For football fans in the state of New York this has been a tough season to endure. The Jets and Giants struggled mightily all season while the Buffalo Bills finished with the best record they’ve had in ten years just to fall short of the playoffs. It’s ironic that all three of the teams that represent the state of New York all have the same problem: inconsistent play at the quarterback position.
The Jets had another season to forget behind the combination of Michael Vick and Geno Smith. Once the season concluded the Jets cut ties with head coach Rex Ryan, only to see him accept the head coaching position in Buffalo just a few days later. With a change to the coaching staff it seems like it’s inevitable that the Jets will bring in someone to compete with Geno Smith for the starting quarterback position.
Assuming that Mark Sanchez won’t reunite with the Jets, the most viable free agent options are as follows: Matt Moore, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Shaun Hill, Brian Hoyer, Colt McCoy, Matt Flynn, Jimmy Clausen, and Ryan Mallet.
If you find yourself looking at this list and thinking “none of these guys seem like an upgrade over Geno Smith,” you’re probably right. However, there are other options outside of free agency that the Jets can turn to if they want to upgrade at quarterback. If the Jets are going to bring in someone who will compete against Smith for the starting job their best bet might just be an off-season trade.
If they do decide to trade they could go in one of three different directions. The first option is to go after a low salary-low maintenance quarterback like Ryan Fitzpatrick. This NFL journeyman is currently under contract in Houston for one more season. If the Texans do bring Ryan Mallet back on board expect him (Mallet) to starter moving forward. With Texans depth at back up (Thad Lewis, Case Keenum, Tom Savage) a trade might just be in the cards that would send Fitzpatrick to the Jets. Since Fitzpatrick makes less than four million a year there’s little risk involved in taking a chance on him, he might just be the perfect guy to fill the void, even if it is for one season.
Another trade option for the Jets is to go after a younger quarterback with higher upside than Fitzpatrick. The two guys that fit that mold are Mike Glennon and Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have expressed interest in trading Cousins and it seems like Mike Glennon’s days in Tampa Bay are numbered, especially if the team drafts ether Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston in the first round.
With both of those guys projected as top five picks they’re most likely out of reach for the Jets barring a trade up. However, if they don’t get either Mariota or Winston hope isn’t lost. Bryce Petty from Baylor and Brett Hundley from UCLA both have potential and will both be available in the second or third round of the NFL draft.