Jets owner willing to spend to find 'missing piece' at QB

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New York Jets owner Woody Johnson believes a capable quarterback is the only thing missing from a team he called "loaded and ready to go".

The Jets boasted the fourth-best defense in the NFL based on yards allowed, but their offense could only finish 25th, hamstrung by mediocre quarterback play.

They tried to address their quarterback void by selecting Zach Wilson second overall in the 2021 draft, but after a horrific second campaign where he threw more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six), the Jets are not willing to persist with the 23-year-old as the starter.

Johnson addressed Wilson's struggles, and pointed to the instability at starter – as Mike White and Joe Flacco combined for eight of the 17 starts this season – as a reason for the dysfunction.

"Zach had a tough year, there's no denying that," he said. "I still have confidence that I've seen some kernels of real talent there.

"[His] confidence level, whatever it was, went down, so that was certainly frustrating for him. And then we had that rotation, which is very hard to do in the NFL – changing quarterbacks."

He spoke about his willingness to reverse the fortunes of the offense in a similar fashion to the defense from a year ago, which was ranked as the league's worst in 2021.

"This team is loaded and ready to go," he said. "Our defense was an unbelievable story you saw this year, from last-place to close to the top in defense in terms of every measurable.

"If you can do the same thing on offense, it looks pretty good, right?"

The Jets are unlikely to enter the new season with another rookie under center, so to address their need, the Jets will need to either make a trade or venture into the free agent market.

The upcoming free agent class is headlined by the legendary Tom Brady and former MVP Lamar Jackson – players who will likely not come at a discount – but Johnson said he is willing to spend.

"Absolutely," he said. "We've got a cap, so there's an amount you can spend. But, yeah, that's kind of the missing piece."

When asked if he would give the coaching staff a playoff mandate, Johnson shot down the idea, saying it is not the right way to approach the situation.

"No, I don't do mandates," he said. "We've had a long wait.

"Fifty-four years from the last Super Bowl is too long, way too long. I'd like to change that fast, but mandates don't work."