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Jets Starting Quarterback Options for 2017

After a promising 2015 season that saw the New York Jets go 10-6 overall and just the miss the playoffs with a week 17 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Jets brought back journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick on a one-year deal worth $12 million dollars after a stalemate that lasted much of the 2016 offseason. The 2016 season however, was a very different story. As the Jets finished 5-11, faced a tough schedule throughout the season, and still have the HUGE question mark as to who will be the starting quarterback for Gang Green in 2017.

With free agency in full steam, plus the NFL Draft only a month and a half away, the Jets have a bunch of realistic options of who will be the man under center for this upcoming season.

Geno Smith

GENO SMITH?! Yes that Geno Smith, and I know what you are thinking. Why on earth would the Jets bring back Geno? And to put it simple… he won’t cost much for a guy who will be competing for the starting quarterback job, and would be willing to take a one year deal. Geno Smith has had his share of problems since the Jets drafted him back in 2013 with the 39th overall pick; between being very turnover prone, being sucker-punched in the face by Ik Enemkpali and breaking his jaw, and oh by the way tearing his ACL in his first start for Ryan Fitzpatrick last season.

But I will cut Geno a little bit of slack because he has had his share of bad luck, and is still a second round pick of your franchise even though it was from a different regime. If Smith can show he is healthy enough to compete for the Jets starting quarterback job in 2017, will take a one year deal, and will only cost you a couple of millions dollars against the cap. Then I would have no problem with Mike Maccagnan bringing back #7 for another season. Trust me, weirder things have happened with this franchise.

Probability the Jets re-sign Geno Smith: 8

Mitch Trubisky/DeShone Kizer/Deshaun Watson

With New York having the sixth overall pick in the 2017 draft, the Jets will have to seriously think about taking one of these three young men in late April. I know it might not be the smartest move to make considering Gang Green has so many other needs to fill on their team, but if they can nail one of these quarterbacks in the draft, preferably Deshaun Watson, it could possibly be very beneficial to them.

With the sixth pick I don’t believe Trubisky will be there. Especially when teams like Cleveland, San Francisco, and Chicago are all drafting before you and are desperate for a quarterback. Cleveland just acquired Brock Osweiler, they can still simply release him. They are certain to draft Myles Garrett with the first pick, so one Trubisky won’t be a Brown, at least as the number one overall pick. Plus I’m not a huge believer in this kid Trubisky considering he only started one year for the University of North Carolina before declaring for the draft.

As far as DeShone Kizer goes, if the Jets were to trade back and get him later in the draft that would be one thing, but to reach and take him with the sixth pick I think would be very foolish for the Jets organization. Especially if guys like Malik Hooker from Ohio State or Jamal Adams from LSU are currently sitting on the board.

With Deshaun Watson, he is a completely different story than the other two quarterbacks mentioned. Simply put, if Watson is on the board at six, they should grab him and not hesitate. A lot of Jets fans would be furious about taking a quarterback in the first round, but with this kid he could be a franchise changer and someone to build around. He started for two years in the hardest conference in college football, was a Heisman Trophy finalist two years in a row, and not to mention won the National Championship by edging the University of Alabama in a last second comeback.

He’s got grit and a lot of heart, that’s something you want in your franchise quarterback. The Jets should draft any other position in the first round besides a quarterback, but if Watson is there at six, I think they should draft him.

Probability of Jets drafting Mitch Trubisky: 2

Probability of Jets drafting Deshaun Watson: 5

Probability of Jets drafting DeShone Kizer: 2

Jay Cutler

A first round pick back in the 2006 of the Denver Broncos, Jay Cutler has been a problem on the field and off the field for both the Broncos in his three seasons there, and for the Bears in his eight seasons in Chicago. Smokin’ Jay has always been a gun slinger and is very prone to turnovers, and also has been very injury prone over the years. It also doesn’t help that Cutler will be 34 by the time the 2017 season starts. Now that the Bears cut him there’s a better chance that he lands with the Jets than when Chicago was trying to trade him.

Yes, this would mark a reunion with the Jets new quarterback coach Jeremy Bates, but New York would be stupid to sign Cutler. They could do much better at the quarterback position than a 34 year old quarterback, who turns the ball over a lot, cannot stay on the field, and is a poor leader on the field. I honestly think Cutler would retire over playing for the Jets.

Probability the Jets sign Jay Cutler: 3

Colin Kaepernick

A former second round pick and the 36th overall of the San Francisco 49ers back in 2011, Colin Kaepernick has had his share ups and downs with the 49ers franchise. He led San Francisco to a 12-4 record in 2013, had 3,197 total yards of offense, and threw for 21 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. Meanwhile, you flash forward to 2015 and Kaepernick had his job taken away by Blaine Gabbert, who is an awful quarterback, and was out casted to bench duties.

Kaepernick has a record of 28-30 in his six seasons with San Fran, but was once regarded as one of the better young starting quarterbacks in the league. Kaepernick also has a history with the Jets new offensive coordinator John Morton from his days with the 9ers. Gang Green could do a lot worse at quarterback, but I can’t see Woody Johnson signing off on someone who is going to protest before every game. Kaepernick has some serious athletic ability and is a decent starting quarterback, but his protests could wind up costing him some serious money if he hits the free agent market.

Probability the Jets sign Colin Kaepernick: 5

Josh McCown

A 14 year veteran in the league and a former third round pick of the Arizona Cardinals way back in 2002, Josh McCown has been with seven different NFL teams during his career. Granted, McCown has been on some pretty bad teams throughout his career, but he has been a serviceable starter when called upon. And aside from his 2013 season in Chicago that saw him throw for 1829 yards, 13 touchdowns and 1 interception, McCown has been a very average quarterback. McCown is nothing more than a cheap “bridge” option now that the Browns have cut him. If the Jets believe Petty or Hackenberg are capable of winning the starting job, they could sign McCown as a potential veteran starter or backup. He turns 38 this summer and is clearly not a long-term solution for this franchise.

Probability the Jets sign Josh McCown: 6

Jimmy Garoppolo

A second round pick of the New England Patriots back in 2014, Jimmy G has only seen two games in his NFL career so far thanks to future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady, but in both of them he did look really good. Garoppolo started both games this season while Brady was suspended for the deflate gate, and in those games he threw for 502 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and completed 68% of his passes. Garoppolo is under the final year of his rookie contract with the Patriots and will most likely not be traded, especially to the Jets who are in the same division. But if New York can sweeten the deal just enough by offering the sixth overall pick in the draft and possibly other draft picks, New England might have to reconsider and send Garappolo to the Jets.

Probability the Jets trade for Jimmy Graoppolo: 1

Trevor Siemian

A seventh round pick of the Denver Broncos back in the 2015 draft, Trevor Siemian came out of no where to beat out Mark Sánchez for the starting job in Denver. Siemian started fourteen games for the Broncos last year and while going 8-6 with 3,401 yard, 18 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. He is still under contract with Denver until the 2018 season, but reports have been made that Gang Green is interested in trading for the signal caller.

Siemian is only making $615,000 in 2017, and $705,000 in 2018, making that a very reasonable contract if the Jets could make the move and trade for him. Plus it would probably only wind up costing New York a middle round pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Siemian is a guy who has shown he can be a decent starting quarterback, has a very cap friendly contract, and wouldn’t cost much to acquire. If the Jets could land Siemian that would be a big win for Mike Maccagnan and the rebuilding of the New York Jets. He can also compete with Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg for the starting job, if not win it outright and calls the plays for Gang Green in 2017.

Probability the Jets trade for Trevor Siemian: 7

Bryce Petty

A fourth round draft pick in 2015 out of Baylor University, and the first draft under Mike Maccagnan and the new regime, Bryce Petty sat out the entire first year of his pro football career and made his first four career starts for the Jets in 2016. Petty went 1-3 in those starts, threw for only 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and only completed 56% of his passes. Petty got a chance to prove himself at the end of last season, and he mostly struggled. The third year pro out of Baylor has plenty of room for improvement, should get a shot at the starting quarterback position for the 2017 season, but he clearly has a long way to go to achieve that. The Jets will most likely sign a guy like Josh McCown or Geno Smith to give Petty more time to develop, but Petty will get a very good shot to show what he can do this offseason, and possibly win the starting job outright.

Probability Bryce Petty wins the starting job in 2017: 6

Christian Hackenberg

A second round pick in last year’s draft out of Penn State, Hackenberg spent the entire season “redshirted”, and was shown in the depth chart behind not 1, not 2, but 3 different starting quarterbacks for the New York Jets in the 2016 season. To put it short and sweet, the Hack will probably not even sniff the field other than in preseason games. Hackenberg has looked very raw and is nowhere close to being ready to start in the NFL. Hopefully he can show some progress this upcoming season and possibly become the starter in 2018 after two full years of development.

Probability Christian Hackenberg wins the starting job in 2017: 2

With free agency here for the NFL and quarterbacks like Tyrod Taylor, Mike Glennon and Brian Hoyer already off the board for the Jets, it looks like New York will likely try and bring in a veteran, or someone like Geno Smith to give these young quarterbacks time to develop and also allow this team to rebuild. The Jets do have a bunch of cap money that they can spend, but I really can’t see them throwing ridiculous money at a quarterback when there are some many other needs on this football team, plus guys like Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg are already on the team.

This team is trying to rebuild through the draft, get younger, and fill many of the holes needed on this team. I also wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Jets also get another top pick in next year’s NFL Draft, seeing the way management is handling this team and cutting people left and right… CAN’T WAIT (Bart Scott Voice).

About Mike Caravella

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