Jets quarterback options, ranked from best (Aaron Rodgers) to worst (Zach Wilson)

It’s been a long time since the Jets’ last franchise passerby, “Broadway” Joe Namath, donned the green and white. So long that the Bee Gees hadn’t released Nights On Broadway. Consider that.

Since then there have been no hits and many late nights on Broadway. Turns out, Mark Sanchez wasn’t the guy. Chad Pennington flirted with status before injuries derailed his career. Vinny Testaverde was a worthwhile veteran makeshift. Ken O’Brien is probably still being fired somewhere.

Zach Wilson was the last hope, but he turned out to be nothing but hype and left his own mark on Joe Douglas’ otherwise solid resume. Wilson’s ineptitude has put New York in a very difficult position: The Jets need to upgrade the quarterback in a meaningful way this offseason, which means targeting a meaningful name.

Because of that, there has been no shortage of recognizable passers-by associated with the Jets this offseason. Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and Lamar Jackson are all said to be connected to the Jets in some way.

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There are many options for New York, although not all are winners. Here’s how the Jets quarterback options would rank:

Jet’s QB options

The Capital W Worst: The Current QB Room (Zach Wilson, Mike White)

Despite the memes and jokes and overall terrifying performance for the 2021 No. 2, Zach Wilson’s NFL career isn’t quite over. He has at least two more years on his rookie deal, maybe three, depending on the Jets’ future decision to exercise his fifth-round option.

Barring something of an awakening this offseason with a new offensive staff in Nathaniel Hackett and Todd Downing, the Jets seem like an unfortunate idea with Wilson or the re-signing of fan-favorite Mike White. The team doesn’t have time to figure out if Wilson is the real deal given the massive leap the defense made in 2022, and White’s deeper numbers aren’t as good as the Jets fans’ excitement makes him seem.

With the defense already among the best in the NFL, they need a quarterback who’s at least capable of scoring some points. That’s not one of the guys on the list right now.

Not So Bad: Jimmy Garoppolo, Ryan Tannehill

Here’s the thing: In an alternate universe where the jets are going Average playing quarterback, they make the playoffs last season. Instead, they lost six straight to end the season, and a revolving door of poor QB play ended their once-promising campaign.

The signing of either Jimmy Garoppolo or Ryan Tannehill (should he go to the open market) means New York is betting on perfectly good, acceptable football from the quarterback. The should enough to get her over the hump.

In Tannehill’s case, there’s also the added bonus that he’s familiar with former Titans OC Todd Downing, who the Jets hired as their passing play coordinator. Familiarity, however, does not imply productivity and is certainly not a guarantee of success. Garoppolo also has plenty of durability questions and he would play behind an offensive line that will need big help this offseason.

Still, if the bar is “for the love of God, literally everyone but Zach Wilson,” both guys would be an upgrade.

OK, now we’re getting somewhere: Derek Carr

If the goal is an average quarterback game, then a move for Derek Carr would certainly fit that bill and then some. Carr has proven to be one of the league’s most underrated passers, having found himself in subpar situations in Oakland and Vegas, but whether or not he can really up an offense remains to be seen.

However, the Jets do have a slew of young, talented playmakers who would help lift Carr, not the other way around: Garrett Wilson was named Offensive Rookie of the Year, running back Breece Hall could have been part of that conversation had he stayed healthy — and Elijah Moore is practically begging for a new passerby.

Would the Jets want to get into a bidding war with the Saints, Panthers and others over Carr? It’s unclear, but it will cost a lot less than the next type on the list.

MORE: Derek Carr landing spots – Jets among the best fits

Franchise = Saved: Lamar Jackson

The safe money states that Jackson, a former league MVP, is worth every chunk of what an acquiring team would pay. But that doesn’t mean it’s risk-free. It would require a lot of draft picks, probably in the three first-rounder range and up. A deal for Jackson would also force the Jets to lease a fleet of Brinks trucks to pay him the contract he wants (and deserves).

However, there are questions. Not that anyone in the NFL is ever truly healthy, but Jackson has struggled with injuries over the past two years, the last of which kept him out in the wildcard for the final five games of the 2022 regular season and subsequent loss to the Bengals round.

It’s also debatable whether Jackson can effectively run a more complicated, pass-heavy offense given he spent the first five years of his career on Greg Roman’s run-heavy offense. He most likely can, but that’s more of a prediction than a certainty.

Quarterbacks of Jackson’s caliber don’t come along very often, and while there’s a good chance the Ravens will stamp him with the franchise label, there’s still a long way to go before his future is set in stone. Until that day comes, New York should be on the phone with the Ravens to see if an agreement can be reached.

Inject it straight into our veins: Aaron Rodgers

Oh damn yes. That’s it, that’s it. Imagine the four-time NFL MVP, who tears football and sips ayahuasca, wears a different shade of green and goes toe-to-toe with the New York media. Last but not least, Rodgers would win back Pages in New York (and maybe Page Six, too).

Jokes aside, there are a few reasons Rodgers to the Jets makes a lot of sense. Rodgers is nearing the end of his career, and the Tom Brady model — leaving a legacy with one franchise to cement it with another — has proven a viable option for quarterbacks. The Jets also hired well-known Rodgers sidekick Nathaniel Hackett as their new offensive coordinator, following his disastrous stint as Broncos head coach.

MORE: Aaron Rodgers rumors tracker – What you should know about Packers QB future

While Rodgers will be 39 when he picks up this season, he still has plenty on his hands, and his 2022 season speaks more to a depleted set of skills at Green Bay than to his own demise. Trading future picks without knowing whether or not Rodgers will fit past 2023 is also a risky proposition.

There’s also the hidden advantage of Zach Wilson. If the Jets really don’t feel like leaving Wilson this offseason (and, let’s be honest, who would want him anyway?), sitting behind his boyhood idol could put him in shape and at least give the Jets a QB option for a life after Rodgers. Having Wilson marinate on the bench behind Rodgers could be a boon.

Decisions must be made soon. Rodgers is somewhere pondering his future while sitting in a dark room – but maybe he could be the light at the end of the tunnel for the Jets.

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