Going into the 2017 offseason, the Jets will likely be in search of a quarterback through either free agency, the trade market, or even the NFL draft. There are multiple options the Jets have to be their starting QB next season. One key factor that could effect who they go after on the trade and/or free agency market would be what the organization thinks of Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.
Petty was given the role of starting QB in the middle of last season due to the poor play of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Behind an offensive line mainly composed of backups, Petty struggled and was constantly under pressure from opposing teams. He ended up throwing for 809 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions before his season was cut short due to a chest injury suffered in a loss against the Dolphins. While there were a few times in which Petty seemed to show some potential in games, he doesn’t seem like he is ready to be the Jets starting QB next season. He has trouble reading the defense, doesn’t seem to scramble enough to allow time for his receivers to get open, and has a lot of trouble when under pressure.
We never got a chance to see Christian Hackenberg play in the 2016-17 season. Reports from the Jets coaching staff said that while he has potential to be a very good QB, he isn’t ready to take snaps in an NFL game yet. Like Petty, the Jets must soon decide whether or not Hackenberg will be the QB for the franchise in the near future. One worrying sign is a recent report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter saying that he was told by an anonymous coach for the Jets that Hackenberg had regressed during the season. Other sources have said that Hackenberg had been struggling during practice when taking his reps. Regardless of what kind of player he turns out to be, it doesn’t seem as though Hackenberg will be ready to be the Jets starting QB next season.
There are a couple players that may be on the trade market that I feel the Jets should pursue. The first player is Tony Romo. He is likely to be moved this offseason, considering the strong performance by his replacement, Dak Prescott. There have been rumors of the Jets willing to offer Sheldon Richardson for Romo. Romo will be 37 years old in April, is prone to injury, and is making around $18 million annually through 2019. However, he has still shown that when he’s healthy, he is still a very talented and intelligent QB. The Jets need to ask themselves whether or not he is worth the money and risks. They could also hope for the Cowboys to release him if they can’t find any trade to their liking. This would allow for the Jets to get him at a much cheaper price. The other QB I feel the Jets should consider trading for is Philip Rivers. Rivers is still putting together strong numbers for a San Diego team that has been so bad that they lost to the Cleveland Browns. At this point, San Diego is in a state of rebuilding. The Jets could offer some draft picks for Rivers. Like Romo, Rivers is owed a lot of money over the next few years. His average salary is $20,812,500 through 2019. Rivers will be 36 years old in December. However, unlike Romo, Rivers isn’t as prone to injury, making him a little more appealing.
On the free agent market, the one name that sticks out to me is Kirk Cousins. He is coming off of a strong season with the Redskins, in which he threw for 4,917 yards, with 25 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 67%. He is much younger than Romo and Rivers, turning 29 in August. The problem the Jets face with Cousins is that he will be a hot commodity, allowing for his price to rise. The Jets would have to be committed to having Cousins as their starting QB for the long term. This would basically mean giving up on Petty and Hackenberg.
Since the 2013 draft, the Jets have drafted 3 quarterbacks in the early rounds. These players are Geno Smith, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg. If the Jets use their 6th overall pick on a QB in the 2017 draft, it may be on one of three QBs. In the unlikely event that they haven’t been drafted yet, the Jets may choose either Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina or DeShone Kizer of Notre Dame in the first round. So far this season, Trubisky has thrown for 3748 yards, with 30 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions. Kizer has thrown for 2925 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. If these players are already off the table, the Jets may want to consider Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Watson has thrown for 4173 yards, with 38 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
Just by seeing how many quarterbacks the Jets have drafted in the early rounds in recent years, one can see how much of a gamble it is for an organization like the Jets to put the faith of the franchise in the hands of a young quarterback straight out of college. Many talented college quarterbacks have failed in the NFL. In their desperation for a sustainable QB, the Jets could very well use their first round pick to draft their 4th quarterback in the last 5 years. If it comes to this, both the fans and the organization will hope that the 4th time is the charm.