rodgers went down, and while the team opted to stand pat at quarterback through Week 3, Costello adds Siemian reached out again this week to see if they were still interested. The former seventh-round pick, who went into the 2019 season as Sam Darnold‘s Jets backup, is now 31 and has been with seven teams — if his Cincinnati offseason stay is counted. Siemian has made 30 career starts but has been a backup since the Broncos traded him to the Vikings in 2018.
Siemian joined Chad Henne, Colt McCoy and Brett Rypien as players the Jets contacted. Interest was not mutual regarding some of the players the Jets contacted, Anderson adds. The Jets inquired about signing Rypien off the Rams’ practice squad, a move that would have vaulted the ex-Broncos backup to the Jets’ active roster for at least three weeks, but Los Angeles instead promoted him to its 53-man unit.
With Wilson-driven locker-room frustration again surfacing, it will be interesting to see if the Jets change their low-cost approach to QB staffing in this emergency circumstance. The team had mostly relied on rookie-contract QBs since the Brett Favre move 15 years ago, prompting the Rodgers swing. With Wilson’s QBR ahead of only Justin Fields‘ number, the Jets are paying for not acquiring a veteran backup and instead keeping Wilson in that role this offseason. The team’s Week 7 bye might be the point a reassessment occurs.
September 27th, 2023 at 12:20pm CST by Sam Robinson
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.
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 ESPN.com’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 SI.com 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.
September 26th, 2023 at 10:01pm CST by Adam La Rose
The Jets are set to make a long-awaited addition to their quarterback room. Trevor Siemianis prepared to sign with the team pending a physical, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network adds this will be a practice squad arrangement. The deal is now official.
Siemian will make a return to New York, having spent the 2019 season with the Jets. This reunion will give the team three healthy passers, as they previously only had Zach Wilsonand Tim Boyleon the roster. The former has received repeated endorsements as New York’s starter from head coach Robert Saleh, but experienced depth, at a minimum, will be added with this deal. Siemian visited the Jets on Tuesday morning, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson tweets.
The 31-year-old has yet to win a start since 2017, going 0-6 in that span. Siemian has seen time with the Saints and Bears, which led him to a Bengals deal this offseason. He was among the team’s final roster cuts, however, leading to a free agency stay which lasted well into the start of the season. Pelissero’s colleague James Palmer notes Cincinnati considered bringing Siemian back this past week while Joe Burrow‘s availability was in question.
When the Jets initially added Siemian in 2019, he was brought in to back up Sam Darnold, who was going into his second season. A Darnold mononucleosis diagnosis led to Siemian starting the Jets’ Week 2 game against the Browns that year, but a season-ending ankle injury took Siemian off the field after just six pass attempts. He moved on in 2020. The former Peyton Manning Denver successor has since been with four more teams — the Titans, Saints, Bears and Bengals — and has been strictly a backup or a third-string option.
This is certainly not a transaction that would appease Jets fans clamoring for Wilson to be benched. As Saleh continues to insist the third-year passer is the team’s clear-cut best option, the Jets are not believed to have done work on adding a starter-caliber passer. They looked into Colt McCoy and a potential Chad Henneunretirement in the aftermath of Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, but the team went into Weeks 2 and 3 with just Wilson and Boyle on its depth chart. Siemian now becomes the team’s de facto third-stringer, though it is conceivable he could leapfrog Boyle to be Wilson’s backup or potentially usurp both to become a starter again. Being unable to beat out Jake Browning for the Bengals’ QB2 gig, however, does not exactly boost Siemian’s prospects.
Through three games, Wilson ranks ahead of only Justin Fields in QBR, sitting 33rd. He has completed just 52.4% of his passes — down from his full-season numbers in 2021 and ’22 — and is averaging only 5.6 yards per attempt. The latter number is also down from his ’21 and ’22 averages. While it remains interesting the Jets have not made a more aggressive push to find a veteran capable of unseating the struggling starter, the team at least filled out its depth chart with Siemian.
Collins will miss at least the first four weeks of the season given his PUP designation. The former Cowboy signed a three-year, $21MM deal in free agency last offseason to operate as Cincinnati’s right tackle starter. His play in his debut season was underwhelming, however, and that role will belong to Jonah Williamsthis season, unless the latter misses time or Collins usurps him on the depth chart. A knee injury is to blame for Collins’ missed time, per the team.
Both Pesefea and Tell will miss the entire season, as is the case for all players placed on IR before being named to the initial 53-man roster. They will either remain with the organization during the campaign, or be released via an injury settlement which would allow them to find a new opportunity elsewhere.
Jones represents a more experienced cut than most of the other players let go. The former second-rounder has 57 games and 27 starts to his name, and he split his time between the Seahawks and Raiders last season. Moving on from Jones further signals the team’s intention of relying on younger options like Cam Taylor-Brittand rookies DJ Turner and DJ Ivey in the secondary.
Losing Adeniji (unless he clears waivers and is retained via the practice squad, as will no doubt be the case for many of the players listed above) would leave the Bengals thin along the O-line, especially in light of the Collins news. The 2020 sixth-rounder has experience at multiple positions up front, but his level of play has been a contributing factor in the team’s urgency in pursuing free agent blockers in recent years.