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Next Steps for Jets After Season-Ending Aaron Rodgers Injury

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson

The New York Jets lost their starting quarterback for the season on Monday night. When I was the general manager for the Minnesota Vikings, we went through a similar situation when we lost Teddy Bridgewater before the start of the 2016-17 season.

Everyone wanted to know, “What are we going to do now?” As a general manager, you have to get over the initial shock of losing your starting quarterback.

In the case of the Jets, they have a championship-caliber defense, the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year (WR Garrett Wilson) and a strong run game with Breece Hall and the addition of Dalvin Cook.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas and company worked the entire offseason to assemble this roster. A roster, they felt, that gave them the best chance to contend for a Super Bowl this year.

Four plays into the regular season, all that work seems for nothing without Aaron Rodgers. So what are the team’s next steps?

Next Steps for Jets

The general manager, head coach and owner will discuss what to do moving forward.

They must determine whether Zach Wilson gives them the best chance to win and, if not, what other option is available. Regardless, they need to add another quarterback to the roster — in my opinion, a veteran quarterback.

The three must identify what type of quarterback they want to pursue. It would be hard to land a starting-caliber quarterback in a trade this early in the season because the NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint, and all 32 teams are technically still in the race after Week 1.

Let’s say Wilson is the starting quarterback going forward. He is most familiar with the offense, and the Jets have a high draft pick invested in him. I know he has had his struggles, but he is their best option.

Nathaniel Hackett’s job is to design a game plan that will give Wilson the best chance to succeed. This is where an offensive coordinator earns his money. I am sure the game plan vs. the Buffalo Bills was for Rodgers and that Wilson had limited reps in practice this past week, but going forward, he will get all the first-team reps in practice and a game plan tailored to his skill set.

The general manager meets with pro personnel staff to discuss quarterback options on the street and practice squads or potential trades. Here are the questions that must be answered:

  • Is Tim Boyle on our practice squad good enough to be a backup or do we have to go out and get a No. 2 quarterback?
  • Does the quarterback have to be familiar with our offensive system?
  • Do we want a veteran or another young player?
  • With our current roster ready to win now, how aggressive will we be from a draft compensation standpoint to make a trade? From experience, the price will be high.
  • How do we make a potential trade that will fit under our cap?
  • With our issues at offensive tackle, is the quarterback's mobility a priority?
  • Do we work out veteran, on-the-street quarterbacks before we decide to go after a practice squad quarterback from another team or pursue a potential trade?

Potential Options

Washington Commanders Carson Wentz

Street Quarterbacks Who Have Mobility

  • Carson Wentz
  • Colt McCoy
  • Chase Daniel

Street Quarterbacks Who Lack Mobility

  • Matt Ryan
  • Nick Foles
  • Trevor Siemian

Practice Squad: Potential Quarterbacks

Dallas Cowboys Cooper Rush

Trade: Quarterbacks with Starting Experience

It will be interesting to see what Douglas and the Jets do.

I anticipate they will be as aggressive as they can be. This roster was built to win — now.

Rick Spielman is a former general manager of the Dolphins and Vikings, and winner of the NFL Executive of the Year award by Pro Football Weekly in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @spielman_rick