Analysis: Even Joe Namath is fed up with Zach Wilson, but Jets have no easy solution at QB

New York legend on former BYU quarterback: “I wouldn’t keep him.”

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) walks off the field after losing to the New England Patriots in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

At this point, most Jets fans would take anyone at quarterback other than Zach Wilson.

They don’t want to hear it’s not all his fault or New York has plenty of problems and not just him.

Well, it all might be true for a team that’s 1-2 after having Super Bowl aspirations with Aaron Rodgers under center. But the fact is the Jets are sticking with Wilson, the third-year quarterback who was once the future of the franchise but is now the most popular target of frustrated fans.

Even Broadway Joe sounded off Sunday on social media during the Jets’ 15-10 loss to the New England Patriots — their 15th straight against their AFC East foes — and went even further Monday during an interview on “The Michael Kay Show” on 98.7 ESPN New York.

“I wouldn’t keep him,” said Joe Namath, who was uncharacteristically agitated. “I’ve seen enough of Zach Wilson. All right? I’ve seen enough.”

The Pro Football Hall of Famer remains the first and only quarterback to lead the Jets to the Super Bowl — back in January 1969, when he made good on one of sports’ most famous guarantees.

It appears that drought will hit 55 years unless the Jets can turn it around. Even being able to end the NFL’s longest active streak without a playoff appearance — 12 years — seems in jeopardy.

Namath called Wilson’s performance Sunday “disgusting” and “awful.” He added: “I don’t believe in him. I don’t believe he has a future as a good player. I think they made the wrong choice when they drafted him.”

Namath also called for changes in the organization, from top to bottom.

Yep, it seems everyone’s on notice these days, and that includes coach Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas.

They’re charged with trying to keep everything together on a team that was built to win now with Rodgers. After the four-time NFL MVP was lost for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon just four plays into his debut, the Jets had to quickly pivot to Wilson — who was never supposed to play this season.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft struggled through his first two seasons, to the point he was benched twice last season. The idea was for Wilson to watch and learn from Rodgers, the equivalent of a college redshirt season or two.

Joe Namath arrives for the NFL Honors award show ahead of the Super Bowl 57 football game, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Perhaps the Jets’ biggest blunder was not bringing in a proven backup during the offseason just in case of what happened.

If the Jets truly wanted Wilson to use this as a developmental year, the contingency plan probably should have started with someone other than Wilson if Rodgers went down.

Instead, Wilson was thrust back into the starter role with only career backup Tim Boyle remaining on the roster.

“He’s our unquestioned quarterback,” Saleh said Monday.

And now the Jets are going with a Plan B that shouldn’t have required a system overhaul.

“There’s an identity we’re trying to find on the offensive side of the ball,” Saleh acknowledged. “And it’s not an excuse, but the reality is, it was built a certain way. And now we’re trying to adjust on the fly, which is a challenge, but a challenge that I think we’re going to end up getting an answer for.”

There doesn’t appear to be a simple solution as names such as Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, Colt McCoy and Jacoby Brissett have been floated around social media.

Well, Jets fans can scratch Ryan off the list after he told CBS Sports — where he works as a TV analyst — “I’ve got no interest in doing that right now.”

Is Chad Pennington available? Mark Sanchez? Ken O’Brien? Heck, how about Namath?

Publicly, the coaches and players have voiced their support for Wilson. But the Jets’ steadfast commitment to him has the franchise and the fanbase at a crossroads.

Any new quarterback coming in would likely need at least a week or two to become fully integrated.

Meanwhile, the best solution at quarterback continues to heal at home as everyone wonders what could have been.