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As soon as the Jets broke camp this past summer, it became clear that their plan for the 2016 season was to have a redshirt rookie QB (named Zach Wilson) learn from the bench. The Jets do not have a veteran QB on their roster (nor on their roster from last year) that can help this young QB learn the ropes of the game of football.
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – A look at the events surrounding the New York Jets:
1. On time? General manager Joe Douglas has done a good job of surrounding rookie Zach Wilson with players and using second-, third- and fourth-round picks to build the offense, but the quarterback-creation project is still missing a key piece: an experienced quarterback/starter/coach for Wilson.
The ideal candidate is Nick Foles of the Chicago Bears, who is apparently expected to be outnumbered after QB1 Andy Dalton is backed up by first-round pick Justin Fields. Foles, 32, has lost nine of his 11 starts in the past two years, but he and Douglas share a strong bond: a Super Bowl they won together in 2017 as members of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Jets should bet on Foles, who has two years and $12 million left on his contract, $9 million of which is in guarantees. Clearly, the two teams need to come to a financial agreement, as the Jets have no interest in negotiating this contract in its current form. They can wait for the Bears to delete him and hope they do, but it will cost them more to release him than to keep him – whether that deletion comes after the 1st round or not. June or not.
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Wilson needs a veteran to help him grow, and the Jets have none on their roster. The other quarterbacks are James Morgan and Mike White, who did not play in the regular season. Foles is known as a team player who can work in the offense when called upon. They recently met with free agent Brian Hoyer, also a good guy, but he hasn’t played effectively in years.
The Jets would love to use Wilson as a starter in Week 1, but there are no guarantees. Of the last 11 quarterbacks drafted in the top 10 since 2017, only three have been starters in Week 1 – Joe Barrow (Cincinnati Bengals), Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals) and Sam Darnold (Jets).
I’m really happy with the guys we have, Douglas said Saturday when asked if he needed a veteran in the quarterback room. Coach [Robert Saleh] and I will discuss it together. When the dust of this draft settles, we will talk about each [position].
2. A party of three: The Jets’ three best players – Wilson, guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and receiver Elijah Moore – are all in the top 25 and should play important roles as rookies. When was the last time you could say that about one of their designers?
3. It’s an eye-catcher: The concept of building around a starting QB is a general trend in the league. Of the eight teams that selected a quarterback in the first three rounds, six had a quarterback selected along with a new offensive lineman, setting a new league record for drafts (since 1967). Darnold must be asking himself: Why didn’t they do this for me?
4. Joe’s going to O: Douglas creates his own team trends. Before his arrival, the Jets were known as a defensive-minded team that used 300-pound linemen for first-round picks. Look at this:
Douglas’ two picks include the five highest-paid players on offense – Wilson (No. 2), linebacker Mehi Becton (11), Vera-Tucker (14), Moore (34) and receiver Denzel Mims (59).
It’s called adjusting to the new NFL.
5. A big trade: If you want a trade for quarterback Jamal Adams:
Two of the four picks the Jets received from the Seattle Seahawks (#23 and #86 in this year’s draft) were traded to the Minnesota Vikings for Vera Tucker. The Jets converted half of the trade for Adams to a 6-foot-4, 308-pound guard who will be a starter from day one – and they still have Seattle’s first- and fourth-round picks in 2022.
He’s going to be an All-Pro quarterback, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said of Vera-Tucker. He’s just one of the safest choices in the entire selection.
The downside is that the Jets don’t have a third round pick. Douglas considers these players to be freshmen or probable starters. It’s hard to lose two of them, especially for a team with so many holes, but they were determined to get Vera-Tucker. He was one of the top ten players on their list. Douglas was so excited that he greeted everyone in the newsroom.
Watch the best moments of midfielder Elijah Moore’s career at Ole Miss College.
6. A hard lesson: Moore’s low point in his career at Ole Miss was the 2019 Egg Bowl game, when he celebrated a touchdown by pretending to pee like a dog. The rude gesture resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, set the team back and led to an extra point in a one-goal loss. He was questioned about this by all the teams that interviewed him during the selection process.
Douglas said he was sure it was just a one-time incident. Moore, who spoke to reporters after the game, expressed remorse and said he had learned a lot from the unfortunate incident.
7. Did you know that? The Jets have the longest streak in the league without a Pro Bowl pick on offense. The last draft, which should have produced one player, produced two: guard D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold in 2006.
8. City of Knapp: BYU legend Steve Young, an unofficial advisor to Wilson and his family during the selection process, hopes Zach can change the franchise’s dismal quarterback history. One reason is the presence of Greg Knapp, the Jets’ pass game specialist. Young and Knapp have a longstanding relationship: Knapp was an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers for several years when Young was the starting quarterback in the late 1990s.
I told her father, Mike Wilson: If I had a son and I would coach him and help him become a better football player, I would want Greg to be a part of that, Young told ESPN. This is a great advantage.
9. You don’t say: Wilson and Darnold share a common bond: Josh McCown, the former Jets quarterback who coached Darnold as a rookie in 2018 (and is still there). Before the draft, Wilson called McCown to ask him what to expect from the quarterback’s play in New York. McCown, who grew up in a small town in Texas, told her how he fell in love with the place after having his doubts about the big city. He also praised the Jets’ rebuilding efforts under Douglas.
I was very happy to hear him say that, Wilson said. It gives you the confidence to go, and it was very reassuring to know that I would be in a good situation.
A guy from college took my stuff….
Swag is a mindset, swag is a mentality. I tried to talk to some of the guys in the locker room about it. Swagger is not what you have on your backpack SUPREME…..
The real attraction is owning your inner self ~ @AaronRodgers12 #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/DnTqvigdwk
– Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) December 15, 2020
10. A-Rod: Wilson grew up in Draper, Utah, and was idolized by Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers. He still speaks of Rodgers with reverence, but a light-hearted comment about him last fall turned into an affair. said Wilson in an interview: He’s my friend. But as for his clothes, the way he dresses, he doesn’t have it. He’s got nothing. The rumors reached Rogers, who responded to the Pat McAfee Show.
A colleague scolded me for my attitude, and Rogers told me Attitude is a state of mind.
11. Coach says: Saleh’s mantra – Gas only, no brakes – is what he carries and says. When he was on the phone with the called up players, he mentioned the term full throttle. When he met Wilson at the center Friday, he was wearing a black T-shirt that read: Only gas, no brakes. Get used to it, you’ll be hearing it a lot in the coming months.
12. The last word: We tried to market for Elijah and Michael Carter, with Douglas choosing Michael Carter as a running back (North Carolina) and Michael Carter as a fullback (Duke).
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