How could that be? The Jets made several offseason moves, especially in the NFL draft, to give Wilson the best chance at succeeding and become the Jets’ first legitimate franchise quarterback since Mark Sanchez. But according to King, they’ve forgotten to make one significant move.
Peter King ripped the New York Jets for not acquiring Nick Foles to mentor Zach Wilson
If King ran the Jets instead of writing a weekly column, he’d have already made a major splash involving the team’s quarterback room.
Jets fans might be surprised to hear that, for once, a prominent media member isn’t criticizing who the team drafted. During a recent appearance on Moose & Maggie on WFAN in New York, King instead ripped the Jets for not acquiring Nick Foles, the former Super Bowl MVP, from the Chicago Bears to sit behind Wilson.
“The Jets should have Nick Foles on their team. He has no place on the Chicago Bears, OK? And it’s ridiculous that he is still a Chicago Bear, and he’s not a New York Jet. That has to happen. … It’s preposterous to think that you should go into the season with Zach Wilson as your quarterback without a quality backup.”Peter King
Foles is currently third on the Bears’ depth chart behind Andy Dalton and Justin Fields, the 11th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
As of publication, the Jets had James Morgan and Mike White behind Wilson on the depth chart. Morgan, a fourth-round pick in 2020, did not play a single snap last season. White, who the Dallas Cowboys drafted in 2018, hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass since entering the NFL.
The Jets still have plenty of time to right the wrong and acquire Foles
Barring another transaction, the Jets will open the 2021 season without a quarterback on the 53-man roster who has thrown a pass in the NFL. That’s not what you want after selecting a quarterback in the first round for the second time in four years.
The days of drafting a quarterback and having him sit for a season or two are long gone. After losing out on Trevor Lawrence, the Jets did not use the second overall pick on Wilson so he could spend his rookie season wearing a headset and holding a clipboard.
The Jets have insisted throughout the offseason that they want Morgan and White to get preseason game reps. There’s nothing wrong with that philosophy, but it also shouldn’t stop the team from acquiring an experienced quarterback before the regular-season opener on September 12.
Foles has a pre-existing relationship with Jets general manager Joe Douglas dating back to their days in Philadelphia. The issue is that Foles has two years remaining on his current contract. He’ll make $4 million in base salary each year and has a $4 million roster bonus in 2022.
One can argue that is a lot of money for a backup quarterback who turns 33 in January 2022. But $9 million over two years might be the right price to pay a proven veteran who can serve as a capable backup and help a rookie quarterback adjust to the NFL.
What other quarterbacks should the Jets look into adding if they don’t trade for Foles?
For the sake of conversation, let’s assume the Jets decide Foles isn’t worth bringing in. At the same time, the Jets also accept that adding an older backup quarterback is the best move.
As of publication, the free-agent market isn’t exactly full of quarterbacks who fit that mold. The best option is probably Matt Barkley, another ex-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback. The veteran journeyman spent the last three seasons backing up Josh Allen on the Buffalo Bills.
Gardner Minshew is currently backing up Lawrence on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Although Minshew is cheap and has starting experience, he might fetch too high a price on the market. The same might be true for Kyle Allen, who might become available for the right price depending on how the Washington Football Team’s quarterback battle goes.
It’s hard not to agree with King here. If the Jets are smart, they’ll seriously explore bringing Foles into the mix for whatever the cost is. There is too much to lose by going into the season without having an experienced backup on the roster.