Eagles trade Joe Flacco back to Jets after Zach Wilson's injury

·3 min read

The New York Jets have been saying since the spring that they didn't need an experienced quarterback on the roster. But Monday, a day after losing rookie Zach Wilson for at least the next two games, they made a deal to bring back a familiar face.

The Jets traded for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Joe Flacco, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni confirmed in a news conference. The Jets are sending a conditional sixth-round pick to the Eagles, which could become a fifth-round pick depending on how much Flacco plays for the Jets, according to ESPN, which first reported the trade.

Flacco, 36, was the Jets' backup in 2020 behind Sam Darnold. He played five games for the Jets, including four starts when Darnold was injured. Flacco completed 74 of 134 passes (55.2%) for 864 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Joe Flacco throws the ball during practice at NFL football training camp, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Joe Flacco throws the ball during practice at NFL football training camp, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Trading for Flacco makes a lot of sense for the Jets: he gives the team a proven quarterback who will give them a legitimate chance to win games when Wilson isn't on the field. It's unclear who will start Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

But presumably, the Jets brought in the veteran Flacco to play. And that's a huge shift away from the course the organization has set for months — including earlier Monday, when Jets coach Robert Saleh expressed confidence in fourth-year passer Mike White, who filled in for Wilson in Sunday's 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots after the starter's injury.

"We have a lot of faith in Mike, that’s why we kept him," Saleh said just hours before the trade. "He, to us, proved that he can function in this system."

The Jets declined to bring in a backup quarterback earlier this year, and Flacco signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Eagles in March. The Jets will take on the remainder of Flacco's $1.1 million base salary after the trade.

After drafting Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft, the Jets went into training camp with three quarterbacks who had never played a regular-season snap: Wilson, White and James Morgan, a 2020 fourth-round pick.

White outplayed Morgan during the preseason but neither appeared to show that they were ready to take on a major role if Wilson was forced to miss time. But Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas said they both had faith in the quarterbacks on the roster.

The Jets added a fourth quarterback during training camp, veteran Josh Johnson, who remains on the practice squad. They cut Morgan in September, and he has been with the Panthers' practice squad since.

White acquitted himself well in Sunday's loss to the Patriots, completing 20 of 32 passes for 202 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

It's unclear what the trade for Flacco means for the future of White and Johnson. But the Jets clearly have reevaluated their priorities at quarterback since Wilson's injury and felt it was important to have a veteran on the roster.

It's hard to argue with having a veteran quarterback on the roster. But an injury to Wilson was always a possibility, so they would have been better off having a veteran on the roster who already knew the playbook. Perhaps Flacco can get up to speed quickly enough to play Sunday. But if he can't, or if he struggles against Cincinnati, it will be fair to wonder if the Jets waited too long to bring in a veteran.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Joe Flacco trade: Eagles trade QB back to Jets with Zach Wilson hurt

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