Zach Wilson Is the Beneficiary of Massive Jets Roster Void

Zach Wilson BYU

Getty Former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson going through some pre-snap reads.

The New York Jets don’t have a legitimate backup quarterback on the roster and right now that’s great news for rookie passer Zach Wilson.

Throughout rookie minicamp and voluntary OTAs thus far, Wilson has received every single starting rep. Those reps are absolutely invaluable to his development and preparation for his official debut Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers.

“Zach seemed really comfortable,” New York Daily News Jets reporter DJ Bien-Aime on Wilson’s debut at OTAs in front of the media. “Just knowing what to expect and what he’s going to see out there he made some really good throws. Granted it’s in shorts and a t-shirt but the velocity was there on his throws. Wilson looked under control and had command of the huddle.”

Complete Inexperience in the QB Room

Part of the reason the former BYU star has received every snap is because of Wilson’s draft status (No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft). He was a highly regarded talented prospect coming out of college.

Although the bigger and more obvious reason Wilson is getting every opportunity is by default.

Look at the rest of the depth chart for Gang Green:

  • Mike White (entering his third professional season)
    • Has never suited up in a regular-season contest.
  • James Morgan (entering his second year with the Jets)
    • The former fourth-rounder out of FIU was inactive during his entire rookie campaign and has yet to see the gridiron.

Right now it’s perfectly okay that this is the depth chart.

As Jets head coach Robert Saleh said, a veteran would just “eat up” reps during an OTA presser. Of course, he was talking about his cornerback room, not his quarterback room, but the point remains.

At this point in the offseason, a veteran quarterback would simply hinder the progress of a young quarterback trying to learn.

Hopefully, That Situation Changes Soon

Although the Jets would be absolutely bananas if they started the 2021 NFL season with that level of inexperience at the game’s most important position.

Football is a violent sport and injuries are a part of the game.

The last time the Jets went through an entire season with a single starting quarterback was in 2015 with Ryan Fitzpatrick. He started 16-of-16 games that year and finished with a record-breaking campaign: 3,905 yards and a 31-to-15 touchdown to interception ratio.

It hasn’t happened in over five years and with the NFL expanding its schedule to 17 games in 2021, the chances are even greater that the Jets will need the assistance of a backup quarterback at some point next year.

They simply can’t rely on two guys in White and Morgan who have never played in an NFL regular-season game before.

So who’s left?

Well, the pickings are pretty slim at this point, but we’re about to get an injection of new life into free agency. After June 1, teams can release or trade veterans and designate them post-June 1 players which allows NFL teams to spread the cap hits over two years.

One of those players the Jets have been waiting for is veteran quarterback Nick Foles. He’s currently on the Chicago Bears roster, but he doesn’t seem to fit their quarterback room.

Chicago drafted Justin Fields out of Ohio State in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft and they added long-time veteran Andy Dalton during free agency. It would be strange to carry two veterans with their current price tags.

Rich Cimini of ESPN recently suggested the Jets execute a post-June 1 trade for Foles “for a late-round pick, with the Bears agreeing to pay a chunk of the $9 million in remaining guarantees.”

Right now Wison is the beneficiary of the current void in the quarterback room. Although by the time we reach training camp in late July, it’s paramount that the Jets add a reliable backup quarterback that can not only step up in a pinch but can also provide some mentorship for the young passer out of BYU.