The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below!
Christian Hackenberg will make his first New York Jets start on ______
The Jets should walk away from the Ryan Fitzpatrick negotiations on _____
Joe Caporoso – Barring multiple injuries at the quarterback position or a December that sees the Jets 3-4 games below .500, Christian Hackenberg will not see the field this season. The Jets are adamant about investing in a proper development time frame for their second round pick, who is very much a project. Internally, the Jets are likely eyeing week 1 of 2017 for Hackenberg to start under center.
The Jets first pre-season game is August 11th, if Fitzpatrick is not back when “game prep” begins for that (a few days before), they should move on. Yes, he didn’t move into the number one spot until a similar time last season but he was still practicing fully with the team during minicamp and early in training camp. At a certain point, you need to turn the page to avoid the daily distractions that will come from an outstanding contract situation. I do think Fitz will cave before then.
Dalbin Osorio – Christian Hackenberg should not start at all this year. Let’s get that out of the way right now. However, he probably will start at some point. If Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets starting QB week one, then the Hackenberg Era will begin week 8. I don’t think Fitz duplicates last year’s season, and I think there’s a good chance he is injured by the midway point of the season. This will make Maccagnan’s contract to Fitz either really smart or really dumb, due to the structure of it.
The Jets should walk away from Ryan Fitzpatrick by June 1st, which would give Geno Smith two weeks to begin to get ready with the other starters before OTAs begin. You want him to have a chance to work with his new LT, a new starting RB, new starting TE, and two WRs that he saw minimal game action with last year. June 1st is where I’d draw the line.
Joe Malfa – Would it be a Jets offseason if we didn’t have a roundtable talking about the QBs?
Christian Hackenberg will make his first start for the New York Jets in week 1…of 2018. Hackenberg is a major question mark who can either be a major bust or regain the form that had him pegged as the #1 pick after his freshman season. Either way, he is nowhere near ready to start for an NFL team this season. He has accuracy issues that he needs to iron out, and he needs to get acclimated to Chan Gailey’s offense. The reason I can comfortably say Hackenberg will not start until week 1 of 2018 is because Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to re-sign for what should be a two-year deal, bridging the gap to Hackenberg in 2018.
I have no doubt in my mind that Fitz will be the first to blink in this staring contest, and there really is no set date in the near future for me to draw a line in the sand. DO mentioned June 1st so Geno can start working with the first team offense and build chemistry with the new faces, but whether Fitz doesn’t sign at all or opts to join the team August 1st, Geno will still get those reps in June. The reason I mention August 1st is because that date marks the end of the 1st week of training camp. Even if Fitz were to miss the 1st week, he knows the offense and led this team to 10 wins last season — would missing a week of camp really hurt him? Besides, last season he was limited early in camp anyway because of his recovery from the broken leg, and Geno opened camp as the starter getting all of the reps with the starters. Essentially, Fitz wasn’t a full-go getting reps with the starters last year until Geno got rocked by I.K., so he would be just fine joining the team by August 1st. I would not want him to miss any more than a week of camp though, so August 1st is where I’d say a line should be drawn.
David Aitken – Hackenberg will make his first start Week 1 of 2017, which for me might still be too early. The Jets right now have a broken player on their hands, and it is going to take time to build Hackenberg up again. It’s all really up to him. The Jets took a chance that they have a football junkie in Hackenberg that’ll work tirelessly to revamp his mechanics and master a new offense. That could take a year, a few years, or maybe it never happens. What I do know is that playing him in 2016 could have disastrous consequences given the current state of him as a prospect, unless the Jets are looking for a one way ticket to DeShaun Watson in 2017. If the Jets can get Fitzpatrick back though, that’ll afford the ability to be patient with Hackenberg.
As for getting Fitzpatrick back, I’d put a soft deadline at training camp and a week or two into preseason at the very latest before moving on. An early training camp injury is the absolute final card he has to play in terms of getting a team to pay him more than what the Jets are offering, so I wouldn’t rule out Fitzpatrick waiting that long. I wouldn’t worry too much about a late arrival being an issue, given that Fitzpatrick last year was recovering from injury most of the offseason and wasn’t thrust into the starting position until a few days before the first preseason game. As for how real the threats of retiring are, I don’t buy it for a second. As Corey Griffin pointed out, Sam Bradford and Fitzpatrick share the same agents and Bradford recently tried a similar ploy. Now he’s back with the Eagles. Granted Fitzpatrick is older and stands to see significantly less money than Bradford, but why retire now? The offer even as it stands is likely close on average to the one he signed in Buffalo, and is certain to be the best deal he’s had in several years. He’s coming off his best year for a winning team that actually wants him back, which again hasn’t happened in years. It just doesn’t add up.
Nikki Charlesworth – The first of these points could end up being highly reliant on what happens with the second. If Fitz does come back, Hackenberg’s first start will depend on how the depth chart shapes up behind him. Many expect that Geno Smith will be released and this leads to two options; Hackenburg as backup or a further veteran acquisition. If Hack gets the backup spot, then his first start could earlier than we’d ideally like, resulting from an injury to Fitz, (especially if he continues to refuse to slide). Considering the level of technical development Hackenburg needs, this would be worrying to say the least. On the other hand, the drafting of Hackenburg suggests the team aren’t high on Bryce Petty (possibly because of his lack of development in the pro-style offense), therefore potentially Geno could be kept as back up with Hackenburg as the third QB. This would mean less likelihood of him starting this season. Ideally, we don’t see Hackenburg starting until at least 2017, and only if Chan Gailey have managed to rediscover the talent he showed in his freshman year.
Fitzpatrick arrived at the Jets almost one year ago to the day but despite being with the team for all of the off season (recovering from injury), he wasn’t thrust into the starting role until mid- August following the Geno sucker punch situation. Therefore there isn’t necessarily urgency to get Fitz into the building before the equivalent time this year; at the latest a couple of weeks into camp. Obviously, you can’t deny that the longer he spends in training camp the better and the ideal situation is that he is signed sooner rather than later to give a bit of stability and time for forward planning. However, this year Fitz has a better understanding of the offense and a good relationship with his receivers, meaning a slight delay shouldn’t be too detrimental even though it’s not ideal. If we get to that point and there is still stalemate, the Jets may need to walk away and assess the other options, none of which appeal.
Kevin Zielaznicki – The date of Christian Hackenberg’s first start could depend on what happens between the Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the coming weeks. Although Hackenberg is nowhere near ready to start an NFL game, he could very well be the Jets starting quarterback week one against the Cincinnati Bengals. If the quarterback depth chart only features Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, and Hackenberg going into training camp, I’d give Hackenberg a decent chance to win the job, especially with the reports that the Bowles-Macc regime doesn’t have faith in Geno Smith’s ability to be the Jets starting QB. With all that being said, I’m predicting that Christian Hackenberg’s first game as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets will be sometime in the final games of the 2016 season.
If the battle between Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets continues into the start of training camp, the Jets should walk away. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement by then, the Jets need to cut off negotiations and start to focus on other matters like the start of the season and if he is still on the roster by then, Muhammad Wilkerson’s contract situation. The sooner this matter is resolved, the better both Fitz and the Jets will be.
Alex Kaczynski – Christian Hackenberg will start his first game as QB of the New York Jets midway through the 2016 season. Geno Smith will ultimately fall short of expectations and the Jets will be at the midpoint of the season in need of a big spark as they hand the offense over to the rookie quarterback. I have faith in Chan Gailey and the rest of the offensive coaching staff after seeing what they did with Ryan Fitzpatrick last season and I’m confident that they can make it work with Hack.
The Jets need to have some type of deadline in mind on when to end the contract talks with Fitz because if they let this continue, it will only become a distraction to the team. I believe that the Jets should walk away from contract negotiations after OTAs. If OTAs come and go with no agreement, the Jets should start focusing on the QB competition between Geno, Petty, and Hackenberg.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com