On Sunday night, scores of Jets fans went to sleep with the news that Derek Carr was likely headed to the Big Apple. Those same fans, however, were informed Monday morning that Carr was instead headed to New Orleans to play for the Saints. Such is life in today's NFL offseason, where things can change faster than a NASCAR pit stop.
Losing a player of Carr's caliber is surely a bitter pill for Jets fans to swallow. Carr may be gone, but the Jets still have several solid options at quarterback for the 2023 season. Let's examine New York's best remaining options at quarterback, with free agency and the draft just around the corner.
Aaron Rodgers still in play
Even when Carr was still an option, the Jets were reportedly waiting to see whether or not acquiring Rodgers from the Packers was an option. While Rodgers coming to New York is still slightly far-fetched, it is still a possibility.
First, it would obviously require Rodgers to continue playing, something he has not yet committed to doing. It would also require the Jets to come up with a trade that fits the Packers' requirements. It would likely take multiple first-round picks to obtain the four-time league MVP. New York would also have to take on Rodgers' massive salary that includes $59.4 million guaranteed for next season.
While acquiring Rodgers would be a steep price, it appears the Jets are willing to make such sacrifices in exchange for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Make a run for Jimmy Garoppolo
With Carr headed to New Orleans, Jimmy Garoppolo replaces him as the best available quarterback. While he has never made a Pro Bowl, Garoppolo led the 49ers to within a few plays of defeating the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. He also helped the 49ers reach the NFC title game in 2021.
A prototypically built quarterback at 6-2 and 225 pounds, Garoppolo's accuracy, quick release and penchant for taking care of the ball are his calling cards. Running and deep ball accuracy are among his weaknesses. The former Patriots' backup has also dealt with several injuries since his Super Bowl season. He missed 10 games due to injury in 2020 and 10 games (including the postseason) in 2022.
New York has some competition should it pursue Garoppolo. Ironically, the Raiders, who recently parted with Carr, appear to be the front-runner to acquire Garoppolo.
Make a run for Lamar Jackson
Rodgers may not be the only former league MVP the Jets could pursue. Things continue to go the wrong way regarding the Ravens and Lamar Jackson's contract. The Ravens are reportedly considering using the non-exclusive right franchise tag on Jackson, which would give teams a chance to negotiate with Jackson but would forfeit two first-round picks to Baltimore should it decline to match the offer.
One of the league's most electric players, Jackson would make Gang Green a surefire playoff contender. In New York, he would get a chance to join forces with reigning Offensive Player of the Year Garrett Wilson. Jackson would also be complemented by one of the NFL's top defenses.
Trade for Mitch Trubisky
The Jets would be wise to place a call to Steelers GM Omar Khan about a possible trade for Trubisky. Sure, Trubisky is not considered to be on the same level as Garoppolo. But unlike Garoppolo, Trubisky is a former Pro Bowler who in Chicago proved he is capable of taking a team to the playoffs.
The Bears made the playoffs twice with Trubisky during his four years in the Windy City. He then spent the 2021 season with Brian Daboll and Josh Allen in Buffalo. Trubisky started the 2022 season as the Steelers' starting quarterback but lost his job to then-rookie Kenny Pickett in Week 4.
Far too conservative during the season's first month, Trubisky looked like a different quarterback when he was called to play after being benched. He made several big throws in relief of Pickett during a win over the Buccaneers. Against the Panthers in Week 15, Trubisky enjoyed a highly efficient game that included running for a score in a Steelers win.
Trubisky may not be a star, but he's better than most of the non-top-tier quarterbacks who are currently available. He is also still a young player (he'll turn 29 in April) who often uses his athleticism to make plays. He also has intangible skills (he was voted a Steelers team captain last year) that would be a positive in the locker room.
If anything, the Jets could mimic what the Steelers did in 2022: acquire Trubisky while drafting his competition.
Draft a QB
Given their lack of success doing this, along with the fact they are currently stuck with the 13th overall pick, the odds of the Jets acquiring one of the draft's top quarterback prospects are slim.
Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud likely aren't options unless are able to trade up into the top-two spots in the draft. They in theory could trade up to try and select either Will Levis or Anthony Richardson, but both Levis and Richardson aren't projected as immediate starters, so the Jets would likely have to have someone else in place for 2023 anyways.