Jets eyeing backup QB candidate

The Jets will have a backup quarterback candidate visiting Hempstead on Thursday or Friday.<p>

He's a player Jets fans know very well. It's former Miami Dolphin quarterback Jay Fiedler.

He has a visit planned with the Chicago Bears early in the week, and then will head to New York.

If Fiedler doesn't like what he hears from the Bears or Jets, then he will visit New England. But if either the Bears or Jets blow him away, he will he will sign with one of those teams, and not visit the Patriots.

Fiedler would make a terrific insurance policy if Chad Pennington's surgical shoulder has any set-backs this season. While some people don't like Fiedler as a starter, nobody can argue with the fact that he is a heck of a backup candidate with all his starting experience in Miami.

If Fiedler had his drothers, he would probably want to sign with the Jets. He grew up 15 minutes from Jets camp in Oceanside, and still has family there.

Another potential backup quarterback candidate for the Jets, former Patriot Jim Miller, signed with the New York Giants on Monday . . .

Late last week, the Jets signed restricted free agent tight end Jeb Putzier to an offer sheet worth $12.5 million. The Denver Broncos have until Friday to decide whether to match the offer, or let him go to the Jets for a sixth round pick.

The deal the Jets are offering Putzier is cap friendly, so there is a chance the Broncos will match. But considering they have brought in free agent tight ends Itula Mili (Seattle Seahawks) and Stephen Alexander (Detroit Lions), there is a good chance they will let him walk.

One reason the Broncos might let Putzier go is that he's not a good blocker. He played mostly wide receiver at Idaho, so he's still a work in progress as a blocker.

But according to a Broncos source, he's worked hard at getting better.

"He's improved every year as a blocker," said the source.

Putzier was one of the better receiving tight ends in football last year, with 34 catches. He has very good hands and has the speed to get down field.

Putzier is a good fit for the Jets new offense because he played in a similar system in Denver. Remember, the Jets new offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, was an assistant under Broncos coach Mike Shanahan for five years, before leaving for Tennessee in 2000. So Heimerdinger's system is very similar to the Broncos.

Since Putzier isn't a great blocker, he can play the role tight end Frank Wycheck played in the offense in Tennessee which was more of an H-Back position.

If the Jets sign Putzier, there is a good chance tight end Chris Baker will leave the team as a free agent after the 2005 season. Baker would like to be a #1 tight end, and if Putzier joins the Jets, he clearly will be the main tight end target.

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