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The New York Jets have stood by starting quarterback Zach Wilson through his struggles, saying over and over again that the offense’s issues are more than the quarterback.
“It’s lazy to just put it all on him,” head coach Robert Saleh reiterated this past week. “It was collective all the way across the board.”
The Jets brass has stood by Wilson similarly behind the scenes.
Before free-agent QB Carson Wentz signed with the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 7, sources say his camp checked in with the Jets after New York’s 27-6 loss to the Chargers on Nov. 6, an ugly showing by the offense.
Wentz had been on the Jets’ short list of potential free-agent QBs since they lost Aaron Rodgers to a torn Achilles in Week 1, per sources. The thinking was if the team lost faith in Wilson, it could sign Wentz to be an option to start.
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For the former Eagles, Colts and Commanders starting QB, it made sense for Wentz to want to sign with an organization with the potentially clearest path to meaningful snaps. Plus, Jets general manager Joe Douglas is familiar with Wentz from his time as an exec in Philadelphia when Wentz began his career. All it would’ve taken for Wentz to sign was for the Jets to say let’s do it.
Instead, on Tuesday, the Jets reiterated their faith in Wilson behind closed doors and never made Wentz an offer, sources say.
With a contract on the table from the Rams to make him the backup to Matthew Stafford, and L.A. needing an answer, the decision was made.
Wentz signed a deal to be on the Rams’ 53-man roster for the veteran minimum of $1.165 million, plus a $150,000 signing bonus with a total cash value of $732,500, sources say. The deal also only counts $620,000 against the salary cap because it was a veteran salary benefits deal.
For Wentz, there is a lot to like with the Rams, who are on a bye this week. The hope is that Wentz can use the tutelage from head coach Sean McVay to resurrect his career similar to Baker Mayfield last year. The Rams claimed Mayfield off waivers in December 2022 and he went on to appear in five games with four starts before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past offseason.
Could Wentz impress enough to be the backup to Stafford next year? Potentially. While no one knows what Stafford will decide this offseason regarding his playing future, the belief going into this season was that he had two years left, barring injury.
This signing, made official on Wednesday, could lead Wentz to being the backup and potentially a bridge starter for the Rams.
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