The silver lining for the NY Jets behind Zach Wilson failing

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It's the classic case of looking at the glass half full, but the reality is that, what has happened and is happening for the NY Jets in 2022 at the quarterback position, can be viewed positively.

The Jets getting their answers on two quarterbacks from different ends of the spectrum is a good thing for the franchise.

On the negative side, the harsh reality of Zach Wilson flopping harder than any presumed franchise quarterback since Browning Nagle was a bitter pill to swallow.

Once again, the Jets got it wrong at the most critical position in football. The team is forced to go back to the drawing board in what seems like a never-ending search for a star franchise signal-caller. 

Visions from the late-season ghosts of 2020 keep dancing in Jets fans' heads as they watch Trevor Lawrence make his ascent to stardom in Jacksonville. While at the same time, Wilson regressed and melted down as an NFL passer in every respect.

Jets enthusiasts are still smarting from the Frank Gore falling backward first down to beat the Rams and New York beating another 2020 playoff team the following week in Cleveland. Life as a Jets fan always comes down to being forced to suffer in the "what might've been realm."

Oh yeah, where was I? Glass half full right? The New York Jets may not have gotten the positive answer they wanted at quarterback with Zach Wilson, but it's beneficial for the franchise that they did.

A mediocre campaign from Zach Wilson in 2022 would have set the Jets on a path toward giving him another year to grow. Robert Saleh has predictably said all the right things, but the reality is that Wilson's time as the Jets presumed starting quarterback is over.

And truthfully, there is strong reason to believe that Zach Wilson will never wear a Jets uniform again.

The NY Jets and Zach Wilson deserve blame for the QB's shortcomings

Joe Douglas and the Jets entire brain trust got it wrong. They banked on Wilson's dynamic skill set as a thrower, but the organization failed to get him right. The passing of Greg Knapp didn't help matters.

The Jets neutering Wilson to play a conservative style didn't help, but ultimately, Wilson couldn't make the necessary progress as a player. He is broken — and the Jets didn't find a way to fix him. 

Each side shares in the blame. A change of scenery could rebuild Wilson over time. It just won't be with the Jets. Wilson will become someone else's reclamation project.

Thanks to some incredible roster-building through the draft, with some exceptional free agents mixed in, the Jets are a win-now team and are positioned to be a yearly contender for the postseason. The team is not that far away, adding dynamic players in 2022 to go along with world-beaters like Quinnen Williams. 

What Joe Douglas does next at quarterback will determine the fate of both himself and his team.

The Jets got their answer on Wilson's viability. Now it's time for them to find stability at the position. Rookie gambles won't be enough at this juncture. Any and every proven veteran quarterback that becomes available this offseason will be attached to the Jets.

Douglas, Saleh, and the staff won't receive the opportunity again to hitch their wagon to another neophyte quarterback. 2023 will be a make-or-break campaign for them.

Will Mike White be QB1 or QB1A in 2023 for the NY Jets?

Another benefit to Zach Wilson flopping mightily and exiting stage left during the late stages of the season is that it opens up a vital proving ground window for Mike White — albeit a smaller one, with only two weeks left to play — but a significant test nonetheless that will provide critical answers for the Jets organization moving forward.

Mike White has a grand opportunity these final two weeks to make a case to be the Jets presumed 2023 starter at QB heading into the offseason. However, there is the matter of White being a free agent this spring.

However, one has to figure that if he delivers the next two weeks and, perhaps in the process, magically leads the Jets to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, he would be anointed as the man.

A lot of what if's are included in this scenario, but at the bare minimum, you have to figure that White and the Jets would love to be back together again in 2023.

It's all contingent upon White not finding starting work elsewhere, but in New York, he'd have a chance to start and has a comfort level in the market with his teammates and the Jets coaching staff.

Even if White is back in a quasi-hold, the forte starting QB role, you have to figure that it won't preclude the Jets from entertaining any available veteran QB options next offseason. The potential names are all out there for consumption, and some are more realistic than others.

There's Derek Carr, Gardner Minshew, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, and Jimmy Garrapolo, for example. White and his representation are very aware of the possibility that his term as the team's starter could be short-lived.

The Jets quarterback room will look very different in 2023, no matter what happens. However, you'd like to see the Jets re-up Mike White for next season and beyond.

He's earned the right to continue with the franchise, and that's if he wants to when the smoke clears. White will be 28 next season. While that's not an optimum age, it's still very young in quarterback years.

The Jets got their definitive answer on Zach Wilson. They will indeed find out the ceiling for Mike White these next two weeks.

An improbable playoff-contending season heading into January would have been hailed as a triumph for the Jets this summer, but because of how things have unfolded at quarterback, it's left a sour taste on what should have been a fun season.

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Regardless, the bitterness of the Jets' discovery at quarterback now is what's best for the team heading into the new year. Better to know a complete truth now than to continue living a half-truth in the future.