It's been a tumultuous season for the New York Jets. Filled with suspense, and controversy most evident at the quarterback position. In its BYE week, the Jets have plenty to think about with a (3-7) record. Who's playing quarterback is the hot topic at the moment, because there just isn't an obvious answer to that question.
Going back to training camp, Geno Smith looked to have the starting job in the bag. Then the bearded one Ryan Fitzpatrick showed up with a brand new contract and was given the start. Fitz and Smith played hot potato with the job, before a torn ACL ended Smith's year and likely his career with the team. Last Sunday, the Bryce Petty era began as he made his first career start against the Los Angeles Rams. However, the awfulness of that 9-6 loss has shoved the Fitz-Petty debate in our faces, while bringing rookie Christian Hackenberg's name abreast to the discussion.
Who should finish the season? Petty? Fitzpatrick? Hackenberg?
The Jets entered the regular season with four quarterbacks on the roster. Fitzpatrick's one-year 12 million dollar deal was made with the hopes that he could replicate a 10-6 season from last year. He hasn't lived up to playoff expectations the team had to start the year. Anything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Jets this season, whether it's injuries or mistakes on and off the field. Despite a difficult negotiation process with Fitzpatrick's camp, general manager Mike Mccagnan doesn't regret bringing him back.
"I’m sure there are aspects he [Fitz] would like to, I mean, we all would like to have better success on the field as a team," Mccagnan said. "From the standpoint of bringing Ryan back, no, I don’t have regrets on that."
If he finishes the season as the starter or not, the clock is ticking on Fitzpatrick's tenure with the Jets. This is a 'show me' league and what we've seen from Fitz has indicated that it's time to bring in a new face of the franchise. From the jump, Todd Bowles was reluctant to bench Fitzpatrick making it clear that the organization would stick with him until seasons end. With six games remaining, the Jets are effectively done but somehow signs still indicate that Fitz will start against the New England Patriots next Sunday. The Jets are still out to win games, and as Bowles would say Fitz gives them the best opportunity to win games. At the same token, it holds up the future of the team by not moving on. The Jets just can't get out of their own way. Bowles may decide to give Petty the nod next week. If he does it could spell the end for Fitzpatrick and his Jets career.
Does Mccagnan bring Fitz back? At how much? Should the team shop for another quarterback?
"(Those) are all questions we’ll deal with when the season ends," said Mccagnan. "We still have six games left to play, so you don’t know how things will unfold here going forward. But again, we’ll sit down at the end of the season, like I said before, and kind of analyze where we are internally, our own team. While we’re doing this, our pro scouting department is – we basically scout every player and every team in the league in preparation for not only pro free agency but to also try to compare where we’re at and then we pull in, obviously, Jackie (Davidson) and the salary cap and kind of sit there and look at everything and say, 'OK, going forward, what direction do we want to go in, what do we have as pieces to build on and where do we need to go to improve upon?’ But those are all questions for the end of the season. At this point, we still have a little over a third of the season left to play."
Close attention will be given to how the team finishes the year and if strides are made to build on the future.. If one thing's certain, we know Petty and Hackenberg will be the only two quarterbacks under contract for the team when the off season starts. But do the Jets trust them enough to avoid acquiring another one?
"We have the two young quarterbacks under contract so we’ll see how they grow and develop," Mccagnan said. "But I think those are more topics we talk about at the end of the season. Again, quarterbacks in this league, there is pro free agency, there is the college draft. They are the two young quarterbacks we have currently under contract. I would say, simply, our view is always sort of the bigger picture. It’s kind of a short-term, long-term view, but it’s not necessarily unnerving. It’s just we feel good, we have two young quarterbacks to kind of work with, grow and develop, and we’ll see how we address this issue going forward. But that’s more of an after-the-season question."
Marcus Reynolds is staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).