New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas, head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LeFleur have publicly pledged to continue helping Zach Wilson develop as a quarterback.
Whether or not Wilson starts under center for the Jets in 2023, however, is a whole other story.
It was a tough second season for the former No. 2 overall pick, one in which he was benched twice for substitutes Mike White and Joe Flacco. Still, Saleh said he wasn’t ready to cut the bait on Wilson just yet.
“It’s about having faith in the person you’ve assessed, the person you’ve spoken to, the person you’ve invested in has the ability to go where you think they’re able to go. “Saleh said before the Jets’ Week 18 loss. at the Miami Dolphins. “The easy answer is, ‘Well, I’ll just get rid of him, go get someone new. The hard part is staying true to your beliefs and continuing to develop a young man that you know can be capable of anything, but again that comes with time.”
However, neither Saleh nor Douglas would commit to Wilson as the team’s starting quarterback next season amid speculation the team could bring in a veteran quarterback to compete with Wilson for a spot. starting role. Saleh only claimed that Wilson will have “a chance to compete” for the starting job, while Douglas said he and his front office will “explore every possibility we have to improve this team”.
Wilson himself was much more confident in his chances of returning to his role as the Jets’ No. 1 quarterback. If he has to fight a seasoned veteran for the job, Wilson has sworn he’s up for the challenge.
“I’m going to make this guy’s life hell in practice every day,” Wilson said. “I’m going to go out there and do my best to show the coaches that I deserve to be there. It’s not in a negative way, it’s in a positive way. It makes everyone better, hopefully.”
The Jets should have several options in the veteran quarterback market this offseason. The Raiders benched Derek Carr ahead of Week 17 and appear ready to release or trade the nine-year-old starter. Aaron Rodgers has not committed to returning to Green Bay following the Packers’ elimination from the playoffs on Sunday night.
[NFL Odds: Lines on Derek Carr’s next team, including Colts, Jets, Patriots]
Jimmy Garoppolo — whom Saleh and LeFleur have known from their time with the San Francisco 49ers — will likely also be looking for a new home. Lamar Jackson is still at an impasse in contract negotiations with the Baltimore Ravens.
However, Saleh is still publicly optimistic that Wilson’s best days in the NFL are ahead of him.
Craig’s Crystal Ball: Jets to keep Zach Wilson for 2023
“I expect him to jump into his third year and figure out how to handle everything,” Saleh said. “I think he’s going to have huge growth.”
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