- The New York Jets have acquired veteran quarterback Joe Flacco in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Philadelphia received a 2022 sixth round conditional draft pick.
- Jets’ rookie Zach Wilson will miss 2-4 weeks with a sprained knee.
With New York Jets’ starting quarterback Zach Wilson out for two to four weeks with a sprained PCL in his right knee, the team made a transaction to acquire some veteran insurance at quarterback. New York acquired veteran Joe Flacco in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles received a 2022 sixth round conditional draft pick which can improve to a fifth round pick based on Flacco’s playing time.
Wilson, the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft out of BYU, was injured in the second quarter of the Jets’ lopsided loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. Wilson said that his knee twisted and he ‘felt a pop’ on a second quarter hit by Pats’ linebacker Matt Judon. He left the game immediately and was replaced by backup Mike White. White played relatively well in his first NFL action completing 20-of-32 passes for 202 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. Even with the acquisition of Flacco, White is expected to make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s unclear about the quarterback situation going forward though much will depend on the severity of Wilson’s injury. Head coach Robert Saleh has said that they’ll have more clarity on Wilson’s injury by the end of the week. Even without the benefit of further testing, he speculated that Wilson could ‘possibly’ play on November 14 against the Buffalo Bills. New York has journeyman Josh Johnson playing quarterback on the practice squad but he hasn’t seen game action since 2018.
Even before Flacco was acquired Saleh expressed his confidence in backup QB White:
“He’s a very calm man. He’s a great communicator, he’s got great command of the huddle. He’s got great command of the offense. He understands progression reads and how to go through a progression, get the ball where it needs to go. He understands how to slide in the pocket to throw instead of slide in the pocket to run. He doesn’t panic.”
White affirmed his confidence under center:
“Yeah, I’m confident in myself. I’m mostly confident in the guys we have in that locker room, the leaders we have. The coaching staff, too.”
Running back Ty Johnson gave props to White as well:
“He’s a stud, man. Come on now. That’s Mike White.”
White is an interesting prospect that just needed an opportunity. Now he has one. White was the fifth round pick of the Dallas Cowboys after spending time at South Florida and Western Kentucky in college. He didn’t become a starter in high school until his senior season. During his high school years he was better known for his skill as a baseball pitcher–as a junior, he had a 9-2 record with a 0.43 ERA which is impressive at any level. He played with Dallas as the third string QB in 2018 but was waived before the end of the 2019 training camp when the Cowboys chose to carry just two quarterbacks on the roster. He’s spent most of his time since on the Jets’ practice squad with a number of trips up to the active roster for depth on game day.
Flacco could be a valuable guy to have around for the rest of the season not only to provide depth but to serve as a mentor to Wilson. Flacco was the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens and a former Super Bowl MVP (Super Bowl LXVII). At times, he was maligned for his skill set while with the Ravens but his work ethic and professionalism were never in question. Flacco signed a one year, $3.5 million USD contract with the Eagles before the season but didn’t see any action. Philadelphia has a lot of depth at the position with former Jacksonville starter Gardner Minshew on the bench and recently acquired Reid Sinnett. Eagles coach Nick Sirianni gave Flacco props for his contributions to the team off the field:
“Joe is just a great person to be around, a great pro to be around, had a phenomenal preseason and was really good for our [QB] room. But the opportunity arose for him to go and be able to contribute somewhere else and also for us to get a pick for that. But our time with Joe Flacco was really good.”
Flacco returns to the Jets where he played last year as the primary backup to then-starter Sam Darnold (now with Carolina). Flacco started four games when Darnold went out with a shoulder injury. The bad news–the Jets lost all four and Flaco didn’t play particularly well. That the Jets still had interest in re-signing Flacco at the start of free agency–and that the brought him in now–speaks volumes about what he brings to the table in terms of experience, leadership and professionalism. Overall last season, Flacco completed 74-of-134 passes for 864 yards, with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
The current plan is to start White and hope that Wilson’s injury isn’t ‘worst case scenario’. Flacco will be there if White struggles or gets hurt but based on comments from head coach Salah it looks like the team wants to take a look at what White can do with the Jets’ offense. White definitely has the motivation to play well–he was impressive in his first ever NFL action, calmly entering the game and quickly throwing a touchdown pass to Corey Davis. A strong showing while Wilson is out of action could result in White playing himself into a variety of new opportunities as a NFL quarterback. For Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals the Jets are +9.5 underdogs with the total set at 43.5.