5. The ultimate silver lining to the NY Jets' 2022 season
The Jets got their answer at quarterback. It may not be the reality the team's brass wanted, but it's better that they know now rather than wait another year to embrace the harsh truth.
Zach Wilson isn't the answer. It doesn't mean he won't experience better days as a pro one day — see Geno Smith. Unfortunately, Wilson can't be entrusted with turning it around next season, and his journey back from the abyss will likely be with another team.
There are reports that Wilson could remain a Jet until training camp, but the best bet for both parties is moving on.
Mike White is a competent NFL quarterback. However, the Jets got their answer on whether or not he can be "the guy" moving forward. White doesn't possess the elite skill set that Wilson has. He's an adequate player lacking dynamic traits.
The reality of this was on full display in Seattle. White was given a test against the Seahawks to rise, and he failed.
As a result, the Jets now have to go out and sign or trade for a proven NFL starting quarterback. The list of names is out there for consumption, from Derek Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo to the ultimate pipedream of prying away Lamar Jackson from the Baltimore Ravens.
The latter would take a bevy of first-round draft picks and would be worth the bold commitment, but it's an "I'll believe it when I see it" scenario.
The Jets organization has been down this path historically. They try the young draft pick at QB that flops or fails to meet expectations, only to seek short-term refuge in a veteran. Browning Nagle led to Boomer Esiason. Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith led to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown. Chad Pennington led to Brett Favre, etc.
In terms of a veteran QB, whoever the Jets land has to be a long-term solution. He has to be more than just a temporary rental. Otherwise, the franchise will immediately be searching again. The next QB has to be a three-to-five-year solution. No longtime Jets fan wants to repeat the nightmare of Neil O'Donnell.
The Jets may not be back to square one again, but it sure feels like they could be headed back to that territory if 2023 matches the disappointment of 2022.
The harsh reality is that there are no guarantees that the Jets will be in the same position next season when January 2024 arrives. The assumption is that improved play at QB will ensure a playoff spot.
It would certainly help, but that's not how the NFL works. You are not guaranteed to be 7-4 again with six weeks to play. Each season is different from the last.
Woody Johnson, Joe Douglas, Robert Saleh, and the entire Jets organization have their work cut out for them. I wish I could lie and state that the groundwork was set in 2022 for a successful 2023, but it sure doesn't feel that way right now.