The 2022 New York Jets had almost everything needed to contend, from a top-five defense -- ranked fourth in points per game allowed (18.6) and total yards per game allowed (311.1) -- to young, budding talent at running back (rookie Breece Hall, Michael Carter) and wide receiver (rookie Garrett Wilson. Elijah Moore).
However, they didn't have stability at the most important position, quarterback, with 2021 second overall draft pick Zach Wilson making nine starts while both Mike White and Joe Flacco started four games each. That instability did them in down the stretch, as they finished the year on a six-game losing streak, something that highly frustrated Jets owner Woody Johnson.
"What's the definition of frustration?" Johnson said Thursday, via The Athletic. "Frustration means you see the ingredients of success and they don't happen. If you're lousy, you can't be frustrated. But we have a great team, a great nucleus of young players getting better every day."
Johnson went on to specifically address Gang Green's quarterback situation, casting doubt on the way it was handled.
"No," Johnson said. "I don't think we did everything the right way."
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While alternating between Wilson on his rookie deal and affordable veterans like White and Flacco didn't make much of a dent on the team's salary cap, Johnson has now given head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas the green light to go after an experienced quarterback who may cost significantly more than what was spent on the position this past season.
"Absolutely," Johnson said when asked about allocating resources to improve his quarterback room. "We've got a cap of how much you can spend, but yeah. That's kind of the missing piece. Defense was an unbelievable story, you saw, from last place to close to the top. If you can do the same thing on offense, it looks pretty good."
Johnson's thirst for a reliable passer is understandable considering the Jets have exactly one 4,000-yard passing season in team history, and that was from Hall of Famer Joe Namath in 1967. Some of the top veteran quarterback names likely to available in March include the Buccaneers' Tom Brady, 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo, and Seahawks' Geno Smith.
It would be a stunner if Brady, a long-time New England Patriot, or Smith, a former Jet, came around, but the 31-year-old Garoppolo would make a lot of sense given his time with Saleh in San Francisco in which they reached the Super Bowl together when the current Jets head coach served as the 49ers defensive coordinator. Three-time Pro Bowler and Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, also 31 years old, could also be had via trade, as he tweeted a goodbye letter to Raiders fans Thursday.