The Jets benched Zach Wilson.
Head coach Robert Saleh decided against any half-measures of putting the struggling Wilson on notice or creating a phony competition during practice and went all-in on a new era.
Saleh announced the change to the team during a meeting Wednesday morning, as first reported by ESPN. It was not immediately clear if Mike White – who was promoted to backup earlier this season – or Joe Flacco – who started the first three games of the season during Wilson’s absence with a knee injury – is taking over.
Wilson is 5-2 as a starter this season, but his failure to fall on the sword after last week’s stinker against the Patriots (9-of-22 for 77 yards as the Jets managed six first downs and scored three points) rubbed some people the wrong way. The Jets are in the thick of the playoff race, thanks to a vaunted defense and a run-first offense, and decided a quarterback change could create more balance.
It is a crossroads for the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft – and it comes a few days before the Bears visit. The Jets’ decision to pick Wilson looks like the Bears’ big gain because quarterback Justin Fields slipped to pick No. 11 (the 49ers also passed to select Trey Lance at No. 3) and is thriving as a dual-threat.