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NFL Draft

Where Do Jets Go From Here Without Zach Wilson?

  • The Draft Network
  • October 24, 2021
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Fresh off a bye week, the New York Jets entered Foxborough fresh, rejuvenated, and primed to compete.

Or, so we thought.

A matchup labeled as a showdown between two first-round quarterbacks, Mac Jones, the No. 15 overall pick in April, obliterated Zach Wilson’s now 1-5 Jets, 54-13. To add injury to insult, Wilson, the second overall pick in April, was examined in the medical tent before leaving the field in the second quarter with what is believed to be a PCL injury.

It’s officially gone from bad to worse for first-year head coach Robert Saleh, whose unit has gone from a potential season-altering victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 to two consecutive losses where his defense has allowed 81 points combined to the Atlanta Falcons and the Patriots. But for Wilson, his future under center—at least for this year—is now up in the air following an injury where the BYU product described his knee as “loose” after Patriots edge rusher Matt Judon awkwardly landed on him after releasing a pass downfield. Deciphering his statement remains a mystery that only time will tell, but with 51 yards on 10 attempts, Wilson’s day was over before it started, and it only got worse following his departure.

Exactly who aligned behind Wilson entering training camp this summer, and the season, remained a massive question as Saleh steamrolled into his first campaign pressing the buttons in New York. As the Jets entered camp with James Morgan and Mike White set to spell Wilson in case of injury, it was White, a former 2018 fifth-rounder for the Dallas Cowboys, who was called upon in Wilson’s departure against New England. Despite the Western Kentucky alum totaling 202 yards through the air and his first career touchdown pass, White threw two picks and amassed a 64.8 QBR in nearly three quarters of play against Bill Belichick’s defense.

The lack of a veteran passer leaves Saleh in a ditch without a shovel, and with upcoming games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, and Buffalo Bills, the Jets have nowhere to go but down. How long Wilson stays out remains to be seen, but as far next week against the Bengals is concerned, it’s White’s team to lead, and god help the Jets.

Scouring the free-agent QB market doesn’t offer many favors, either. Cam Newton headlines the class, but Robert Griffin III, Blake Bortles, and Ryan Finley all remain without homes, and it would be far-fetched to imagine any of them coming in and proving competitive against the Jets’ upcoming schedule. Newton and Griffin III could offer some dual-threat ability, which could, in turn, provide some flash to a Jets offense in need of life, but it doesn’t make sense right now for a team on a slippery slope with future seasons in mind. 

Watching the face of your franchise go down in Week 7 is something you never want to see, especially in your first year leading an organization, but Jets fans, take a deep breath, this isn’t the end of the world. You’ve probably already begun mocking players and predicting the Jets’ 53-man roster next fall. With the seventh-most projected cap space next spring and two first-round selections within the top 15 picks as of the writing of this article, I beg you to keep your chin up toward the horizon; Saleh will get them right. While Wilson’s injury is unfortunate, and at this point, seemed inevitable considering the way the ball has bounced for the Jets through six games, there are much, much brighter days ahead for a franchise building the right way under the right voice of reason.

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