Jets make switch to Boyle, demote Wilson to QB3

Sports

The New York Jets, performing at a historically poor level on offense, benched quarterback Zach Wilson on Monday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, another crushing blow for a player once considered the future of the franchise.

This marked the third benching in the past 13 months for Wilson, who may have played his last game for the Jets. The 2021 No. 2 overall pick will be replaced by Tim Boyle, who will start Friday against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium, the source told Schefter.

The move has long-term implications for the Jets, whose grand plan was to have Wilson learn under Aaron Rodgers for a year or two before returning to the starting position — an arrangement endorsed by Rodgers. That no longer seems likely, as Wilson played his way out of the No. 2 job.

Wilson was pressed into action on the fifth play of the season, when Rodgers went down with a torn Achilles. Under Wilson, the Jets managed only nine touchdown drives in nearly 10 full games while posting the worst red-zone and third-down efficiency in modern history.

Coach Robert Saleh, who arrived with Wilson in 2021, stood by the former BYU star until Sunday night, when he pulled him late in the third quarter of a 32-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Afterward, Saleh was noncommittal on his quarterback plans — a sure sign he had run out of patience.

“When things aren’t getting done, change has to be made, and I understand that,” Wilson said after the game — a 7-for-15, 81-yard performance in which he failed to complete a single pass to a wide receiver.

For the season, Wilson is ranked 30th out of 31 qualified passers in QBR (30.7), with only six touchdown passes. In three years, he’s 11-20 as a starter, with 21 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.

Wilson was benched twice last season, prompting the organization to trade for Rodgers. Instead of acquiring a proven veteran to serve as the backup, the Jets opted to keep Wilson as Rodgers’ understudy — a decision by general manager Joe Douglas that may have sabotaged the season.

Wilson is signed through 2024, with virtually no chance of having his fifth-year option for 2025. The deadline is early May, 2024.

Boyle, 29, is an NFL journeyman who has played for the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. His only three starts came in 2021 for the Lions; he went 0-3, with three touchdowns and six interceptions. In Sunday’s relief outing, he completed seven of 14 passes for 33 yards and an interception.

He was released at the end of the preseason, landing on the practice squad. He was signed to the roster when Rodgers was injured.

Rodgers reportedly is hoping to return Dec. 24 from Achilles surgery but has said it’s contingent on the team being in playoff contention. They’re not.

The Jets (4-6) have lost three straight games, with only 31 points scored. Their third-rate efficiency is 23% and their red-zone rate in 26%, both last in the NFL and both the worst since the 1970s, when that data started being tracked.

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