FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The New York Jets’ recent trade for backup quarterback Joe Flacco raised questions at the time of the deal, and those questions are more important now that Flacco, who said last week that he is not vaccinated, is in reserve / COVID-19 list.
Although Flacco is expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, marking the third time he has been inactive since the Oct. 25 trade, coach Robert Saleh defended the team’s decision to acquire an unvaccinated quarterback for a 2022 sixth round pick..
“I’ll stick with this forever – when someone offers a sixth-round pick for a player of Joe’s caliber, there is no risk to me,” Saleh said Wednesday. “You’re playing with the house money. I’ve said it before: you can change a place and get that sixth-round pick back quickly.
“I know we’re looking at the draft capital, but it’s an easy call. He’s a proven quarterback, a Super Bowl quarterback, a record holder, a guy who can solve an offense if he needs to step in there, which he did. Sunday. He did a phenomenal job against Miami’s pressure system. That, in itself, is worth its weight in gold. “
Flacco, 36, threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins, but returned to the bench this week because rookie Zach Wilson, out of the last four games with a sprained knee, has He’s been cleared to start against the Texans.
The Jets (2-8) will sign Josh Johnson out of the practice squad to serve as a backup because Flacco and Mike White were placed on the COVID-19 list Tuesday.
White tested positive and has been ruled out for the game. Flacco did not test positive; it was a close contact. Because he is not vaccinated, Flacco must test negative for five days in a row after his last contact before he can return to the team. That means he could be acquitted on Saturday. Had he been vaccinated, he would have been allowed to stay with the equipment and practice.
Flacco also had to clear five days of protocols at the time of his trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, which occurred a day after Wilson’s injury. Due to the delay, he did not have enough time to prepare for the October 31 game against the Cincinnati Bengals and, in a short week, for the November 4 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jets traded for Flacco, a former Super Bowl MVP with the Baltimore Ravens, because they wanted to have veteran experience behind Wilson.
During Wilson’s absence, White started three games, beating the Bengals impressively but losing the next two. (He injured his forearm and played only a quarter against the Colts.) It was widely assumed that he would start against Miami, but Saleh did a marvel and opted for Flacco.
Flacco would have been Wilson’s backup on Sunday, but that seems unlikely. Saleh suggested that he would be in an emergency situation. He alluded to the Thanksgiving holiday, when the number of positive tests could increase. If Wilson or Johnson end up on the COVID-19 list, they could fly Flacco to Houston on Saturday or Sunday.
“There is a possibility that he will be there on Sunday,” Saleh said. “We’re going to Josh unless something else happens this holiday season, so we’re going to leave that door open.”
Wilson said he was not worried about getting the White virus.
“I feel like we’ve taken the precautions and stuff,” said Wilson, who is vaccinated. “Obviously, I hope it doesn’t happen, you never know, but I feel good. I wasn’t worried about it at all.”