Suck for Sam? Lose for Lamar?
These options for the New York Jets are still in play. After all, the NFL Draft is a crapshoot, especially when it comes to quarterbacks.
But with New York holding a surprising 4-6 record, a chance to take any quarterback of its choice is unlikely. Luckily, the Jets still have a chance to acquire their franchise quarterback this offseason, and it’s a chance they cannot pass up.
The Buffalo Bills — a team that prepared to lose, then won a bit, prepared to win even more, then lost a bit — seemed to have entered tank mode. They named rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman the starter over three-year starter Tyrod Taylor after losing two straight games to the Jets and Saints in embarrassing fashion.
The surprising, albeit not shocking, move essentially marks the end of Taylor’s tenure as Buffalo’s quarterback. A free agent-to-be after the 2017 season, Taylor’s next home could — and should — be Florham Park, New Jersey.
The Christian Hackenberg experiment is a failure, whether the Jets will admit it or not. The former second-round pick has been active for only two regular season games over the past year-and-a-half. He has never even seen the field, nor has he come close. Limited playing time for Bryce Petty, a former fourth-round pick, indicates he probably won’t be anything more than a decent backup.
So here we are: just past the midway point of the 2017 regular season and the New York Jets don’t have their quarterback of the future. Shocker.
Enter Taylor. At a pricey, though not overly expensive cost, Taylor provides New York with a legitimate dual-threat player under center.
More importantly than his ability to run (he has averaged over 36 rushing yards per game and has ran for 12 scores over the last three years) is Taylor’s knack for protecting the football.
During his 38 games as Buffalo’s starter, Taylor has thrown 15 interceptions, and no more than six in a single season. For context, the last time a Jets quarterback threw fewer than 10 interceptions while starting at least 10 games was Chad Pennington in 2004. And only once has a Jet starter thrown just six interceptions (Taylor’s career high) in a year.
Taylor may not be a franchise quarterback like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. What he does provide is a chance for the Jets to build a team of young talent around a quality quarterback — who will end any offseason quarterback competition drama.
Of course, Taylor does not come without weaknesses. He has been known to hold on to the ball too long and not take chances on deep passes down the field. But even still, he has been one of the more efficient quarterbacks in the league and would fit well with the Jets’ current personnel. The Jets have a shaky offensive line? Taylor’s mobility allows him to escape the pocket if needed. Taylor doesn’t throw the deep ball? Wide receiver Robby Anderson has morphed into one of the better receivers at catching long passes.
Sunday’s 15-10 loss to a Tampa Bay squad without Jameis Winston and Mike Evans was a harsh reality check for the Jets and an indication they are far from being a contender. But a surprisingly strong 3-2 start followed by near-victories over both Super Bowl teams from a year ago shows the team is on a path to success. Rookie safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye look to be budding stars, while other youngsters such as Anderson and Darron Lee have gotten better as the year has progressed.
An acquisition of Taylor will certainly not propel a borderline bottom 10 team into the Super Bowl. What it would do is give New York its first legitimate quarterback in over a decade and immediately give it a chance to sniff the playoffs for the first time since 2011.