The New York Jets signed veteran quarterback Trevor Siemian to the practice squad Tuesday, giving them an experienced backup to embattled starter Zach Wilson.
The team announced the move after the 31-year-old Siemian passed a physical at the Jets’ practice facility in Florham Park, New Jersey.
Wilson has struggled since taking over for Aaron Rodgers, who tore his left Achilles tendon four snaps into his debut with New York. Wilson has two touchdown passes and four interceptions with a 52.4 percent completion rate and is averaging just 5.6 yards per pass.
Several names had been mentioned as potential pickups for the Jets. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wrote a letter to New York general manager Joe Douglas asking the team to consider signing him to the practice squad.
The letter, dated Sept. 21, was released on social media by rapper J. Cole. A person close to Kaepernick, speaking on condition of anonymity because it’s a private matter, confirmed to the AP the legitimacy of the letter. It was not immediately known, however, if Douglas or someone in the Jets organization actually received or saw the letter.
On a superficial level, Siemian can be a bit of an upgrade — his mean production (58.9 COMP%, 6.7 Y/A. 42-28 TD/INT) is “lower-tier backup “at best, but sadly still distinctly better than Wilson (54/9%, 6.3, 17-22.) But. still, he hasn’t started more than 4 games in a season since 2017, and as a UW fan let me assure you that when a team with Super Bowl aspirations and a gimpy starter chooses Jake Browning over you…it ain’t great. It remains an object lesson in the perils of using “bringing in the star QBs golf buddies” as a principle to fill out your roster.
On the Kaepernick question — look, I have less than no patience for claims that he wasn’t really blackballed, or that “he’s rusty” was anything but a translucent pretext in years 1 and even 2 of the blackball. He was one of the 20 or so best QBs available to NFL teams when he was excluded for purely McCarthyite reasons, at least initially. But…look, he hasn’t been on an NFL roster since the Obama administration. Even if he’s in peak physical condition, all of the many very specialized skills an NFL QB needs have been atrophying. DeShaun Watson — an infinitely worse person than Kaepernick but let us be frank a substantially more accomplished player — missed only a year and a half and he’s basically been a replacement-level player since coming back. What was done to Kaepernick was grossly unfair, but I can’t tell you with a straight face that he would be a material upgrade over the other options available to the Jets at this late date, and it’s very possible that he would be even less playable than Wilson.
While we’re here, Namath injecting himself into the Wilson conservation led to predictable comments that ACTUALLY he sucked and has no business saying anything. This is historical and statistical ignorance. He got hurt and was pretty terrible outside of his peak seasons even when you adjust for a context far less favorable to the passing game, it is true, but during that peak he was a legitimately outstanding and high-impact player. Whether he had enough good years to justify a Hall of Fame selection is a matter of taste — I have no problem with it personally, but he wasn’t just a guy who got famous because one game and playing in New York.