Will New York Jets Draft Aaron Rodgers’ Successor in First Round?

This year’s crop of quarterbacks is loaded, and the New York Jets may find themselves in position to take one. Will general manager Joe Douglas pull the trigger on a Round 1 QB?

The New York Jets need to upgrade their contingency plans for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

They’ll certainly take a look at the open market once free agency opens, but what about acquiring a backup quarterback who could also be the future of the franchise?

The Jets hold the 10th pick in the NFL Draft and, in a class stocked to the brim with quarterbacks, New York could find itself falling in love with a passer.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy points down the field during the second half of the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

© Melanie Maxwell / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NFL Scouting Combine allowed several second-tier quarterbacks to wow NFL decision-makers. While the class’ biggest stars – Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels – sat out, Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., and J.J. McCarthy attempted to further their first-round conversation.

McCarthy specifically seems to be on the fast track to the fourth quarterback taken in the first nine picks, a trend that benefits the Jets. But if he falls, or Penix and Nix truly impress the New York brain trust, a quarterback becomes a possibility.

However, it’s a very slim one, and for good reason.

The most important reason as to why the Jets won’t take a quarterback in the first round (or even the first two ) is the man a hypothetical rookie would sit behind. Rodgers will be the next quarterback next season and probably 2025 as well. For better or worse, this team is in a win-now window. Using the one premier pick they project to have during the Rodgers era on a player who cannot help the veteran win a championship doesn’t make much sense.

There’s a time and a place to put the emphasis on sustainability and helping build the team of tomorrow. A Hall of Fame quarterback on his last leg(s) tends to increase the urgency to win.

New York needs offensive linemen and pass catchers. At No. 10, they’ll have the opportunity to take a quality one. Likewise, the quality of tackle and receiver prospects that should be available inspire more confidence than a late-rising quarterback who hasn’t been viewed as a potential star for very long.

Furthermore, the Jets won’t take a quarterback in the first round because Douglas is the one making the call. Like anyone else, Douglas wants to keep his job. Picking a quarterback and watching his team fall short in 2024 all but ends his tenure in New York.

Front offices take quarterbacks so they can tie themselves to a passer who is going to get multiple years of unobstructed play. Douglas’ track record – and the opportunity cost of taking a quarterback – means he is unlikely to see the fruits of his quarterback-picking labor.

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A quality backup may be found in the draft, and it would certainly be cheaper than a priority free agent. But given the draft capital necessary to find a QB2 (and future QB1), a free agent must be considered significantly more likely.

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