It has been a busy week in New York Jets land despite the NFL Playoffs raging on without them. Between the quarterback speculation, ongoing offensive coordinator search, projected cuts, new contracts and more — there’s plenty to talk about and our writers Paul ‘Boy Green’ Esden Jr and Michael Obermuller are back to debate it all.
Today’s NYJ mailbag will touch on the best “Plan B” at quarterback, potential false alarms in the OC department, QB/OC predictions, and top 2023 cut and restructure candidates. Most recent mailbags:
- Week 74: Jets 2023 QB1 (Dreams vs Reality), first ‘fire’ & priority free agents.
- Week 75: FAs destined to depart, success or failure this year & 2022 regrets.
- Week 76: Questions for Joe Douglas, which coaches are getting fired?
- Week 77: Best/worst replacement for Mike LaFleur, crystal ball predictions.
Do the Jets Have ‘Plan B’ at Quarterback, OC?
1. Let’s say the Jets fail to land an unquestioned starting quarterback (Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson, Derek Carr, Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, etc.), what should be their ‘Plan B’?
How far is the nearest bridge? I’m kidding… well, sort of. It is paramount that the Jets land a proven guy because a lot of jobs depend on it. However, let’s play this dark twisted game for a moment.
The backup plan should be making a massive move up the 2023 draft board. I said I was done with young quarterbacks but this crazy what if scenario has forced me to get desperate!
The other options just don’t do it for me — like re-signing Mike White or going after a guy like Gardner Minshew. Something that would though is a Bryce Young out of Alabama or a C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State. I want to reiterate that this plan would be low on my priority list, but if this situation presented itself, I’d go all in on a massive trade-up in round one of the 2023 NFL draft.
Man, this is a tough one. I’m normally not against the idea of drafting another quarterback but given the Jets current situation, the last thing I want is to trade all of our draft capital to move up and select a kid, then fire the entire front office and coaching staff next offseason because it doesn’t work out in year one.
That is the absolute worst way to develop a QB and we’ve seen this last-ditch effort from general managers around the NFL in the past. Hell, we’ve seen it with the Jets! Having said that, the options are certainly limited in this scenario.
If you don’t land a big fish, you probably try and hook two small ones and hope for the best in a competition. Let’s say White and a Jacoby Brissett/Minshew with Zach Wilson as the QB3. The total uncertainty of this answer also proves why the Jets must go all-in on enticing a veteran.
2. Does it worry you that the Jets have not been able to lure many veteran offensive coordinator candidates in for interviews outside of Nathaniel Hackett?
Worry me? No, that would probably be too strong of a word. There were some guys like Bill Callahan who I was really interested in, but overall no.
I think something we have to keep in mind is phrasing. Were some of the candidates the Jets were trying to talk to looking for the OC role or the senior assistant gig? Instead of looking bad, they might just say instead they declined the conversation if you catch my drift.
Regardless, the big thing for the Jets is landing the right quarterback. If you do that, the OC selection is far less important. However, if you land a really good OC, you feel good about whoever will be the QB because that coach should be able to put that player in a good position to succeed.
I was ready to sound the alarm before this weekend. I’ve debated this with some fans, and it’s not meant to insult the Jets — but the fact is when you’re looking for a veteran OC and you only interview one play-caller with a wealth of experience in Nathaniel Hackett, that’s a cause for concern.
Now, that didn’t exactly change this weekend with interview links to young hot-shots Klint Kubiak and Joe Brady, but it did remind me that the search is far from finished — so I settled down slightly.
Side note, Joe Brady does have two years of NFL OC experience, similar to ex-Indianapolis Colts candidate Marcus Brady, and if Joe was willing to try again with the Jets, I think him and Hackett are my two top options at the moment.
Stepping Into the Shoes of Jets GM Joe Douglas
3. If you’re general manager Joe Douglas and you have to cut one 2022 starter this offseason, who would it be and why?
It has been nice knowing you, Corey Davis. He has easily been one of the most frustrating members of the Jets in franchise history.
Davis came in with a reputation as a relatively durable guy, who has reliable hands and can steady an offense. Quite frankly, the $37.5 million signing has been an epic waste of resources.
It is time to cut bait and move on. Maybe you can trade him to someone because his salary isn’t atrocious, but there is no question it is time to rip off the Band-Aid and admit you made a terrible mistake.
Davis would make some sense, but I’ve also seen the argument that because of the booming wide receiver market, he’s currently underpaid given his impact in the run game. I wouldn’t argue with a “C.D.” cut (saving $10.5 million in cap), but I’ll go a different direction.
The Jets should release veteran offensive tackle Duane Brown as a post-June 1 cut — or strongly urge him to retire! According to Over the Cap, a post-June 1 departure would save Douglas over $9.7 million in 2023 with minor dead cap hits to deal with.
I know, I know, have I learned NOTHING from 2022? You can never have enough OT depth, but Brown is overpriced and the Jets need the money, plus Douglas will likely draft a new first-round tackle in April — making the soon-to-be 38-year-old expendable. I’d also re-sign Cedric Ogbuehi on the cheap and add him to a room that’s getting back Mekhi Becton, Max Mitchell and Alijah Vera-Tucker (can play OT if needed).
With a new rookie or two, that gives you four or five solid options at O-tackle not counting the AVT emergency plan.
4. Again, thinking as Douglas, is there a contract/cap hit you’d work really hard to restructure (and keep) in 2023?
Easily Carl Lawson. I get how it looks on paper and he would be an easy target as a potential cap casualty, but the fans need to chill their blood lust for a second and think about something.
I tweeted a video from some end-of-season conversations with Lawson and he said the top thing he was looking forward to this offseason was getting back to football. Remember, last year he had to worry about rehab stuff and he didn’t do any real football activities until training camp. He had seven sacks last season despite that (most since 2017).
If he was able to produce like that after a compromised offseason, imagine what he can do with another offseason to recover. The coaching staff loves him, and I think you can either get him to take a pay cut or give him a mini-contract extension to spread the money around.
Lawson would be a good one to consider. Another is strong safety Jordan Whitehead.
I broke this down at great length recently, but Whitehead had a solid year one with the franchise despite some issues with missed tackles. You have to think that with another offseason learning the system, he’ll be even better in year two.
Having said that, you could cut Whitehead and save $7.25 million, but you’d have to replace him if you did and I’d rather replace Lamarcus Joyner in the draft. You need one veteran on the back-end and personally, I’d keep Whitehead around — but try like heck to lower that $10.2 million-plus cap hit.
The Jets should also try and figure out creative ways to shed cap on three contracts that they’re currently stuck behind the eight ball on — LB C.J. Mosley, G Laken Tomlinson and TE C.J. Uzomah. None of these really profile as cut candidates based on dead money but all three need some attention.
5. Gut call, predict the Jets’ 2023 quarterback and offensive coordinator at this stage of the offseason (January 23).
I’ve changed my mind on this a few times, but I haven’t changed my mind on the No. 1 guy I want to be under center. I’m saying Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will be QB1 in 2023.
I know it sounds crazy but every day I feel more and more confident about it. It would take a wild trade but we’ve seen it happen in the past (Brett Favre). He would immediately make the Jets a Super Bowl contender and it is exactly the exciting jolt the fanbase needs.
It would be easy to pair him with Hackett as the new OC, who the team already interviewed this offseason. This would be a match made in heaven!
I want to be clear, my personal favorite option would be Rodgers at QB but if I had to predict what will actually happen, I’ll stick with Derek Carr.
It just seems like out of the teams supposedly interested in Carr (Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina, Washington), none provide the potential upside of New York. I know the cons of playing quarterback in this city and maybe Carr wants no part of it — that’s hard to say one way or another right now.
What I do know is the upside. The Jets have more of an up-and-coming win-now roster than any name on that list of candidates above and they also have the cap space to pay him properly — rather than someone like the Bucs or Saints that are way in the negative.
If Carr is about winning and getting paid what he deserves, he should choose us, and the cherry on top is that we’ll make a call to his old pal Greg Olson or whatever OC he’d like to work with in 2023.