Jets must figure out what to do with all these quarterbacks now
With Sam Darnold on board, the Jets suddenly have a very crowded quarterbacks room. The question now is: When will that change?
The Jets have Darnold, Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg on the roster. No team needs five quarterbacks, so general manager Mike Maccagnan likely will get rid of at least one of them soon. That was something Maccagnan would not address on Saturday.
“Again, we’ll see how that unfolds here going forward,” Maccagnan said. “There’s always conversations you have with teams and we’ll see how that unfolds here in the next little bit of time.”
Petty seems the most likely to be gone. The Jets have had three years to evaluate him and he has started seven games in the past two years, going 1-6 and not showing improvement from 2016 to 2017. The 2015 fourth-round pick is in the final year of his contract. The NFL Network reported Friday that teams had contacted the Jets about trading for Petty. If that report was accurate, why didn’t the Jets take anything they could get for Petty? More likely, someone from the Jets planted that report to try to drum up interest.
If Petty is released soon, the biggest question mark surrounding the quarterbacks room becomes Teddy Bridgewater. The Jets signed him to a low-money deal in March ($500,000 guaranteed) and there is uncertainty about his health as he is still recovering from a serious knee injury suffered in 2016. The Jets begin spring practices (OTAs) on May 22. If Bridgewater is unable to be a full participant in those, it makes sense for the Jets to just hold onto all four quarterbacks, since they would only have three practicing — the normal number most teams have this year.
Hackenberg has been working with quarterbacks coach Jeff Christensen this offseason, and the Jets have told people they are interested in seeing whether he has improved. Still, a roster spot this season feels unlikely for Hackenberg. But there is no reason to get rid of him soon. They can give him a look in the spring and in training camp and then make a decision at the end of training camp.
The Jets also can take that view with Bridgewater. If he is healthy and performing well, he could win the starting job in training camp. If he struggles and does not look like he is past the knee injury, the Jets could cut him (paying him just $1 million) or try to trade him. There is no guarantee he will be on the team in 2018.
McCown will enter training camp as the starting quarterback, but he must hold off Bridgewater and Darnold to hold onto the starting job. The Jets surely will be cautious not to rush Darnold, but if he plays lights out in training camp, it will be impossible for them to resist making him the starter.
If the Jets feel comfortable with Darnold and Bridgewater, it would not be a shock for them to shop McCown.
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