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Ranking all 14 quarterbacks the NY Jets will face in 2024

Kyler Murray, NY Jets, QB, Schedule, 2024
Kyler Murray, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets avoided many of the league’s best quarterbacks in 2024

In 2023, the New York Jets faced Patrick Mahomes, C.J. Stroud, Justin Herbert, Jalen Hurts, Dak Prescott, and Josh Allen (twice). In 2024, they’ve avoided many of the top passers in the league and face a lot of mediocrity at the quarterback position. Still, it’s interesting to compare passer by passer and rank the easiest and most difficult matchups the Jets will face.

Such a ranking is complicated by the fact that several of their opponents have open quarterback competitions. Drake Maye, Bo Nix, Russell Wilson, and J.J. McCarthy will battle with Jacoby Brissett, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields, and Sam Darnold for starting spots. We’ll include all eight of those players in the rankings but overlap where necessary.

How do the Jets’ 14 quarterback matchups rank?

14. Drake Maye/Zach Wilson/Will Levis/Sam Darnold

It’s hard to figure out how to rank rookies before they’ve ever played a game. Still, with the way Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo has spoken about Drake Maye, it appears he has a lot to learn. Maye was one of the most polarizing quarterback prospects in the draft; his high-level throws are reminiscent of Patrick Mahomes, but he dirts too many easy ones a la Zach Wilson. That’s why I have Wilson and Maye in the same tier.

I think Bo Nix will wind up starting for Denver, as he matches Sean Payton’s preferences at quarterback. Still, if it is Wilson, he’s a backup-level player at best. Getting benched for Tim Boyle demonstrates just how low Wilson sank. He has a career 23:25 TD:INT ratio in 34 games. His 72.5% adjusted completion percentage in 2023 was the best of his career but still ranked 29th out of 35 qualified passers (min. 225 dropbacks). His 6.2 yards per attempt ranked 30th, and his -0.31 EPA per dropback was 34th.

Will Levis faces a critical Year 2 after an uneven rookie season. His 58.4% completion percentage ranked last among qualified passers, and his 69.1% adjusted rate was second to last. His 4.5% turnover-worthy play rate was third-worst. He was decent in yards per attempt (7.1, 15th), but that was in part due to his ridiculously high 11.1 average depth of target, 1.7 yards higher than the next-highest mark. Levis spent most of the season chucking the ball deep to DeAndre Hopkins and needs to prove he can do more than that.

Sam Darnold wasn’t as bad as Zach Wilson in his time with the Jets, but that’s about it. He’s found a way to flash in some three-game samples throughout his career. Still, Darnold has 56 interceptions in 66 career games, and has a 59.7% career completion percentage with a 4.1% turnover-worthy play rate. Those are backup-level numbers. I don’t think Darnold will start for Minnesota.

13. Justin Fields/Bo Nix

Justin Fields had the fifth-lowest completion percentage (61.4%) among qualified passers and ranked 21st in yards per attempt (6.9), 20th in turnover-worthy play rate (3.3%), 22nd in EPA per dropback (-0.09), and 28th in success rate (40%) in 2023. Fields’ rushing ability (657 rushing yards in 13 games) makes him a threat in any given game, but he’s never figured out how to read a defense.

I suspect Bo Nix will be the starter in Denver. He ranks ahead of Drake Maye only because he’s uninspiring but also less volatile. I trust Sean Payton to get something out of him, even though the offensive weaponry in Denver is lackluster at best.

12. J.J. McCarthy

Again, ranking rookies is very tough, but I put J.J. McCarthy ahead of Maye and Nix because he’s in a far better situation. With Aaron Jones, Justin Jefferson (if they can get his contract figured out), Jordan Addison, and eventually T.J. Hockenson, McCarthy will have a nice supporting cast in his rookie season. Kevin O’Connell is a good offensive coach. I don’t think McCarthy’s ceiling is all that high, but he should have a decent floor.

11. Kyler Murray

It’s hard to rank Kyler Murray after a miserable season that ended prematurely following a torn ACL and then a return to a thankless, miserable team. Murray averaged just 6.1 yards per attempt in 2022 and 6.7 in 2023, having no legitimate deep threat for the best part of his game. With Marvin Harrison Jr. joining the fray in 2023, I expect that connection to thrive enough to bring Murray back to at least a league-average quarterback.

10. Anthony Richardson

It’s hard to know what to make of Anthony Richardson. His physical ability is off the charts, but his season-ending injury in 2023 may have reflected his hard-pounding playing style. He completed just 59.5% of his passes in four starts, averaging 6.0, 5.6, 8.0, and 8.2 yards per attempt in those games. That about sums up the Anthony Richardson experience. He also rushed for 136 yards and 4 touchdowns in those games.

With Adonai Mitchell joining Michael Pittman and Josh Downs in the receiving corps, Richardson has some legitimate weapons to throw to. Jonathan Taylor is always a threat in the backfield. The Colts have one of the most underrated offensive lines in the NFL but have plus players at four of the five positions. Richardson has many of the tools in place to take a big leap in his sophomore year.

9. Jacoby Brissett

The last time we saw Jacoby Brissett as a starter, he was above average in most passing categories. He nearly led the Commanders to a come-from-behind upset victory over the Jets last season. I think he will be New England’s starter when the Jets face them on Thursday Night Football in their Week 3 home opener.

The Patriots don’t have a ton of offensive talent, but neither did the Commanders. Their offensive line has many holes, but so did Washington’s. Brissett is a game manager (12:6 TD:INT ratio in 11 starts in 2022), but with the Patriots’ returning defensive talent, that could be enough to keep New England in games.

8. Russell Wilson

Sean Payton jettisoned Russell Wilson because he can run only one offense. Still, Wilson had a modicum of success in 2023 after a miserable 2022 season, completing 66.4% of his passes with a 26:8 TD:INT ratio. Wilson’s diminished rushing ability hurts his game, but behind a Steelers offensive line that could be excellent in 2024 and with an excellent deep threat in George Pickens, he could still make life difficult for the Jets (assuming he starts over Justin Fields, which I believe he will). Mike Tomlin is likely to make the passing environment as comfortable for Wilson as possible, something Payton was unwilling to do.

7. Geno Smith

After a sudden breakout in 2022, Geno Smith came back to earth in 2023. He was okay, ranking 11th in yards per attempt (7.3) and posting a 20:9 TD:INT ratio. That was a far cry from his 30:11 mark in 2022, though. The biggest difference was touchdowns on deep passing, which dropped from 14 in 2022 to 5 in 2023. Still, his strong receiving trio means he can put up a big game at any time.

6. Trevor Lawrence

The Jaguars are discussing giving Trevor Lawrence a $50 million-per-year extension, but his play has not lived up to it so far. For a passer who posted a 21:14 TD:INT ratio in 2023, ranked 27th in turnover-worthy play rate (3.8%), and ranked between 18th and 20th in most other passing categories, 2024 is a critical year to prove that he can be the “generational” talent his predraft hype suggested he was. Still, he’s one season removed from an eight-game stretch with a 14:2 TD:INT ratio to finish the regular season, and he has a new field-stretcher in Brian Thomas Jr. Don’t count him out.

5. Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford had a very uneven 2023 season. Through Week 10, he had completed just 59.7% of his passes and had an 8:7 TD:INT ratio, although his 1.8% turnover-worthy play rate belied that inflated interception total. From Weeks 11-18, he completed 65.8% of his passes with 7.8 yards per attempt, a 16:4 TD:INT ratio, and a 104.5 passer rating. Talk about the tale of two halves.

Stafford can be streaky, but with the Rams’ rebuilt offensive line, a potential top running back tandem in Kyren Williams and rookie Blake Corum, and one of the best receiver duos in the league in Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp, he’s not a passer to underestimate. Even at 36, he could still give the Jets problems.

4. Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa falls into the same boat as Brock Purdy. His play against playoff teams is what sets him a tier below. He ranked fifth in completion percentage (69.3%), led all passers in yards (4,679), and ranked second in yards per attempt (8.3), fifth in touchdowns (29), third in EPA per dropback (0.12), and fourth in success rate (49.6%). It’s easy to say that anyone could do this in the Dolphins’ offensive environment, but there is something to be said for Tua’s lightning-quick release (2.32 seconds, ranked first) as the engine to spur the success.

3. Brock Purdy

Brock Purdy finished third in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting in 2023, then followed it up with a fourth-place MVP finish in 2024. It’s hard to believe in him because of the cushy environment he plays in, but his numbers are so top-notch that it’s also difficult to bet against him. Purdy led the league in yards per attempt (9.6) by a full 1.3 yards, also ranking fourth in completion percentage (69.4%), third in passing touchdowns (31), first in passer rating (113.0), sixth in completion percentage over expected (2.4%), first in EPA per dropback (0.24), and first in success rate (54.4%).

How do you argue against that, no matter how elite his supporting cast and coaching?

2. C.J. Stroud

The Jets made C.J. Stroud look mortal in 2023, but that doesn’t take away from his Offensive Rookie of the Year season. His 8.2 yards per attempt was third-best in the NFL, and he tied for sixth in EPA per dropback (0.06). He was particularly elite as a deep passer, ranking second in deep completion percentage (56.1%), yards (1,111), and yards per attempt (19.5) while posting a sparkling 8:0 TD:INT rate.

Stroud will need to show that his rookie year wasn’t just a fluke before the league figured him out, but he has even more dangerous weaponry to do it with Stefon Diggs and Joe Mixon joining Nico Collins, Tank Dell, and Dalton Schultz.

1. Josh Allen

There’s no way to rank Josh Allen anywhere other than No. 1 because of his run of dominance. He combined for 44 touchdowns in 2023 despite struggling somewhat with turnovers. His Week 11 performance against the Jets (20-for-32, 275 yards, 8.6 YPA, 3 TD, 1 INT, 108.2 passer rating) demonstrates exactly how he can beat them. Allen has combined for 173 passing and rushing touchdowns over the past four seasons, blowing any other player out of the water.

Where does Rodgers rank?

Among the passers that the Jets face in 2023, only Josh Allen is definitively better than Aaron Rodgers. You can make arguments about every other player. It all depends on which version of Rodgers we see. Still, the fact that the Jets are favored in 14 of 17 games speaks partially to what the oddsmakers think of Rodgers compared to the other quarterbacks. There is virtually no debate that Rodgers places any lower than seventh on this list, and you can place him as high as second. If 2020-21 MVP-level Rodgers shows up, he’ll exceed even Allen as better than every quarterback the Jets face this season.

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