One year ago during Thanksgiving week, Jets coach Robert Saleh pulled the plug on Zach Wilson, benching the second-year quarterback for the first of two times last season in favor of backup Mike White.
Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, now has been yanked again from the starting lineup and dropped to third string on the depth chart — with journeyman Tim Boyle anointed Monday as the starter for the flailing team’s Black Friday game against the Dolphins.
This move feels like it holds more permanence for Wilson, whose Jets career appears ever closer to the end.
Wilson was slated to sit and learn from Aaron Rodgers this season before he was forced into action in the first game of the season when the four-time league MVP suffered a torn Achilles.
But with the offense operating at historically feeble levels across the board, it is clear now the Jets have whiffed badly on two quarterbacks taken with a top-3 draft selections in recent years. Wilson joins predecessor Sam Darnold as high-end busts at the most important position in the sport.
Darnold made 38 mostly uninspiring starts over three seasons with the Jets before being traded to the Panthers ahead of Wilson’s arrival in 2021, and he now is Brock Purdy’s backup with the 49ers.
Purdy has shown that draft status isn’t always an exact science; he was the last player drafted in 2022, yet beat out the team’s own No. 3 overall draft pick Trey Lance (who since has been traded to the Cowboys to serve as their third-string QB).
Baker Mayfield, the first overall selection in Darnold’s 2018 draft class, also already is on his fourth NFL team as the starter for the 4-6 Buccaneers.
Incredibly, the 29-year-old Boyle — Rodgers’ former understudy with the Packers — will become the 16th different player to start at quarterback for the Jets in the past 15 seasons. He follows a largely undistinguished list: Mark Sanchez, Kellen Clemens, Greg McElroy, Geno Smith, Michael Vick, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty, Josh McCown, Darnold, Trevor Siemian, Luke Falk, Joe Flacco, Wilson, White and Rodgers.
As Post beat writer Brian Costello noted on the social-media website formerly known as Twitter, “What makes [the Jets’] list even crazier is there were two other high profile QBs in this time who never made a start — Tim Tebow and Christian Hackenberg.”
It also should be pointed out, however, that the Jets hardly are alone in this quest for positional stability. They still have a long way to go to match the Browns, who have used a whopping 25 starting quarterbacks in that time frame.
Still, the 24-year-old Wilson has not taken advantage of his latest opportunity, in Rodgers’ absence, and it’s nearly impossible now to imagine him developing into the franchise’s long-awaited long-term answer based on what we’ve seen across 31 career starts.
That is not to say all of this falls on Wilson’s shoulders. He’s been asked to perform behind an injury-ravaged offensive line that has used six different starting configurations in the past six games.
But this season’s offensive numbers have been staggeringly bad: just nine offensive touchdown drives in 10 games and the worst red-zone and third-down efficiencies in the NFL in decades.
Wilson was 7-for-15 for 81 yards — with zero completions to a wide receiver — before Boyle replaced him late in the third quarter of Sunday’s 32-6 loss to the Bills. The Jets’ third straight defeat dropped them to the fringe of the playoff race at 4-6 with seven games to play. The former BYU star’s QBR of 30.7 ranks 30th among 31 qualified passers this season.
“We’ll deal with it in the offseason,” Saleh said Monday when asked about Wilson’s future with the Jets.
The switch to the unproven Boyle — who has three touchdowns and nine interceptions in 18 career NFL appearances including three starts for the Lions in 2021 — shows just how much Saleh’s confidence in Wilson has fallen.
Saleh also announced Siemian will be elevated from the practice squad to serve as Boyle’s backup against the Dolphins, pushing Wilson further to the organizational margins.
Today’s back page
Hall of a ballot
As a voting member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the past 17 years, I always look forward to the day Hall of Fame ballots are mailed out to the electorate.
That day was Monday, so I’m looking forward to the envelope arriving in my mailbox later this week.
Without giving away my official ballot just yet, here are a few early thoughts:
• Among the first-timers, Adrian Beltre should be a shoo-in with 477 home runs, 3,166 hits and five Gold Gloves, and Joe Mauer also will receive plenty of support (.306 lifetime average, with three batting titles as a catcher) in Year 1.
• I’m also considering a checkmark for longtime Mets nemesis Chase Utley after adding double-play partner Jimmy Rollins to my selections one year ago, but David Wright falls short for me due to the injuries that shortened his career. (Jose Reyes and Bartolo Colon, another pair with strong Mets ties, also are appearing on the ballot for the first time.)
With Scott Rolen getting elected last year — and with Jeff Kent, whom I voted for every year he was eligible, dropping off the ballot — I have five open spots this year among the maximum of 10, though I’m not necessarily planning to use all of my available selections.
• The two returning players with the highest vote totals from one year ago, and thus the most likely holdovers to be on the Cooperstown stage next summer, are Todd Helton (72.2 percent last year) and Billy Wagner (68.1). Both were pretty close to the 75 percent threshold required for enshrinement.
I also voted last year for Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield, who needs to gain another 20 percent in his 10th and final year of eligibility after reaching 55 percent in 2023.
• Some might disagree, but PED-suspended stars Alex Rodriguez (35.7 percent) and Manny Ramirez (33.2) shouldn’t expect much of a bump this year.
• As for another former Mets All-Star, it’ll be interesting to see how much Carlos Beltran’s numbers advance from his first-time grade of 46.5 percent one year ago. Many omitted him over his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
My own Shark week
I’ve taken plenty of road trips to cover sporting events in more than 30 years in this business, with the Marriott Bonvoy status (lifetime Titanium!) to prove it.
But last week’s trek to Denver was a far more personal experience. I flew out to watch my adopted new college soccer team — the Long Island University Sharks — participate in the Division I NCAA men’s tournament.
My son, Tyler, is a first-year assistant coach at LIU after spending several seasons at Molloy University, including a trip to the Division II tournament in his first year as head coach there in 2021.
Despite a late 2-1 loss to the University of Denver on Thursday — and a bleary-eyed return flight to JFK the following morning, instead of a second-round date with SMU in Dallas — the experience of going along for the ride was well worth it. (Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jack Johnson even addressed the team the night before the match.)
There still is one Long Island school alive in the Big Dance. Hofstra, my son’s alma mater as a student-athlete and former captain of the Pride, will face third-ranked North Carolina this weekend in Chapel Hill after ousting Yale, 2-0, Sunday in Hempstead.
The scoreboard: Minny so-so edition
Timberwolves 117, Knicks 100: The Knicks (8-6) settled for a 3-2 road trip after running out of steam in the second half. Jalen Brunson scored 25 points, and Julius Randle added 21 with 14 rebounds. Quentin Grimes was scoreless in his return to the lineup. Anthony Edwards (23 points) took over in the third quarter for the T’wolves, who led by just 2 at halftime. One trend to watch: The Knicks are now 1-5 against teams with winning records.
Stars 6, Rangers 3: An 11-game points streak came to an end in Dallas with the Rangers’ first regulation loss since Oct. 19. The Rangers held a 2-0 lead on goals by Vincent Trocheck and Kaapo Kakko before falling apart.
Eagles 21, Chiefs 17: This Super Bowl rematch on “Monday Night Football” went to big brother Jason Kelce and the Eagles, who improved to 9-1. They rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit by shutting out the Chiefs (7-3) in the second half: Travis Kelce fumbled in the red zone as Kansas City was trying to extend a 17-14 fourth-quarter lead, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped a would-be go-ahead 51-yard touchdown in the final minutes. Taylor Swift and her parents weren’t there.
What we’re reading 👀
🏈 The Post’s Paul Schwartz explores a pressing Giants question: Why is Brian Daboll so dull behind the microphone?
🏀 The Knicks raised the stakes (past $10 million!) and cranked up the anti-Adam Silver rhetoric in the latest explosive turn in their corporate-espionage lawsuit against the Raptors.
⚾ Attention Mets and Yankees, let the bidding begin — perhaps in the $200 million neighborhood — for prized Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
⛳ Fore! The Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy indoor virtual golf league was pushed back a year after a roof cave-in.
⚽ Sergiño Dest’s senseless red card outraged his teammates and coach, but despite the resulting 2-1 loss at Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. men’s national team advanced to the Concacaf Nations League semifinals on aggregate.
⚽ No Alex Morgan, no Crystal Dunn. A new look for the U.S. women’s national team.
💪 A major shakeup in the MMA world.
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