The New York Jets were relieved when they finally agreed to a contract with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at the end of July, reuniting with their starter last season and ending the Cold War of our times. Now, the team has to figure out what to do with the other three guys.
Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg are the quarterbacks who are too valuable to be obvious cuts but not valuable enough to challenge Ryan Fitzpatrick for a starting job. NFL teams usually have three quarterbacks on their regular-season roster, because there’s no point in having four. One of these men has to go, and there is no obvious odd man out.
Assume that Fitzpatrick goes down because of some injury that could only happen to a Jets player; he shreds his knee while playing video games with his kids. Who would be the next best option? Smith has the most experience with three pro seasons under his belt, even though he missed most of 2015 because his teammate broke his jaw. However, none of those games logged indicates that he’s good, or will be good in the future. In fact, he’s bad.
After Smith, there’s Petty, a fourth-round pick in 2015. He has not yet played in a regular-season NFL game, but he’s challenging Smith for the backup QB spot, because that’s how bad Smith is.
At the very bottom is Christian Hackenberg, a former Penn State QB who should be released but won’t be because the Jets inexplicably took him in the second round of this year’s draft. He hasn’t played at all in the preseason. He’s not doing much of anything, really.
The Jets could go with Smith’s track record over Petty’s lack of game time, even though Smith’s track record includes 35 interceptions in 31 games, or they could hope Petty has enough of the playbook down and take his smaller cap hit. Regardless of the team’s decision, one thing is clear: It’s August and the Olympics are over and everything’s so goddamn boring.