The New York Jets have made it obvious they are going to explore the veteran QB market this offseason, and there have been some names rumored to the Jets in the past couple of weeks. With some quarterback decisions likely coming within the next week, we’re going to highlight the stats of almost every veteran possible starting quarterback for the Jets in 2023 – highlighted by the three most realistic options of Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers, and Jimmy Garoppolo.
We divided our list of 14 possible QBs into 5 tiers –
Stats key: GP = games played, Comp % = completion percent, Pass Yds PG = passing yards per game, AY Per Att = air yards per pass attempt, YAC Per Comp = yards after the catch per completion, % Games Scoring 19+ = percent of games the QB’s offense has scored 19+ points (*The 2022 Jets defense allowed 18.6 points per game)
1) MOST REALISTIC AND SOLID
These are the 3 names that have been circling around for a while now, and they are all solid options who would instantly make the Jets playoff contenders.
In his nine years with the Raiders, Derek Carr has been a respectable quarterback who’s been consistently let down by his defense. At 31 years old, Carr’s only won 44% of his games, but he’s the prime example of the saying “wins are not a quarterback stat”. The Raiders defense’s 26.3 points per game allowed with Carr is the most under any quarterback in NFL history. In fact, the Raiders defense has never been ranked above 20th. Carr moves the ball downfield, and ever since getting Davante Adams in 2022, has been throwing the ball further downfield.
Probably the most superbowl-or-bust quarterback on this list, Aaron Rodgers has had a stellar career with the Packers, and he’s probably got 2 years of good football left if he decides to play. He’s super accurate and is one of the best at taking care of the ball, but his 2022 season was much different given the newness at the wide receiver position that consisted mostly of 3 rookies and Allen Lazard. But his offense has put up 19+ points in nearly 80% of his career games. With playmakers Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, Rodgers should get right back on track of where he left off of his back to back MVP seasons.
One of the more riskier solid QB options, Garoppolo has been great under the Shanahan system with weapons like Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and a consistently strong run game. He doesn’t throw the ball super downfield, but his 6.6 yards after the catch per completion is nearly a yard more than the next best on this list. He could be more of a product of the strong playmakers around him and he has some injury concerns after 3 season ending injuries in the past 5 seasons. Nevertheless, he’s super accurate (67.6% completion) and great at protecting the ball, two things that Jets QBs have struggled with.
2) DIVING INTO THE UNLIKELY TRADE MARKET?
Hear me out, these are unlikely to happen and giving up too much draft capital would likely be off the table for Joe Douglas, but I’m sure any Jets fan would be completely content with any of these four names.
Lamar would take a huge trade package to acquire, but the former MVP is the biggest dual threat quarterback on this list. He doesn’t average as much passing yards per game as others (which is also a testament to his lack of receiving options), but his rushing ability makes it worth it. The Ravens offense with Lamar under center has put up 19+ points nearly 90% of the time. He has had season ending injuries the past two seasons, so it may not be worth the risk.
For me, Kirk is probably the most intriguing trade option for the Jets. He’s a very accurate passer (66.8% career completion %) and is going to move the ball downfield every game, averaging 261.5 passing yards per game. We’ve seen what he can do with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, so there’s no doubt Garrett Wilson will be a force to be reckoned with if Cousins is QB. His biggest downside is folding under pressure, especially in the big games.
Dak’s stats are almost identical to those of Cousins, being very accurate (66.6% career completion %) and averaging nearly 260 yards passing per game. However, his interceptions have become a problem, and they’ve essentially given Dallas the loss multiple times recently. Interceptions are not the most stable stat year over year, so there’s tons of room to improve in 2023. He has missed some time with ankle and thumb injuries in 2020 and 2022, but he’s overall a solid quarterback who will no doubt elevate the Jets offense.
Goff hasn’t really gotten the respect he deserves since he was included in the Matthew Stafford trade that sent Goff to the Lions along with multiple draft picks. He’s another quarterback who will move the ball downfield (the Lions had the 3rd highest passing EPA in 2022), but was held back by the Lions’ weak defense. He’s been healthy his whole career, but it’s unlikely that the Lions will want to move on from him now.
3) DISAPPOINTED FANBASE BUT NOT WORST CASE
The two quarterbacks in this tier are more of a “we couldn’t get one of our top 3 QBs” kinda guys, and it will definitely be a let down to the fanbase if either becomes a Jet, but it’s definitely not worst case scenario.
He’s 34, so on the older side, but he’s been a decent quarterback his whole career and even took the Titans to the number 1 seed in the AFC last season. He did have a down year this season after losing AJ Brown and having to throw to a bunch of rookie and unproven receivers (much like Rodgers), and an ankle injury ended his season after 12 games. With Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, who have the future potential to act as his AJ Brown and Derrick Henry, Tannehill could be a good fit for the Jets after they just hired his ex-OC Todd Downing.
Love is another intriguing option to me, but hasn’t had nearly enough snaps to get a full picture of his abilities. Either he or Rodgers will be available, and I believe he’s got a ton of potential to be a starter in this league. He’s only started one game in his career, but was a sub in about 7. His shining moment this season was against the Eagles this season when he led the Packers to a near comeback win.
4) NEARING WORST CASE SCENARIO
Although it’s not panic button worthy, these two quarterbacks should in no way be the Jets starting QB in 2023.
It would be funny if Mayfield plays for the Jets after being drafted two picks before Darnold, and I think he hasn’t been as bad a QB as he’s made out to be. He loves to throw the ball downfield (8.5 air yards per attempt), and Garrett Wilson can definitely be that downfield receiver for him, but he needs to get better at accuracy and protecting the ball. He had a lot of success with OBJ and Jarvis Landry while on the Browns, but hasn’t really gotten back into his groove after his torn labrum he played with in 2021.
A definite upgrade over Zach Wilson, White just doesn’t have a large enough sample size to decide on if he’s worthy to be a starting QB in the NFL. He’s had some standout amazing games over his 8 games played with the Jets, especially before his rib injury, but he needs to start cashing in those interceptions for touchdowns, since he’s the only QB on this list who’s thrown more INTs than TDs.
5) ABSOLUTE WORST CASE SCENARIO
If any of these three quarterbacks are starting Week 1 for the Jets in 2023, it’s time to hit the panic button. I don’t think Joe Douglas would do this to us, but we’re going to talk about them anyway.
A solid backup QB, I don’t know why Minshew has been rumored to the Jets. He’s not a terrible QB, but he’s not starter worthy on a win-now roster that’s basically just a QB away, and his 2022 stats in his two games with the Eagles are slightly skewed due to the strength at receiver for the Eagles. He would entirely fit the New York market, but he’s been a more conservative QB who won’t throw the ball downfield as much and isn’t that accurate.
Brissett is the most solid of this bottom 3, and he did have a decent first half of the season with the Browns before Watson came back (and he arguably played better than Watson). However, he also isn’t that accurate and has trouble accumulating the passing yards that the Jets offense needs to be competitive in the NFL.
Oh the irony if Darnold comes back to the Jets. He’s the least accurate QB on this list (59.7% career completion %), and isn’t careful with the football. He’s proven he wasn’t a good fit with the Jets offense in the past, and he shouldn’t be considered to be successful on the Jets in the future.