It is the hot topic of the NFL offseason, especially in the Tri State Area, and you cannot go a day without one of the talking heads on TV bringing it up. Who is going to be playing Quarterback for the Green & White in 2023? With this weeks news of Derek Carr's release and Aaron Rodgers embarking on his ayahuasca journey of darkness, the talk of who the Jets will go after has heated up. Those two, while on the top of the wish list, are not the only options however, as Jimmy G, Ryan Tannehill, and others are also on the table for New York's (least) favorite franchise.
Let's start with the top of the wish list for most fans, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is about to take off on his aforementioned ayahuasca journey of darkness that he will supposedly emerge from with a clear mind and a new team. Rodgers is clearly the most talented of the Jets potential options, although he does not come without risk. He is the oldest of the bunch at 39 years old and has already seen what appeared to be a dip in his play this past season statistically. Rodgers failed to get the Packers into the playoffs despite being in the far softer NFC. This could be attributed to the loss of star receiver Davante Adams, but a QB of Rodgers talent level should be able to overcome this type of change in offensive personnel. Rodger's age not only runs the risk of a drop off in play, but also guarantees a shorter timeline of contention for the Jets. At the most you are getting 1 maybe 2 years of Rodgers prior to retirement, while the other options will give you at least 3-4 years of serviceable play unless a better, younger option presents itself prior to the completion of the 4 year timeline. Rodgers is also the only Quarterback on this list that will cost you draft capital, and while it may not cost as much as once expected, the Jets would still have to cough up a second rounder or conditional 2024 first at the very least. Despite all these negatives, Rodgers is still one of the most talented Quarterbacks of all time who has won a Super Bowl and is only one year removed from back to back MVPs.
The next best option, in the opinions of many, would be recently released, former Raiders QB, Derek Carr. Carr is only one year removed from getting a tumultuous (to say the least) Raiders squad into the playoffs. However, he is also coming off the worst year of his career despite being reunited with college teammates and super star wide receiver Davante Adams. This regression from Carr can be attributed to a handful of things, chief among them was a shaky offensive line, something that the Jets have experienced in the not so distant past. However, Carr will not cost the Jets anything besides the almighty dollar, leaving them with the draft capital to continue to improve their o-line giving Carr the foundation he did not have in Las Vegas in order to succeed. That is the major sell for Carr, he is an above average Quarterback with a track record of getting teams to the playoffs that will ultimately not cost you draft capital.
The next two options I will group together, as they will both be considered disappointments by the fanbase. I am referring to Jimmy G and Ryan Tannehill. Jimmy G seemed like a far more likely option earlier in the season prior to yet another season ending injury and the firing of Jet's OC Mike LaFleur. Jimmy still has a history of leading a defense coached by Robert Salah to the Super Bowl, so I would imagine there is still some affinity remaining for the 31 year old in the coaches office. Garoppolo's injury history, potential price tag (closer to Carr's than people want to admit), and the fact that he succeeded under Kyle Shanahan (which seemingly anyone can) make Jimmy G the low man on the totem pole for this QB wish list. The final option on this short list of veteran Quarterbacks is Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill, similar to Rodgers, is not a free agent currently, but unlike Rodgers he is very likely to be cut this off-season. Tannehill is what many Jets fans on Twitter have been calling the definition of mediocrity, as he has been benched and passed over in prior instances in his career and many have attributed all his recent success to having Derrick Henry to hand the ball to. These things could all be very true, however, this is still a Quarterback who has been to an AFC title game (and damn near made a second) and secured a number 1 seed in the AFC in the not too distant past. The selling point for Tannehill is similar to Jimmy G, he has had previous success with teams that have a similar makeup to the Jets, and despite not being the main reason for that success, the Jets are not necessarily asking for their QB to be that with how their current roster is made up. Tannehill will also be the cheapest option of these 4 while also not costing draft picks, leaving the most amount of resources to continue to fill out the roster for a post season run.
After mulling all the potential pros and cons for each Quarterback I have come to my personal decision as a Jets fan. I want Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is the highest risk option on the table. That being said, he is the only one who can legitimately get the Jets to the level of the Chiefs, Bengals, and Bills in the AFC. If Rodgers can be acquired while holding onto the 13th overall pick, assuming the package is built around a conditional 1st or second round pick in 2024 amongst other lower value picks, and he returns to his 2021 form the Jets can compete for a Super Bowl. Sure, you run the risk that last year was a sign of things to come and his regression continues in 2023 leading to yet another playoff miss for the Jets and more than likely no first round pick in the following 2024 draft to compound it. Something that is not on the table with the other candidates. However, this game is about winning Super Bowls, when you have a window to go potentially win one, no matter the risk, you take it. Derek Carr is a great backup option. He does not cost you draft capital, he probably gets you to the playoffs, and might even win you a game. He is not however, winning you a Super Bowl, and for that reason, I want to go all in. A Rodgers acquisition could also allow you to kick the tires on an Alex Smith esque bounce back from Zach Wilson after sitting and learning behind Rodgers for one to two years (I realize this is unlikely but Rodgers allows you to not give up on Zach completely). Knowing the Jets, this will all blow up in their proverbial face, but if you are running that risk regardless, might as well swing for the fences. Acquiring Rodgers is just the home run swing this franchise and fan base needs right now.