The New York Jets' 2023 season was upended just four plays into their opener. Now everyone around the league is wondering who could take over from Aaron Rodgers under center, especially since backup Zach Wilson has been benched as starter before.
One name that's been tossed about is none other than Cleveland Browns rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. However, that suggestion, even if it's a fun alternative for the Jets, makes absolutely no sense for everyone involved.
For starters, DTR is essential in Cleveland after the team parted ways with veteran Joshua Dobbs, handing the first-year pro the keys to the backup job. The Browns don't have another QB on the active roster, and only P.J. Walker currently resides on the practice squad.
Dealing Thompson-Robinson would mean beginning the QB2 search all over from again, but with added difficulty since most premium options are already locked down at this point. Sure, they could sign a veteran free agent like Nick Foles, or poach a gunslinger from someone else's practice squad, but there's no guarantee either avenue works out.
In DTR, Cleveland knows it has a player who fits perfectly within this offense and roster. He made plenty of plays through the air and on the ground during the preseason, making him an ideal talent to have behind the similarly profiled Deshaun Watson. If Watson were to miss any time, the Browns' game plan may not need to change a ton, which adds to the UCLA product's apeal.
Plus, there's some long-term value that makes Thompson-Robinson worth keeping around for this year and beyond. No one knows exactly what he'll turn into if given starting-level playing time, but the potential is apparent.
Everyone obviously wants Watson to work out, but if DTR shows he can be a legit QB1 on a low-cost rookie deal, that gives GM Andrew Berry another path to building a contender. Cleveland should keep that door open at the very least, instead of selling now for a mid-round pick at best.
On the Jets' side, though the dual threat is alluring, he's also extremely unproven. New York's entire offseason was built around contending in 2023, and acquiring a rookie most likely wouldn't serve that purpose well. Though Wilson has his own issues, at least he knows the system, and that makes him a safer choice to start through the rest of the year.
Signing a veteran like Foles, Carson Wentz or Joe Flacco -- who've all been part of various deep playoff runs -- seems like the most logical choice here. Even trading for Jameis Winston, Tyler Huntley or Cooper Rush makes more sense than pursuing DTR.
Any way you look at it, Thompson-Robinson to the Jets trade talk misses the mark for both sides. It doesn't benefit the Browns to deal their only backup, who also happens to be a young player with legitimate upside. Nor should the Jets really target a rookie to capitalize on their window to contend. All in all, this is just another theoretical that breaks down when you actually think about its implications for a second.
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