Jets must add veteran QB to aid Zach Wilson’s development

Zach Wilson needs help.

The kind of help that only a veteran quarterback can provide to the second overall pick in last month’s draft who is expected to be thrown to the fire from Day 1.

A veteran QB not only can serve as a mentor to the 21-year-old former BYU star, but also come in and win some games if Wilson struggles or goes down with an injury.

Gang Green brought in Brian Hoyer for a visit in March, but no deal was done. He ended up returning to the Patriots earlier this week. New head coach Robert Saleh and the Jets wanted Hoyer, but the 35-year-old QB — with 39 career starts on his NFL resume — re-signed with New England because of his familiarity with Bill Belichick and the Patriots, per ESPN.

The Jets say they are high on the other quarterbacks on their roster — Mike White and James Morgan — but neither has taken an NFL snap.

“They didn’t get an opportunity, with no preseason games (last) year,” GM Joe Douglas said in April. “But really excited about those two guys.”

But the Jets know they need to add a veteran to the quarterback room. Here are two options that fit perfectly with what Gang Green needs.

Nick Foles

The Bears traded with the Giants to get the No. 11 overall pick and selected Ohio State QB Justin Fields. They have Andy Dalton, Fields and Nick Foles on their roster. It only makes sense for the team to trade Foles.

Foles, 32, is the best option on the backup quarterback market. He took over for Carson Wentz late in the 2017 season and led the Eagles on a stunning Super Bowl run. He was named the Super Bowl LII MVP after throwing for 373 yards and had four total touchdowns as the Eagles defeated the Patriots 41-33.

He’s started 55 games in the NFL and has a record of 28-27. His career numbers include 13,753 passing yards, 81 touchdowns and 43 interceptions.

Last season, Foles went 2-5 as a starter for the Bears and threw for 10 touchdowns and 1,852 yards.

He’s also spent time with the Jaguars, Rams and Chiefs.

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Foles has plenty of experience dealing with young quarterbacks in Wentz, Mitch Trubisky and Gardner Minshew and could be a good mentor for Wilson. He would also be a strong locker room presence for the Jets.

The main complication for a possible Foles trade is his contract. According to spotrac.com, his base salary is $4 million for the 2021 season. But then the Jets would have to pay his guaranteed money next year, plus a roster bonus, and his cap hit would be over $10 million. If the Jets were to release Foles in 2022 the dead cap hit would be $7,666,667.

The Bears would move him, but teams are hesitant because of the contract. Foles could restructure the contract to make the trade, but the chances are slim.

If the Jets are comfortable with paying that guaranteed money, then they should make the move and get Wilson the mentor he needs.

Nick Mullens

Mullens, 26, was with the 49ers for three seasons from 2018-2020. He was Jimmy Garoppolo’s backup. He netted 16 starts during those three seasons as Garoppolo struggled to stay healthy. He went 5-11 while throwing for 4,714 yards with 25 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.

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Last season, Mullens went 2-6 and threw for 2,437 yards with 12 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He is recovering from a season-ending elbow injury that he suffered during the 49ers’ 41-33 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 20. He underwent surgery offseason and could be ready to go at the start of training camp, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

NBC Sports Bay Area reported in March that the Niners didn’t tender a qualifying offer to Mullens which made him a free agent.

New Jets offensive coordinator Mike LeFleur knows Mullens well from his time as the passing game coordinator for the 49ers.

Mullens is the best scheme fit for the Jets on the market and gives the Jets a veteran who knows the offense and has proven that he can win games. But the main concern is his health.

The Jets must add a veteran to the quarterback room, they cannot go into this season with three quarterbacks who have never taken an NFL snap.

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