The New York Jets have too many question marks to count going into this off season. Arguably the most pertinent of those, who would be running the team, has been answered: Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles. We have covered those hires in depth and with the rest of the coaching staff rounding out, the topic of conversation turns to the quarterback.
Questions surrounding the signal caller drive the discourse around the Jets every offseason. With Gang Green again sitting at home, the team brass has time to look at the Conference Championship bound teams and yearn. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson: the past and present paragons of the position. This year’s playoffs have only helped to solidify the mantra of the quarterback driven league. Without competent quarterback play, a deep playoff run is highly unlikely.
However, as seems to be the case for this snake bitten franchise, the quarterback market this offseason is a scarce one. Still, the onus is on the Jets to field a team with improved play under center. With that in mind, here are the directions the team can go in trying to fill the void at quarterback. We will take a deeper look at the options as the offseason progresses but, as always, sound off below with comments or players we missed.
The One Everyone Assumes: the Draft
JAMEIS WINSTON: To many, the book on Winston has already been written: the most talented passer since Luck but with an off the field rap sheet longer than…well, it’s really long. Winston’s arm strength, instinct, and vision are note worthy. His poise in the pocket and anticipation, often throwing before his receiver hits his break, make him as pro ready as they come. That being said, he is clearly immature off the field and, in 2014, started staring down his receivers and making questionable decisions with the football.
MARCUS MARIOTA: Mariota finds himself on the opposite end of the spectrum from Winston. Like Winston, Mariota is incredibly athletic and was highly productive in college. However, the comparisons end there. His off the field persona and on field decision making are polished and often compared to Peyton Manning. Mariota ran a one read system at Oregon and either checked down or took off when his first option was covered. He also fails to anticipate his receiver’s routes.
GARRET GRAYSON: Grayson will likely garner more attention as the draft process continues, but right now, he is comfortably obscure. The Colorado State senior has excellent instincts and pocket presence. He leads receivers well and is consistently accurate. He struggles to hit out routes with velocity passes and, like Mariota, tends to stare down his primary read. He may not be slinging it in the ACC or PAC 12 but Grayson has shown some poise against stout defenses.
BRYCE PETTY: Petty comes with a lot of the same question marks as Mariota. Petty tends to lock onto his primary read and take off when its covered. Petty displays superb arm strength and the ability to extend plays outside the pocket.
The One Everyone Neglects: Trade
JAY CUTLER: The cupboard is pretty bare when it comes to quarterbacks on the trade block. The most notable name out there is Jay Cutler. Late into the 2014 season, rumors started circulating that Cutler was disgruntled and a rift had formed between him and the coaching staff. With new management and a coaching staff in place in Chicago, a trade has become less imminent. However, if Jay Cutler still wants out, he is by far the most talented (yet scatter shot) passer available.
MIKE GLENNON: The Buccaneers hold the number one overall pick in the draft and will likely go with a quarterback. Given Josh McCown’s history with Head Coach Lovie Smith, Glennon would be the odd man out. He showed some promise in his rookie year and may be worth a flyer if available.
The One Everyone Dreads: Geno Smith
GENO SMITH: Like it or not, Geno Smith will be a Jet in 2015. At his salary, at the position he plays, with the potential he has flashed – there is no reason to cut him loose. Smith could look much more competent after a full offseason to work with Harvin, Decker, Amaro and any other pair of hands Maccagnan can scrounge up. New Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey could also help Smith improve his game.
The One Everyone (Should) Dread: Free Agency
You can draw your own conclusions on this barren crop but be honest with yourself: how much of an improvement would any of these players be? Most of them are who they are: injury prone, busts, career backups, or out to pasture.
- Matt Moore
- Jake Locker
- Ryan Mallett
- Brian Hoyer
- Christian Ponder
- Mark Sanchez
- Blaine Gabbert
- Shaun Hill
- Tarvaris Jackson
- TJ Yates
- Austin Davis
For my money, Matt Moore, Jake Locker, and Ryan Mallett are the ones worth taking a flier on and hoping for at least a season of starting caliber play. Hope for any more from this group and you will be let down.