Sometimes in life there are only bad options. Everyone always wants to make the best decisions but life doesn’t always cooperate and many times you are forced to choose the least bad option. This sentiment perfectly encapsulates the problem facing the Jets as they look to create a real quarterback competition in training camp. The Jets have options they just don’t have many, if any, good options.
Geno Smith will be back next year, he’s not getting cut barring some type of off the field trouble, but he can’t and won’t just be handed the starting job like he was last year. The Jets will have a real quarterback competition in training camp next season, likely between Smith, a veteran free agent signing or trade, and a rookie, but will any of the options be able to beat out Smith in training camp?
There’s only one quarterback available this offseason that I’m convinced would beat out Smith in camp and I’m even more convinced that quarterback, Jameis Winston, will be the number one overall pick in the draft. Marcus Mariota could certainly be a better quarterback than Smith one day but he is a project who still has to go through the same type of tough learning curve that Smith has been dealing with for the past two seasons. After the top two quarterbacks in the draft there are a small handful of quarterbacks that teams will talk themselves into but not with any expectations that they could start week one.
As for free agency it’s really easy to say sign a free agent quarterback but it’s much tougher to find one that’s any good. Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Matt Moore, Jake Locker and Mark Sanchez are the top five options for quarterback needy teams and I’m not saying some of these guys couldn’t beat out Smith, because it’s certainly possible, just that none of these options would definitely beat out Smith.
Sanchez isn’t coming back, nor should he. Locker would be my pick of this bunch if he could stay healthy, but he can’t, and what’s the point of having a real open quarterback competition if you can’t count on one of the competitors to stay healthy?
Hoyer would be an attractive option as a stop-gap but how much money is he going to get? Someone is going to offer him way more money than they should and the Jets should avoid being that team. If the money was all equal I’d choose Hoyer but the money most certainly won’t be equal.
Mallett is the most intriguing option in my opinion, but I admit that’s because I’ve seen enough of the rest to know exactly what they are at this point, and because Mallett is more of an unknown I’d probably roll the dice on him assuming the price was right. Mallett spent three years as Tom Brady’s backup in New England before finally getting to start for the Houston Texans this year but his season ended to injury after starting just two games. New general manager, Mike Maccagnan, was with Mallett in Houston. If Maccagnan liked what he saw from Mallett last year maybe he looks to bring him to the Jets.
It’s also possible the Jets could trade for a quarterback, Mike Glennon is reportedly available and Nick Foles may or may not be available. I’ve never been a fan of either, didn’t like them coming out of college and haven’t been impressed with them in the NFL. Yes, I know about Foles’ impressive stat sheet from the 2014 season but my eyes were never near as impressed when I was watching him play. If Foles was a free agent then I’d say sign him up but I wouldn’t trade a draft pick for him.
When there are no good options there will be a heavy split among people as to who the best option is and that’s fine as long as we can all agree to admit none of these options are very good. Unless the Jets were to somehow get Winston or Mariota fans should prepare themselves for Smith to be the Jets week one starter.