General manager Mike Maccagnan talks about how the Jets will approach free agency, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
The Jets have been busy in free agency. But the quarterback question, as it always is with this team, looms above all else. We examine five pressing questions about the Jets’ quarterback dilemma as free agency continues.
Are the Jets done adding QBs??
They certainly shouldn?t be. Josh McCown is going to be 39 years old at the start of next season. Teddy Bridgewater is coming off a devastating knee injury, and no one knows for sure what he?ll look like.
This is the perfect time for the Jets to draft a quarterback ? and we?re not talking about a project quarterback. General manager Mike Maccagnan needs to do something he?s never done before: pick a quarterback who is ready to compete, right now, for the starting job. If the rookie doesn?t win the job, that?s OK as long as he shows signs of promise in training camp. And if the rookie does win the job, both McCown or Bridgewater could be tradeable assets. ?
The Jets are clearly looking closely at the top quarterbacks. Maccagnan was at Baker Mayfield?s pro day in Oklahoma on Wednesday and in Los Angeles at Josh Rosen?s on Thursday. He should be looking closely because the Jets can?t afford for him to get this decision wrong.?
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Will there be enough reps to go around?
Yes, and last year was proof of it. Jets coach basically held an open audition during training camp and the preseason, sitting McCown after the first series of the first preseason game and not giving him any real action until the fourth preseason game. During that time, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty basically split the reps, with both getting plenty of chances to showcase what they?ve got.?
If the Jets head into this training camp with three quarterbacks, they can do the same thing. They don?t need to see what McCown has. They know, and there?s an added benefit of keeping a 39-year-old healthy. The ideal situation will be for a rookie and Bridgewater to get heavy reps in the preseason.?
Could Teddy Bridgewater be the QB of the future??
There?s absolutely a chance. Bridgewater is only 25, so if he comes out, wins the job in training camp and has a great season ? improving on his 2015 Pro Bowl campaign ?? it could be the start of a decade-long run as the Jets? quarterback.?
But there’s also absolutely a chance that Bridgewater will never be the same after suffering that devastating, non-contact injury in training camp of 2016. That’s why the Jets are paying him a contract that reportedly starts at $5 million for next year, but can pay Bridgewater up to $15 million depending on what incentives he hits. There will be no way to know until Bridgewater takes to field and starts showing what he can do. But bringing him in was a smart, savvy move for the Jets.
What about Hackenberg and Petty??
There is no scenario where both Hackenberg and Petty return to the Jets, and it?s likely that both will be gone by Week 1 in September. Petty has almost certainly played his last game as a Jet. He struggled in seven starts over two seasons and didn?t show any major signs of development. It?s time to move on from the 2015 fourth-round pick.?
There?s a chance Hackenberg could be on the roster next season ? after all, the Jets did carry four quarterbacks until Geno Smith?s midseason injury in 2016. But Hackenberg has struggled and looked overwhelmed in preseason games. The Jets will likely keep him around through training camp, but unless he shows some sort of dramatic and stunning improvement, it will be time to cut him loose rather than use a roster spot on a guy who has zero chance of playing.
Who will be the Week 1 starter??
The situation is likely to be similar to 2017. Josh McCown will go into the offseason program and training camp as the No. 1 guy. But just like last year, don?t expect him to see the majority of the reps. Other guys will have a chance to compete for the job.
Bowles will need to get a good look at Bridgewater ? who is an unknown quantity ? and whichever rookie quarterback they pick. If Bridgewater or the rookie goes has a great preseason, there?s a real chance they could win the starting job. But McCown will go in as the favorite.?