The Jets saw Plan B come off the board on Monday and the clock is now ticking on Plan A.
Free agent Derek Carr signed with the Saints on Monday on a reported four-year, $150 million contract.
The Jets have been flirting with Carr over the last month and were high on him, but did not commit as they waited for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to determine his future.
Now, Carr is no longer an option.
The waiting game with Rodgers continues and the clock is ticking louder now.
The new league year and free agency begins on March 15.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said last week that Green Bay hopes to have a decision from Rodgers by then.
That is the only kind of soft deadline that exists for Rodgers.
But Rodgers operates on his own schedule so no one in the NFL really knows when he will announce his plans.
Rodgers could retire. If he says he wants to play in 2023, then it becomes a decision of whether he and the Packers want to stay together or if he is going to be traded.
If he hits the trading block, the Jets will be one of his top suitors.
The Jets and the Packers have already had preliminary conversations in case Rodgers does become available.
Jets general manager Joe Douglas said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine that the Jets will not rush anyone to make a decision.
“I think it’s hard to put an exact timetable,” Douglas said. “I think everybody would like it done sooner rather than later, but everyone has their own process. [I] feel like we have our process and exploring the market, exploring options, and each player has their own process in terms of what they have going on. So, I can’t give a direct timetable, specific timetable, but again, when the decision is ready to be made, I feel very strongly we’re going to make the right decision for the Jets.”
The Jets and Carr met last month in New Jersey and the two sides hit it off.
They met again last week at the Combine in Indianapolis.
Even though there was some chemistry between Carr and the Jets, the Saints have been considered the favorites to land Carr by those around the NFL since January.
Carr visited the Saints while he was still a member of the Raiders.
He declined to waive his no-trade clause and Las Vegas released him, allowing him to pursue a contract as a free agent.
The Jets are viewed by many around the league as the favorites to be Rodgers’ new team.
That being said, Rodgers takes pride in not letting much information about his plans get out and he is hard to predict.
If the Jets miss out on Rodgers, the next quarterback to look at is Jimmy Garoppolo, who is scheduled to become a free agent next week.
Jets coach Robert Saleh and Garoppolo have familiarity from their time together with the 49ers where Saleh was the defensive coordinator from 2017-20.
The two went to a Super Bowl together in the 2019 season.
Garoppolo, 31, has had some good moments in San Francisco but has struggled to stay healthy.
Garoppolo started 10 games last season before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
During his five full seasons with the 49ers, he only played at least 15 games twice.
His best season with the 49ers was 2019 when he started 16 games and threw for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
He has thrown for 20 touchdowns in a season twice in his career.
There are not many other strong options for the Jets.
If the Ravens use a non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, the Jets would have to consider making a run at him, but it is hard to imagine Douglas being willing to give up two first-round picks or owner Woody Johnson giving Jackson the fully guaranteed contract he reportedly wants.
There is still some speculation the Titans could move on from Ryan Tannehill.
If he hits the market, the Jets could consider him.
Jets passing game coordinator Todd Downing was just hired after spending the last four years on the Titans staff.