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3 New York Jets starting QB options to replace Zach Wilson in 2023

NFL: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets have a defense capable of winning playoff games and enough offensive weapons to become a well-rounded team in the years ahead. If Robert Saleh and Co. want this team to consistently compete for the playoffs, Zach Wilson needs to be replaced.

There remains an outside chance that Wilson makes significant strides this offseason and proves next summer that he can be a viable starting quarterback. As the 2022 season is proving, though, New York can’t waste any more time allowing draft status to decide its starting quarterback.

At the very least, Wilson hasn’t shown the volume of flashes necessary for New York to make a commitment to him as the starter. He needs to be thrown into a quarterback competition at the very least, but job security might shift that to a focus on simply upgrading at the position.

Related: Top NFL free agents 2023

While the 2023 NFL offseason is months away, we can get an early look at three potential New York Jets quarterback options next season.

Jimmy Garoppolo, free agent

NFL: International Series-San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

When Wilson suffered a knee injury early in the preseason and there were initial fears he suffered a torn ACL, Jimmy Garoppolo stood out as a trade candidate for New York. The veteran would provide stability at the position and he is familiar with Mike LaFleur’s scheme, making him an ideal fit for the Jets.

Scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, Garoppolo will be looking for an opportunity to be the unquestioned starter. While the Jets’ coaching staff might suggest the door could still be open for Wilson to become the face of the franchise, Garoppolo would erase that possibility.

Related: New York Jets QB Zach Wilsons struggled with ‘yips’ before 2022 season

This would be the perfect scenario for both sides. Garoppolo would fit perfectly into a run-first offense that is carried by Breece Hall and Michael Carter. It sets up a quick passing attack with a lot of play-action, tailored to Garoppolo’s strengths and what he does best in San Francisco.

A proven leader who can play up to the level of the talent around him, the Jets would immediately become a Wild Card team in the AFC with the possibility to deliver playoff upsets. Plus, New York could keep its draft picks.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos
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It’s become evident within the past week that accountability and leadership are problems for Wilson. There is an opportunity for the second-year quarterback to grow, but the lack of maturity and accountability are terrible combinations with poor on-field play.

Related: New York Jets schedule

The 2022 NFL season has demonstrated that Derek Carr won’t ever be a top-10 quarterback, but he is an above-average starter. Just as importantly for the Jets, he is one of the most well-respected players and leaders in the NFL.

While the Las Vegas Raiders have struggled this season, Carr is still playing at a fairly high level. Despite starting behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, the veteran signal-caller boasts the ninth-highest ESPN QBR (59.4) with a 15-5 TD-INT ratio and a 91.6 quarterback rating.

Las Vegas will be ready to move on from Carr this summer, wanting to turn the page and in desperate need of a fresh start. It could be the perfect opportunity for New York to land a top-15 quarterback and he might not cost more than multiple Day 2 picks.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

While the Tennessee Titans are contending right now with Ryan Tannehill, they are likely destined for another early exit in the playoffs. If that happens, it could make the decision with the veteran quarterback even easier.

Projected to be $15 million over the 2023 NFL salary cap, Tennessee would create $27 million in cap space by designating Tannehill as a post-June 1 cut. The possibility exists that he could return, but there would also be a high level of appeal to explore the open market.

Tannehill has played better football as of late, posting a 7-1 TD-INT mark with a 106.0 QB rating over his last five starts. It’s closer to the level of play witnessed in 2021 when he had a 106.5 QB rating with 33 passing touchdowns and a 65.5% completion rate.

The veteran quarterback is comfortable in a run-first offense and he still offers enough athleticism to make throws on the runs or to tuck the football when pressured and gain the first down with his legs. A reliable passer in terms of accuracy, he would consistently get the football to Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore, lifting the floor of the Jets’ offense. While Tannehill is far from an elite quarterback, the stability he would bring would make the Jets a better team in 2023.

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