Geno Smith won’t have to worry about carrying the New York Jets into the playoffs anymore. Instead, he will only have to worry about carrying a clipboard, as a source told Metro New York that recently acquired quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is viewed by the team as a starting quarterback.
The Jets obtained Fitzpatrick on Wednesday morning in a trade with the Houston Texans, shipping a late round draft pick for a quarterback who has played in 96 NFL games since being drafted in 2005. While Fitzpatrick is far from a top-tier quarterback, he should be good enough to beat out Smith, who has struggled in his two seasons since being a second round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Fitzpatrick won’t be promised the starting job by Jets management, as one league source tells Metro that “the move was done with the idea that Ryan is the starter come Week 1.”
“He’s much more a sure thing,” the source said. “He limits mistakes, he makes smart throws. Will he have to win the job? Yes. It isn’t his de facto. Do the Jets expect him to? Yes. This isn’t a situation like last year.”
That situation, of course, was the Jets signing veteran quarterback Michael Vick and ignoring his obvious talents through training camp, gifting Smith the undeserved role as starter. It was a trump quarterback competition last year but this year will be far more open, the source said.
But make no mistakes about it: Fitzpatrick is the favorite to win.
“He’s head and shoulders the best quarterback on this roster and he wasn’t brought in to be the backup or be a mentor,” the source said. “He was brought in to compete and earn that starting job and he’s expected to do that.”
In each of the last three seasons, Fitzpatrick’s completion percentage has climbed. His QBR of 95.3 in 2014 was the highest of his NFL career.