Coming off the heels of a horrific game that was shockingly much worse than his first awful game against the New England Patriots this season, NY Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is facing an enormous amount of criticism from fans and media alike all across the country.
His performance was bad, but what many have taken issue with is his attitude after the game in which he came off as arrogant in the eyes of many and seemed to show no accountability for his part in the Jets' devastating 10-3 loss.
Up until this point, Wilson has been coddled to a degree, with the organization bending over backward to ensure he is happy and comfortable as the franchise QB of the foreseeable future.
With the defense playing as well as they are, the expectations and the window for Wilson have dramatically shifted. The Jets, who could've entered Week 12 as the leader in the most competitive division in football, are suddenly in win-now mode despite external expectations of a bottom-of-the-barrel season.
This was already proven when Joe Douglas traded for James Robinson within 24 hours of the diagnosis of Breece Hall's ACL tear. The defense continues to play lights out, but it's hard to win games if your QB is throwing for 76 yards in a whole game.
The Jets are locked into (most likely) Wilson, Mike White, and Joe Flacco for the rest of the year, but what about next year? If Wilson is to continue averaging sub-200 yards with less than 0.6 touchdowns per game, who will be the QB next year?
What we know almost for certain, is that the answer to this question is not currently a member of the Jets roster (sorry Chris Streveler fans!). The Jets would most likely have to look elsewhere, which fans are weary of because are they about to draft a third (!) first-round QB in five years!? Are they going to get involved in a potential Lamar Jackson sweepstakes?
Both of those would require costly assets to execute, and while Jackson is quite proven, the rookie QB method seems to be one the team can't quite seem to master (or even moderately succeed).
There are other options for sure, but let's look at the best possible choice that wouldn't cost a ton of assets but would give us a good, young QB that is capable of winning games.
Why Gardner Minshew makes the most sense for the NY Jets
Gardner Minshew is a guy who has found himself in some of the more unfortunate circumstances a QB can find themselves in. Despite being a 'backup' for consecutive years, he is already a proven starting-caliber QB that has been cast aside for two of the past decade's higher-profile draft picks.
Sure, the Jets could overpay Jimmy Garoppolo, but Garoppolo has zero rings as a starting QB with a far better roster in San Francisco than the one in New York. He could possibly get the team to the big dance, but he has two left feet — he proved unable to rise when they needed him most.
Minshew has moxie, an abundance of confidence, and that type of 'New York grit' we could all get behind as he makes the necessary plays and already has four game-winning drives under his belt in his seven wins as a starter.
At that time, he had D.J. Chark and Keelan Cole (remember him?) as his top options on the outside. Imagine what he could do with Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Braxton Berrios, and Denzel Mims.
Because he has stellar facial hair, people erroneously compare him to former Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Fitzpatrick was equal parts 'magic' and 'tragic.'
Fitzpatrick can only dream of the TD:INT ratio that Minshew has demonstrated his whole career. Minshew is almost all magic, in his 25 career starts he has thrown a touchdown in 22 of them and didn't throw a pick in 15 of them.
It cannot be overstated how impressive these stats are, especially given the horrible offensive line, playmakers, coaching, and defense that surrounded him in Jacksonville. He is a leader of men, he is not a game manager like Garoppolo. With the Jets, Minshew will be the reason they win games.
In his last game as a starter in Jacksonville, as it was a certainty that his employer was going to use the No. 1 overall pick on 'generational talent' Trevor Lawrence, Minshew made an absolute statement completing 19-of-20 passes and throwing three touchdowns en route to a 27-20 victory against the Colts.
We won't talk about what happened in his last QB start to date — it was against the Jets.
Simply put, there is no option that is as collectively young, talented, cheap, and experienced as Minshew. He is a starting-caliber QB who is currently the NFL's worst-kept secret.
If Zach Wilson continues his path of stellar ineptitude, Gardner Minshew might just be the right guy for the job in 2023 and beyond.