The New York Jets have a situation on their hands.
There’s a zero percent chance the Jets will carry four quarterbacks on their opening day roster, and right now they have four quarterbacks vying for three spots. In reality though, the situation is really two quarterback vying for one spot.
Barring anything out of the ordinary, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the opening day starter, something Todd Bowles mentioned Thursday. The Jets didn’t go back-and-forth for over four months with Fitzpatrick just to keep themselves entertained over the offseason. So there’s one spot gone.
The second quarterback who will be on the roster is rookie Christian Hackenberg, who the Jets took in the second round of the NFL draft out of Penn State. While it’s highly unlikely Hackenberg will see any game action in year one, Hackenberg is a lock to make the roster. You don’t invest a second round pick on a quarterback and then release him before you ever really see what he’s made out of.
So that leaves two quarterbacks for one spot: Bryce Petty and Geno Smith. To the surprise of no one, the least happy person to see the Jets come to terms with Ryan Fitzpatrick was Geno Smith, who made these comments Thursday:
“I’m not disappointed. I’m kinda pissed off,” Smith said. “It’s not a detrimental thing. It’s not something where I’m pissed off at anyone because we all wanna be out there. That just adds fuel to the fire, but not in a negative way. I don’t want that to become like a headline or something like that because that’s not what I’m trying to say. It’s more as a competitor.”
Translation: Geno is furious the Jets signed Fitzpatrick because the starting spot he could see within his reach has vanished. Overnight, Geno went from starting quarterback, to being in the fight of his life for a roster spot, and it’s no guarantee the Jets hold on to him.
For his career, Geno has completed 57.1 percent of his passes, and has a touchdown to interception ratio of 27 to 35. Not very impressive. Pathetic could be a better word to describe those numbers.
When it comes to pure talent, I think an argument can be made Petty is actually the second-most talented quarterback on the roster, behind you guessed it, Hackenberg.
Petty’s inexperience however could be the nail in his coffin because if anything happens to Fitzpatrick, there’s no way Todd Bowles would be comfortable handing the keys to Petty with Hackenberg already out of the equation. At least Geno has some sort of track record Bowles can go go off of, albeit one that is very underwhelming. In the end, I think the Jets will reluctantly keep Geno out of pure necessity.
Releasing Bryce Petty will be a bitter pill to swallow given his potential, but the Jets may have no other choice.