The New York Jets have seen their quarterback options fade away by the hour as the new league year approaches.
Tyrod Taylor, perhaps their top option, is sticking with the Buffalo Bills on a restructured contract. Journeyman bridge option Brian Hoyer is joining the San Francisco 49ers. Mike Glennon, another bridge option with a bit more upside than Hoyer, is poised to join the Chicago Bears and might be overpriced even if he doesn’t.
Sure, Tony Romo will become available on Thursday. But he’s got no interest in the rebuilding Jets and will probably wind up in Denver or Houston. Jay Cutler will most likely be let go by the Bears, but he might come at a high price and isn’t exactly what the Jets are looking for. Colin Kaepernick has potential, but he brings similar uncertainty as Cutler with some off-field baggage and could be costly.
Trading for someone like Cincinnati’s A.J. McCarron or Denver’s Trevor Siemian (if Romo goes to Denver) isn’t the worst option. But the Jets also aren’t in a position to be using draft capital to bet on quarterbacks.
Quite frankly, there isn’t that much else out there on the open market, unless Case Keenum or Josh McCown sound appealing. Oh, Ryan Fitzpatrick is available. No, thank you.
This all could lead the Jets down a familiar road. Perhaps New York’s most sensible option is reuniting with embattled quarterback Geno Smith.
Yes, Smith has had plenty of struggles since being drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The IK Enemkpali fiasco defined his four seasons in New York more than anything he did on the field.
He’s never really learned how to read defenses, has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and is coming off a torn ACL. Smith probably isn’t anything close to a franchise quarterback.
But at the same time, Smith kind of fits what the Jets are looking for. New York is blowing up the roster and filling it with youthful talent at a cheap price tag. They’d be silly to shell out big bucks for a big-name quarterback and then set him up to fail. Smith even told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport he hasn’t ruled out returning.
Smith can serve as a placeholder at a much more affordable price than Hoyer or Glennon. The Jets know what they’d be getting and Smith would get a starting opportunity he most likely won’t get anywhere else. It’s an opportunity for Smith to revive his downtrodden career while the Jets get a quarterback they’re familiar with who can hold the fort for a year or two while they figure out what to do next.
Let’s be clear: Aside from maybe Taylor, none of these quarterbacks would’ve been brought in to be the franchise quarterback three years from now. Neither would Smith. Whether the Jets actually find the savior at quarterback is another question for another day. Smith wouldn’t be brought back to fulfill that job description. He’d just hold the fort for the next guy.