So much so that every mistake Wilson made was amplified to another level during his rookie campaign. While the 22-year old’s season was far from perfect, there were plenty of flashes that showed a glimpse into the future.
Sadly not everyone felt that way at the conclusion of the 2021 season. One analyst believes the Jets should pull a drastic maneuver that could drastically impact their future.
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I’m Sorry, What?
The Football Outsiders panel came together to share a “bold, outside the box” offseason move for every team in the NFL this offseason on ESPN dot com.
Scott Spratt decided to go with an extremely far-fetched idea suggesting that the Jets should dump Wilson and “draft, sign, or trade” for his replacement.
He said that the marginal stats and win-loss record aren’t definitive evidence that Wilson is already a bust, but “there is a thin line between patience and over-commitment to a sunk cost.”
Spratt brought up the Arizona Cardinals as a team the Jets should look to for inspiration this offseason.
“The Cardinals provide precedent as a team that recognized and admitted its mistake in drafting a top-10 quarterback in Josh Rosen, and they quickly rebounded to win eight and 11 games in mulligan top pick Kyler Murray’s second and third years in the league.”
According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) metric, Wilson compared favorably to the likes of Blake Bortles, Dwayne Haskins, DeShone Kizer, and Geno Smith.
That data suggests that it is “unusual” for a quarterback to start there as a rookie and develop into an above-average starter later in their career.
In other words, Spratt is suggesting that the Jets simply bite the bullet and admit to their mistake this offseason and that might “shorten their rebuild.”
Absolute Ridiculous Nonsense
While there is some compelling analytics arguing why Wilson might not be the guy from Spratt, there is just no way this argument holds any water.
Wilson is the only quarterback under contract for the Jets in 2022 and even if they wanted to move on it wouldn’t be financially responsible to do so this offseason.
The former No. 2 overall pick would deliver a $28.8 million dead cap hit if the team decided to move on. That would be prohibitive and the move, in general, would be over reactionary.
Wilson didn’t have a lot of help around him. The offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur had never called plays before in his career. Gang Green was decimated offensively with injuries at every level. Plus throw in Wilson getting a PCL strain that knocked him out randomly for a month in the middle of the season, there is no wonder he struggled.
Although there are a few things to keep in mind and why Jets fans should be optimistic heading into next season.
The Jets are going to get better talent around him with four picks in the top-38 and being inside the top-five in cap space in the NFL this offseason.
Unlike all of the other coaches inside the AFC East, Wilson is actually going to have some continuity on the coaching staff heading into year No. 2. That means there should be less learning the playbook and more attempting to master it over the coming months.
When evaluating Wilson’s rookie season, the fairest way to do it is by splitting it into two parts.
In the first half of his rookie campaign (prior to his injury), he looked flustered and was trying to be Superman and find the splash plays.
After his injury and getting the opportunity to view the game from a different lens, Wilson cleaned up his act by limiting the turnovers and simply executing the offense.
Whether you like it or not, Wilson is going to be the starting quarterback for the Jets in 2022. This coaching staff and organization believes in him and the former BYU stud believes in himself that he will be the franchise quarterback that Jets fans have been waiting for a long time.