Most NFL teams keep two quarterbacks and another on the scout team. It’s rare for teams to carry three quarterbacks on the final roster, but the New York Jets bump it up to four after training camp, per general manager Mike Maccagnan.
If keeping 4QBs is best thing for #Jets at end of TC, Mike Maccagnan said they'll keep 4 (WFAN)
— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_BN) May 3, 2016
The Jets’ current quarterback situation is about as undesirable as can be.
Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg are the three currently on the roster. Of the three, Smith would appear to be the best option right out of the gate, which isn’t good news for the Jets.
Smith was pretty much the worst quarterback in the league in 2014 before Ryan Fitzpatrick stopped the bleeding last year. He has a career passing percentage of 57.9, has thrown 27 touchdowns compared to 35 interceptions and isn’t exactly a magician in the pocket when pressure comes his way.
Petty is a second-year passer who comes from a system at Baylor that couldn’t be more anti-pro-style offense. Just look at how hard the transition has been for Robert Griffin III, who also has wheels like Michael Vick. Petty isn’t ready to take the reins and might never be.
Hackenberg playing in 2016 would be an utter disaster. A guy who needs probably two or three years of training before his natural skills could be utilized with acumen, he might never be a starter in the NFL.
A fourth quarterback thrown into the mix would likely be the one to start. But the options are extremely limited at this point.
Ryan Fitzpatrick remains an option, but he and the Jets are extremely far apart in what are now pretty much dead contract negotiations. Still, the Jets would immediately slot him in as the starter if the two sides can come to an amenable arrangement.
Aside from Fitzpatrick, Colin Kaepernick could potentially be an option. He’s been linked to the team this offseaon.
Sam Bradford has asked for a trade, but his salary is much higher than what the Jets are willing to pay Fitzpatrick, so that’s probably not going go happen. Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks Nick Foles and Case Keenum are both reportedly on the trade block as well.
It’s hard to imagine either of them would be much better than Smith, who is looking like the best option the Jets have going.
Whatever happens with Gang Green this year, it’s going to hinge on what kind of production the offense gets from the quarterback position. It’s going to be an interesting storyline to follow as training camp rolls around and competition heats up.