Aaron Rodgers Achilles Injury: 5 Backup QBs the New York Jets Could Sign

The New York Jets have a quarterback problem—again.

Aaron Rodgers, the four-time NFL MVP who was supposed to be the savior under center for the Jets, is out for the season with a torn Achilles, an MRI confirmed Tuesday. Rodgers lasted only four snaps in his franchise debut Monday night before leaving the field.

After a warm reception from the thousands of Jets fans gathered at MetLife Stadium, Rodgers went down with 10:56 remaining in the first quarter. Buffalo Bills pass-rusher Leonard Floyd sacked Rodgers and twisted the QB to the ground. Rodgers' left foot seemingly got stuck on the turf during the play. The Jets ended up beating the Bills, 22-16, in overtime on Monday Night Football after Rodgers' injury. But the good news stops there for the Jets.

Jets coach Robert Saleh said after the game that an MRI would likely confirm the team's worst fears—that Rodgers suffered a torn Achilles. And it did. ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport were among the first to report Rodgers tore his left Achilles tendon.

Now Rodgers' season is over almost as quickly as it began and, given his age, his future in the NFL is in question.

"Personally, I don't hurt for me, I don't hurt for our locker room, I hurt for Aaron and how much he has invested in all this," Saleh said after the game. "I'm still going to say a prayer and hold out hope. My heart is with Aaron."

The Jets had a hype-filled offseason after trading for the 39-year-old QB in April that provided fans of Gang Green with Super Bowl expectations. Rodgers was supposed to be the missing piece for a Jets roster that seemed good enough to win it all. The 10-time Pro Bowler was brought in to replace Zack Wilson—the No. 2 pick in 2021 and New York's starter last season.

But it seems like the Jets will have to ride with their former first-rounder again.

The Jets didn't have a third quarterback in uniform for Monday night's game. Quarterback Tim Boyle is on the team's practice squad. Saleh said the Jets will likely sign a quarterback after Rodgers' injury, but the plan is to move forward with Wilson as the starter under center.

Wilson completed 14 of his 21 passes for 140 yards, a touchdown, and an interception after entering the game in relief of Rodgers.

Now that Rodgers is indeed out for the season, will the Jets really ride with Wilson? The 24-year-old missed time with an injury last season, and was later benched for poor play. Saleh could look to trade for a QB with starting experience, perhaps New Orleans Saints backup Jameis Winston. Or maybe try and lure Tom Brady out of retirement again (that's mostly a joke).

In all likelihood, the Jets will try and bring in an experienced free agent either as insurance for Wilson or potentially to challenge him for the starting spot if need be.

Here is a look at a few free-agent options the Jets could consider.

Free agent quarterback Carson Wentz
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 08: Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders wears a shirt in support of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on January 08, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Carson Wentz

The Jets could turn to another former No. 2 pick who hasn't turned into quite the player experts thought he would be—Carson Wentz.

Wentz, a former Pro Bowler with the Philadelphia Eagles, remains unsigned. The 30-year-old started for three different teams over the last three seasons—the Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, and Washington Commanders—only to be shipped out of town each time. Wentz went 2-5 in seven starts for the Commanders last season, throwing for 1,755 yards, 11 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

Joe Flacco

The Jets could opt to bring back a familiar face to their quarterback's room.

Former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, 38, played three seasons with the Jets from 2020-22. Flacco started the Jets' first three games last season while Wilson was out with an injury, then again in the regular season finale when their playoff hopes were squashed. In between, Flacco was downgraded to the team's No. 3 QB behind Wilson and Mike White.

Flacco completed 57.6 percent of his passes last season and threw five touchdowns and three interceptions. The Jets opted not to re-sign Flacco going into the 2023 season.

Colt McCoy

The Arizona Cardinals released Colt McCoy at the end of the preseason, but the 13-year veteran could serve as a solid backup for the Jets.

The 37-year-old has played for five teams over his professional career since being drafted in the third round in 2010. That includes the last two with the Cardinals. McCoy has started 11 games over the last five seasons, completing 67.7 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and nine interceptions in those games.

Nick Foles

Nick Foles' best moments in the NFL came with the Philadelphia Eagles. But maybe the 34-year-old free agent has a little more to give with the Jets.

Foles is five years removed from winning Super Bowl MVP honors with the Eagles. Last season, the former third-round pick started two games for the Indianapolis Colts during Jeff Saturday's bizarre tenure as head coach. Foles has appeared in 71 games since being drafted in 2012 and could be a safety measure behind Wilson this season.

Matt Ryan

Former league MVP Matt Ryan joined CBS as an NFL analyst this season but has insisted that he is not retired. So maybe the Jets could give the 38-year-old a call.

Ryan threw 381 touchdowns over a 15-year career, most of which was spent with the Atlanta Falcons. Like Foles, Ryan spent last season with the Colts. Indianapolis traded for the veteran QB before the start of last season and Ryan started 12 games for the team. The Colts eventually benched him in favor of Sam Ehlinger and Foles.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Robert Read is a Newsweek writer and reporter based in Florida. His focus is reporting on trending sports stories. Robert joined Newsweek in 2023. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa. You can get in touch with Robert by emailing r.read@newsweek.com. Languages: English.

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