The New York Jets have struggled to find an elite quarterback since Joe Namath’s storied career four decades ago. There are now indications that Geno Smith, the latest from the hype machine, isn’t being viewed as the team’s long-term solution under center.
A league source tells Metro that the Jets were heavily engaged at the Senior Bowl with several quarterbacks and though they are “unlikely to use a high pick on a quarterback” they could be looking to select Smith’s replacement somewhere in this upcoming draft. The source, who is familiar with the Jets’ thinking, said that the team likely “will be looking in free agency for some real competition for Smith.”
That could mean the Jets making a move for a veteran such as Jake Locker or Brian Hoyer. In addition, the source said that he believes that general manager Mike Maccagnan, formerly of the Houston Texans, is “intrigued in the idea of Ryan Mallett” being part of the quarterback competition.
“Mallett and the Jets are a natural fit,” the source said. “He’d be interesting in a quarterback competition to say the least.”
Besides Smith, the Jets have veteran quarterback Mike Vick and young understudy Matt Simms currently on the roster. The source said that the expectation is that the Jets “will move on from Vick” at some point this offseason but could well retain Simms to continue his development.
Mallett is intriguing to Maccagnan and the Jets because of his prototypical size but he comes with some risk. He’s far from established as a quarterback as he has a very brief resume in the NFL and is coming off a season-ending pectoral injury.
He has played in just seven games over three seasons and has attempted just 75 passes in the league.
As for Smith, the source said that “he doesn’t appear to be trade bait. He’s still young and cheap and there is a willingness to develop him. There are no indications at this point that he will be cut or dealt to another team but the Jets openly want to bring in someone to challenge him to start.
“But the organization now questions if he can be a starter,” the source said. “If he can be that ‘guy’ to lead them. They thought he was last year but now they aren’t so sure.”
That would be a change for the Jets to say the least.
Last year, they brought in Vick before the NFL Draft to be part of a quarterback competition with Smith, but it was a sham show. Smith was always anointed as the starter and Vick was always to be the backup, even after Smith failed to show well in training camp.
“The Jets are either going to draft or sign someone who could potentially be a starter,” the source said. “Geno doesn’t go into this year as the go-to, anointed one if they can help it. They will upgrade at quarterback for sure.”