Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comFor the last twenty years, the NFL’s conventional wisdom has said that to be a perennial contender a team needs to find a franchise quarterback to run the ever-increasing pass happy NFL. This season, while quarterbacks are still the apex predators of the NFL, watching teams like the Redskins, Packers, Bears, Rams, Texans and Eagles all wrestle with either performance or injury problems when it came to their franchise quarterbacks, there’s something to be learned.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly is smart as a whip and is nothing if not unconventional. Nick Foles sure seems like a long-term option for the Eagles, but here is what Kelly said two days ago, to the Eagles official website (via SportsMole), about the quarterback position and his team.
It’s a very, very difficult position to play. Everybody is hitting you, and they’re protected by rules but they also still take some unbelievable shots.
I think, if you’re going to last as a team, you’d better have two.
Kelly makes a valid point especially in an era where the NFL is using more option plays from the quarterback spot. Geno Smith has shown that while he wants to make the play work from the pocket, picking up yards on the ground can be crucial to keeping the offense going. And if Geno is doing that, there’s a risk involved.
With a very low cap number assigned to the starting quarterback and plenty of cap room in 2014, will the Jets consider using some space to help fortify their quarterback play regardless of whether the QB1 or QB2 is in the game?
As we look ahead to 2014, who should that second quarterback option be for the Jets? Dom Cosentino at the Star-Ledger came up with his list of potential competitors to Smith and here’s ours.
Already with the team:
Matt Simms — Along with the news that the Jets are planning on re-signing Matt Simms, Simms demonstrated some big improvements during the 2013 training camp. The team obviously felt confident in naming him as the team’s two for much of the season. Simms has a live arm that can get the ball downfield and that coupled with his mechanical improvements to help him be more accurate. Simms saw time during the season and looked decent at times but would get bogged down after a few series in replacement of Smith.
David Garrard — Garrard is a free agent but he admitted in December that the team asked him back for 2014 already. He seemed standoffish about the matter so we will see how things play out. Garrard might be a fine mentor/coach, but his gameday inactivity speaks volumes about his ability to actually contribute at this point of his career on the field come Sundays.
Projected free agency / cuts:
Sam Bradford (cut) — Bradford has demonstrated he is injury prone, and with the second overall pick (via the Redskins), the the Rams will have the opportunity to take one of the draft’s top quarterbacks if they choose. Bradford has a large cap number this season and if he is unwilling to take a paycut he might likely be cut himself. At times, Bradford has demonstrated himself to be a talented player and could offer a legitimate competition to Smith.
Josh McCown (free agency) — McCown might be 35 but played pretty well for the Bears in replacement of Jay Cutler. McCown completed an impressive 66.5 percent of his throws, had 13 TDs to just one INT. McCown flourished in Trestman’s spread ’em out offense and some of those principles could be applied to what Mornhinweg does in New York.
Matt Moore (cut) — Moore is under contract for 2014, but with a new GM coming into Miami the high paid backup could be expendable as Tannehill has demonstrated competence. Moore can be a spot starter when required but would not be a challenger to Smith as the team’s 16 game starter.
Mike Vick (free agency) — Having run it for a few years in Philly, Vick would be very familiar with Mornhinweg’s system and could be a plug and play addition. Vick would like to keep playing as long as possible but must know that it will be increasingly hard for him to be a full-time starter going forward. Still, Vick and Smith’s athleticism and arm strength would allow for some continuity in the scheme and play of the offense should one need to sit for the other.
2014 NFL Draft:
There’s so many variables that would play into this, but many projections show that there could be three to five quarterbacks taken in the first round alone and eight total quarterbacks might be gone by the end of the third round — there’s some talent in this class.
Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel will be the names that everyone talks about, but Bridgewater could go first overall to Houston while Manziel’s stock is all over the place. Even so, but I would expect Manziel will be long gone by the time the Jets pick.
The Jets have some severe needs at the wide receiver and tight end spots that could be filled well in the first round or two. As it looks right now wnless a dream situation plays out for the Jets, drafting a first round QB could be a long shot. Though the Jets could very well add a quarterback on day two or early day three … as a number of potential fits for the Jets might be available later.