The New York Jets, experiencing significant offensive struggles, made the decision to bench quarterback Zach Wilson on Monday, dealing another setback to a player once regarded as the future of the franchise.
This marked Wilson’s third benching in the past 13 months, potentially signaling the end of his tenure with the Jets. The 2021 No. 2 draft pick will be replaced by Tim Boyle, who is set to start against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Friday. Coach Robert Saleh disclosed that Trevor Siemian would be signed from the practice squad to serve as Boyle’s backup, with Wilson assuming the No. 3 quarterback role under the NFL’s new emergency-quarterback rule.
Saleh explained that the quarterback change was aimed at providing Boyle with an opportunity and a different style of play in the hopes of revitalizing the team’s offense. The move carries long-term implications for the Jets, as their original plan was for Wilson to learn under Aaron Rodgers for a year or two before reclaiming the starting position. However, this plan appears to be in jeopardy as Wilson has struggled and lost the No. 2 quarterback spot.
While Saleh believes Wilson has the potential for a successful career in the league, he refrained from commenting on Wilson’s future with the organization, indicating that such matters will be addressed in the offseason. Saleh asserted that the team has not considered releasing Wilson and emphasized that the decision to bench him is part of an ongoing effort to explore opportunities for improvement.
Wilson was thrust into action early in the season due to Rodgers’ injury, but the Jets struggled under his leadership, managing only nine touchdown drives in nearly 10 full games. Saleh had been supportive of Wilson until a 32-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, after which he decided to make the quarterback change.
For the season, Wilson ranks 30th out of 31 qualified passers in QBR (30.7) with only six touchdown passes. In his three years as a starter, he holds an 11-20 record with 21 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. The decision not to acquire a proven veteran backup last season, opting to keep Wilson as Rodgers’ understudy, is viewed as a choice that may have compromised the team’s performance.
Boyle, a 29-year-old NFL journeyman, is set to take over as the starting quarterback. While he has limited starting experience, he brings a quick decision-making style to the position. Rodgers, who aims to return on December 24 from Achilles surgery, has tied his comeback to the Jets’ playoff contention, a prospect that currently seems unlikely given the team’s recent struggles.
With a three-game losing streak and only 31 points scored, the Jets face challenges in third-down efficiency (23%) and red zone rate (26%), ranking last in the NFL and marking the worst performance since the 1970s when such statistics began to be tracked.