Zach Wilson, NY Jets, QB2, Backup, Rank, Trade Rumors
Zach Wilson, New York Jets, Getty Images

Here is where Zach Wilson would rank out of the NFL’s 32 backup quarterbacks

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh recently told reporters at the NFL’s league meetings that he expects Zach Wilson to be the Jets’ No. 2 quarterback.

Jets fans know Wilson clearly isn’t worthy of a starting quarterback job right now, but the threshold for being a solid backup quarterback is substantially lower. Would Wilson really be all that bad as a backup?

To answer that question, I decided to see where Wilson ranks among all of the projected backup quarterbacks in the league.

I went through each team’s depth chart and pegged their most likely QB2. Then, I ranked them all according to their career passer rating.

Note that in many cases, choosing who should be designated as a team’s backup quarterback is a subjective endeavor. Some teams have lingering injury questions. Some teams may hold competitions to determine who will be the backup. Additionally, many depth charts will be significantly altered by the draft.

So, this is just my best shot at estimating who will end up being the QB2 for each squad when it’s all said and done.

Some of the league’s current backup quarterbacks either have not thrown an NFL pass or have only thrown an extremely small number of passes. If a quarterback did not have a sufficient volume of pass attempts for their rating to be meaningful, I excluded them from the ranking and listed them at the bottom of the table.

Without further ado, here is a look at the career passer ratings of each team’s most likely backup quarterback.

RkQBTeamCareer RatingCareer Passes
1Bailey ZappeNE100.992
2Gardner MinshewIND93.1933
3Marcus MariotaPHI89.32095
4Tyrod TaylorNYG88.21550
5Nick MullensMIN88.0655
6Andy DaltonCAR87.65396
7Jameis WinstonNO87.52835
8Mitch TrubiskyPIT86.41765
9Taylor HeinickeATL85.7830
10Case KeenumHOU85.22180
11Cooper RushDAL84.9212
12Trey LanceSF84.5102
13Jacoby BrissettWAS84.41577
14Brian HoyerNE82.91518
15Kyle AllenBUF82.2704
16C.J. BeathardJAX80.3510
17Colt McCoyARI79.91220
18Drew LockSEA79.3710
19Nate SudfeldDET77.337
20Tyler HuntleyBAL76.6305
21Mike WhiteMIA75.4307
22Jarrett StidhamDEN73.5131
23Zach WilsonNYJ70.9625
24Joshua DobbsCLE66.685
25P.J. WalkerCHI63.9228
26Malik WillisTEN42.861
-Kyle TraskTBN/A9
-Easton StickLACN/A1
-Jake BrowningCINN/A0
-Shane BuecheleKCN/A0
-Danny EtlingGBN/A0
-No QB2 On RosterLARN/A0

Zach Wilson’s career passer rating of 70.9 ranks 23rd out of 26 qualified backup quarterbacks. This suggests that Wilson would be one of the worst backups in the NFL going into Week 1.

As the Jets prepare for a season in which they will have legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, it would be puzzling if they remained content with Wilson as their backup. Say Aaron Rodgers goes down (knock on wood) – is Zach Wilson really the guy they want to see trotting out there in front of the raucous and unforgiving MetLife Stadium crowd? Taking over control of the franchise’s best shot at a championship in over a decade?

At the moment, only three teams (Cleveland, Chicago, and Tennessee) are poised to utilize a backup quarterback who has a worse career passer rating than Wilson. This is an alarming truth – one that Joe Douglas and the Jets should not ignore if they are serious about competing for a title in 2023.

There were plenty of appealing backup quarterback options on the free agent market this offseason, but most of them have already been signed. However, if the Jets are interested in pursuing a veteran backup, there are still a few players available who would probably be upgrades over Wilson, including Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Teddy Bridgewater, and Trevor Siemian.

Or, the Jets could select a quarterback in the middle rounds of the draft to provide competition for Wilson. Even if the rookie doesn’t beat out Wilson for the backup quarterback job, his presence should, at the very least, apply much-needed pressure on Wilson. Simply handing Wilson the job with no competition could be counterproductive for his development.

I’m curious to see how the Jets handle the back end of their quarterback depth chart over the next couple of months. Giving the backup quarterback job to Zach Wilson seems like an imprudent idea for a team that currently possesses the sixth-best Super Bowl odds at most sportsbooks and will be starting a 39-year-old quarterback.

Will the Jets add competition for Wilson? Or will they remain faithful to Wilson and hope for the best?

All that’s for certain is this: Based on what he’s done in the NFL so far, Wilson would enter the 2023 season as one of the least efficient backup quarterbacks in the league if he does indeed hold onto the role.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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5 months ago


Is there any chance that they are keeping Wilson in the #2 role for the purposes of getting him more reps in training camp/preseason?

This way they will be able to see the growth/improvements that he has made in this offseason, and if he is still struggling, they can pivot and bring in a veteran near the end of camp, who does not need the reps.

Why kick the kid why he is down when there is time to address this at a later date.

5 months ago

I really wish we had gone with a Minshew insurance policy.

Michael Blackwood
Michael Blackwood
5 months ago

It pains me to state: stats aren’t everything for every situation!
Carson Wentz & Matt Ryan’s Ships have sailed!!!, Teddy Bridgewater (potential here, but he’s an injury risk) and Trevor Siemian (pass) all have less upside than if Zach Wilson starts to Get It!?.

Mike Palazzo
Mike Palazzo
5 months ago

Those stats are sad but true. Jets should not hand him the QB2 Role.

5 months ago

The actions of the team this offseason has implied a remaining belief that Zach is more than salvageable. Throughout his tenure, JD has been oddly stubborn with mediocre and risky backup QB strategies. Perhaps this implies an indictment of MLF and a belief that Hackett can get more out of Zach going forward. Hope they’re right.

Jim G
Jim G
5 months ago
Reply to  Psi

I have to think they believe Hackett can get better production from Zach Wilson. I don’t think they can blame LaFleur since there was pressure from the top to play Zach Wilson from Day 1, Year 1. Like you said, I hope they are right because the consequences of being wrong are heavy.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
5 months ago

I love analysis that tells me something I didn’t know or confirms something I thought I did know. In this case though, I didn’t need any analysis to tell me Wilson is miscast as a #2 QB. What do you want out of your #2? I would say a predictable floor that is as high as possible, and you’d sacrifice any and all upside for it.

Wilson is about as opposite to that as you can possibly be.