Four snaps. That's how long Aaron Rodgers lasted as quarterback of the New York Jets until everything went horrifically awry. Many believed things would go wrong with Rodgers and his new team after the hype level reached critical mass over the summer. But nobody could've guessed that he would go down with what is likely a season-ending injury on the first drive of the season. It may even be career-ending. And so, less than five minutes into the first quarter of their season, all the Jets' hopes went down in a nuclear explosion of flames and sorrow.
As sickening as last night was for the fans of Gang Green, the non-quarterback parts of the roster proved they were ready to win games. This is not a sorry Jets team that needed to be uplifted by its QB. The defense is elite and Garrett Wilson is an obvious superstar in the making. Breece Hall is already there. They have a legit shot at making the playoffs if their quarterback is a guy who doesn't turn the ball over and keeps things on schedule. Unfortunately right now their quarterback is Zach Wilson, a guy who definitely cannot do either of those things.
Thus it makes sense for New York to explore other options outside the building. Here are five potential options for the Jets to replace Rodgers.
Look, everybody is going to say it, so we have to. The greatest quarterback of all time coming back to play for his longtime divisional rival? That's the sort of thing that gets people to genuinely believe the NFL is scripted. Plus Brady already unretired once and the Jets (other than the fact that they are the Jets) fit the profile of a team he would theoretically unretire for-- an elite defense ready to win big games and a pair of electric playmakers on the offensive side. On the other hand, the offensive line is the worst unit on the team, which would be a somewhat significant issue for a 46-year-old man. Can't rule it out, though!
Newton is still an active player, much to your surprise I am sure, and is a free agent right now pretty much because he will not be a backup quarterback. The 34-year-old still believes he is a starting-caliber player. And while that's probably not true he could be what the Jets need. Newton would bring his patented swagger to a team in need of a confidence boost and his ability to run gives the Jets' offense a relatively steady floor in comparison to some of these other options. He did look really, really bad throwing the ball the last time we saw him on the field, but the Jets would be wise to kick the tires. They don't need an explosive offense. They just need an okay one. And Newton might be able to provide that.
Wentz was last seen practicing in a horrific conglomeration of all the apparel he's earned from the various teams he's played for over the years. The Jets might give him another shade of green to add to his collection. He was bad the last time we saw him on the field, to be sure. Wentz was bad in all the ways we've seen him be bad over the years while he was never once good in the few good ways we've seen him be good. In many ways he is the polar opposite of what the Jets need. Really he's just a larger Zach Wilson with a slightly better pedigree. But maybe, just maybe, getting blown off by every QB-needy team in the league this offseason was the wakeup call he needed. And if so, the Jets could get some decent play out of him for cheap in a time of their greatest need.
Yeah, we know it's not going to happen. Kaepernick is 35 years-old and hasn't played a snap of football in any capacity in seven years. How wild would it be if this was the reason he came back, though? Hard to imagine Woody Johnson of all people but being around Aaron Rodgers does strange things to the mind. Maybe this finally qualifies as a situation desperate enough that an NFL team will give Kaepernick another shot. Probably not. But maybe.
Minshew has been considered arguably the league's best backup for the last two years and is once again second on the depth chart in Indianapolis, backing up 2023 fourth overall pick Anthony Richardson. Colts head coach Shane Steichen loves the guy but one has to think they'd pick up the phone if the Jets called. Minshew played a few games last year in relief of Jalen Hurts and did an alright job, admittedly with an elite supporting cast, 663 yards passing and three touchdowns to three interceptions in two games. He is one of the better options the Jets have at their disposal but they may not be willing to fork over the draft capital required to get him after the Rodgers trade.