It looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick will hit the open market and be able to shop his services elsewhere. The smart money is on Fitzpatrick returning to the Jets but just incase he doesn't we, like the Jets, must look at what other options are out there.
The short answer is, of course, not much.
The free agent market is never where you want to find your quarterback and the simple fact that Fitzpatrick is considered the best available quarterback tells you all you need to know about the other options. Kirk Cousins and Sam Bradford are no longer available and Brock Osweiler isn't a realistic possibility, and frankly the Jets are better off not paying any of those guys what they'll make elsewhere, which leaves the free agent cupboard rather bare.
Does Chase Daniel excite you? How about Matt Moore? Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Schaub, Brandon Weeden, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, Matt Hasselbeck, Drew Stanton or Dan Orlovsky aren't going to win you many games. Josh Freeman just became available? What about bringing Michael Vick back? Okay, I'll stop now that you get my point. If the Jets don't re-sign Fitzpatrick there's only one other quarterback in free agency that has the potential to maybe, possibly, be good enough to be a full time starter and he comes with some prima donna baggage and injury concerns, that's Robert Griffin III.
This isn't to say the Jets options are either Fitzpatrick, Griffin or a perennial backup from the list above but he is the only one even worth considering from the free agent market. Washington made it official earlier today and released Griffin so he is available but would the Jets think they can turn him back into the player he was in his rookie year? The potential is there with Griffin and he's certainly not going to be expensive but will the Jets even find him worthy of the time they'd need to invest in him? They wouldn't be signing him as their unquestioned starter, he would have to compete for the job and earn it on his own, but would the Jets really want to sign up for that? On the other hand, without Fitzpatrick they aren't exactly in a position to be turning away someone that talented even if that talent needs a lot of work and polish. Chan Gailey has coaxed solid years out of quarterbacks with far less talent than Griffin, how good could Griffin be with Gailey?
Another possible option for the Jets is that they could try to trade for Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers keep saying the don't intend to trade him but Kaepernick clearly wants out. Could the Jets attempt to give the 49ers an offer they couldn't refuse? But if you're going to take a quarterback who needs to be completely reworked wouldn't you rather have Griffin for cheap and give up no assets than Kaepernick for $11 million plus on top of whatever you'd have to trade to get him?
Of course the draft is always an option but for the Jets to get Carson Wentz, Jared Goff or even Paxton Lynch they'd have to trade up in the draft as they will all likely be gone by the 20th pick, so you're left with the likes of Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg and neither of those guys will be able to help this year, if ever.
Which leaves us with the final option of just rolling with what they have. Draft a quarterback in the middle rounds again and let Geno Smith and Bryce Petty compete for the starting job. After all Fitzpatrick only won the starting job because I.K. Enemkpali broke his jaw, maybe Gailey could do the same wonders he did for Fitzpatrick for Smith. Maybe Griffin sounds a bit more enticing than when this article first started. No one should feel comfortable assuming Griffin would regain his rookie year production and stay healthy but from these options, what does it hurt to bring Griffin in for cheap and see if he can beat out Smith and Petty?
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)