One of the biggest questions the New York Jets will be facing is whether or not they will look to upgrade their quarterback situation. Geno Smith had more downs than ups as a rookie, but overall he showed good potential and played decently for a player who most agreed was nowhere even close to ready for the NFL. However, Smith hasn’t convinced anyone that he is the franchise quarterback the Jets have been looking for. The Jets will need to add at least one quarterback this offseason, but don’t expect it to be a big name addition.
Many people are discussing the possibility of the Jets drafting another quarterback, namely Johnny Manziel. Manziel joins Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles as the three quarterbacks likely to go in the first round in April. However, it is very unlikely that the Jets will end up with one of these players. The Jets hold the 18th pick in the draft, and there are at least five teams in front of them looking for a quarterback, and that number could be as high as eight. The odds of any of the top three quarterbacks falling to the Jets are very slim, and even if one were to make it, they might not want to start over just one year after drafting Smith in the second round.
The Jets also have Matt Simms on the roster, so it seems unlikely that they would draft another developmental quarterback later in the draft. What the Jets need at quarterback is a veteran who can come in and mentor Smith, as long as that player is also talented enough to compete with and replace him if necessary. The projected free agent class includes several players who fit that bill, including Josh McCown, Matt Flynn, Tavaris Jackson and former Jet Kellen Clemens.
The player that the fans will most likely be asking for is McCown, who was outstanding while filling in for Jay Cutler with the Chicago Bears this season. The Jets are far from the only team that’s going to be after McCown’s services, and he could end up costing more than they are willing to spend on a backup. However, McCown is pretty much exactly what the Jets are looking for. He has been around the NFL since 2002 (he was out of the league in 2006 and 2010), so he has plenty of experience, and he made it very clear that he can still play this season.
Flynn, Jackson and Clemens are less appealing names than McCown, but they are all veterans with starting experience, which is what the Jets need as a backup. The Jets are familiar with Clemens from his five years in New York, and they have been rumored to have interest in both Flynn and Jackson in the past. The most likely scenario is that one of these three players ends up with the Jets, and in terms of likelihood I would rank them Jackson, Flynn, Clemens.
The last player who needs to be addressed is Michael Vick. You will hear his name connected to the Jets this offseason, due to his familiarity with Marty Mornhinweg and his big name. However, I don’t think the Jets will add Vick, and I think doing so would be a big mistake. Vick is not a backup who can compete with Smith, he is an outright replacement for Smith. Furthermore, Vick cannot stay healthy, meaning the Jets would have to turn back to Smith at some point. Adding Vick would lead to far more problems than it’s worth, and the Jets should take a pass here.
The Jets need to get a veteran backup on their roster for next season in order to have an insurance policy for Smith. McCown is the ideal player to bring in, but there are still several other options. Don’t get your hopes up for the Jets to draft a quarterback, however, because they seem set on giving Smith at least one more year as the starter.