NY Jets reportedly high on Sam Howell as potential backup QB

Sam Howell makes a ton of sense for the Jets

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The NY Jets learned the hard way the value of a reliable backup quarterback last season. The team is not expected to make the same mistake this year, as reports suggest the Jets will prioritize adding a competent backup QB.

The Jets have been connected to various veteran backup quarterback options, such as Ryan Tannehill, Jacoby Brissett, and Gardner Minshew, but one younger candidate has emerged as a possible target.

SNY's Connor Hughes reported last week that many in the Jets' building are seemingly high on Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell. "There are those in the Jets building who believe he can play," Hughes said about Howell.

Hughes noted that Howell would provide developmental upside to a Jets team preparing for life after Aaron Rodgers, and he'll carry a cap hit of under $1 million in each of the next two seasons. That makes him an appealing option.

The NY Jets should explore a Sam Howell trade

A fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Howell started the final game of his rookie season before being given an opportunity to be the team's full-time starter the following year.

Howell started all 17 games for the Commanders, finishing with 21 touchdowns and a league-leading 21 interceptions. The former North Carolina star showed flashes, but his inconsistencies and turnover problems proved to be an issue for his team.

Washington actually benched Howell following their loss to the Jets in December, but his replacement, Jacoby Brissett, was injured in practice before the next game, forcing Howell back into the starting lineup.

Howell may not be a starting-caliber quarterback right now, but he flashed his potential last season. The 23-year-old finished eighth in the NFL with 30 big-time throws (per PFF) in 2023, ahead of the likes of Patrick Mahomes, C.J. Stroud, and Justin Herbert.

His biggest issue remains his turnover proneness, but he offers enough upside as a passer to be a high-end backup QB. The fact that he's still young enough to be a developmental option and that he'd be one of the cheapest backups in the NFL is just the cherry on top.

Of course, this would require the Commanders to trade him, however. While most expect Washington to draft a quarterback in the first round, that's not a guarantee. Howell is still their de facto starter.

On top of that, the Commanders might prefer to keep Howell around as a cheap backup or even as a starting option if their rookie quarterback isn't ready to play Week 1. The Jets would need to make a trade worth their while.

Still, this report suggests that Howell has his fans within the Jets' organization. If the team opts not to pursue a veteran backup quarterback this offseason, they likely won't find many better alternatives than Sam Howell.