Jets owner Woody Johnson was among many at the 12th annual NFL Honors event on Thursday night in Arizona. It was a big night for Gang Green Nation, too. Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner took home Rookie of the Year honors, while Darrelle Revis and Joe Klecko were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But before the festivities were underway, Johnson was chatting on the red carpet. And as with just about every conversation involving New York these days, he talked about the Jets’ current quarterback situation.
The most interesting conversation occurred between Johnson and ESPN’s Dianna Russini. She specifically asked him about Aaron Rodgers, but since he’s under contract with the Green Bay Packers, there wasn’t a whole lot he could say on that front.
Johnson did say plenty about the Jets’ quarterback situation in general, though. And Zach Wilson — if you’re reading this, it’s probably best to just close out the browser.
When discussing how things went in 2022, the Jets’ owner didn’t mince his words (quotes via Sports Illustrated):
The weakness right now is in the quarterback position. Whether it was management or whatever, everybody kind of regressed a little bit so what we’re gonna do is we are gonna look for an experienced quarterback to come in and help us and help develop these other young players.
Whomever the Jets bring in, Wilson plans on “making that dude’s life hell” during practice each week. That’s the right mindset to have, but it’s not like he’s going to beat out Rodgers for the starting job. You know, if he decides to join the Jets after his darkness retreat.
When Russini tried to get some specifics out of Johnson, this is how he responded:
I think you want the best quarterback you can get to lead the Jets. I think with a good quarterback and our great defense… and a good running game. Our special teams is really good. I think it’s plug-and-play, when a quarterback comes in it’s kind of an ideal situation.
This isn’t the first time Johnson has mentioned the Jets’ roster in this way. During his end-of-season media availability, he essentially said that a capable quarterback was New York’s missing piece. He’s not totally off the mark here, as the Jets’ defense was among the NFL’s best in 2022, while the offense was toward the bottom of the league.
What struck me the most is the directness he used in speaking about 2022’s quarterback play. Johnson isn’t wrong, but Wilson also isn’t going anywhere and the Jets will attempt to actually develop him while he’s backing up the veteran they eventually acquire.
Either way, it’s pretty clear the owner isn’t at all sold on the current (and possibly, future) potential of Wilson leading this offense.
He looked up to Rodgers while growing up, so that would probably be the best-case scenario in his eyes if the former second-overall pick becomes the second-string QB. There will be several veteran options for the Jets to address their quarterback issue. It seems like Rodgers is at the top of that wish list, but we’ll see what happens from here.
Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.