The Jets face an issue of overpopulation, with four different signal callers occupying spots in the quarterback room. With the deadline to trim their roster nearing (the 53-player limit is Saturday), the Jets have to decide between Geno Smith and Bryce Petty as the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick while rookie Christian Hackenberg slowly develops for (hopefully) next season.
But a third option officially emerged on Tuesday: Keep all four quarterbacks.
“All four are good football players,” said coach Todd Bowles, per the Jets’ website. “We can keep all four. It’s just a matter of battling with the other positions, so that’s still up for grabs and we’ll have to wait until after this game to see how that plays out.”
The decision to keep all four actually sort of makes sense.
The Jets already know what they have in Smith — an experienced yet unreliable quarterback who’s thrown eight more picks than touchdowns in two seasons as a starter and another as a backup. Yet, even though Smith’s struggled in his career, he represents a better immediate option than Petty, who’s viewed as a developmental prospect. Petty, however, is under contract through the 2018 season, while Smith will become a free agent after this season.
That’s the dilemma for the Jets: Go with the more reliable short-term option who’s worse in the long term, (Smith) or the unreliable short-term option who’s more promising in the long term (Petty)?
When the question is phrased like that, it’s Petty who comes out as the more attractive option … if the Jets weren’t in win-now mode. But the Jets are coming off a 10-win 2015 season. And if Fitzpatrick were to miss any games this season, the Jets would most likely want Smith to be the guy first off the bench, even if that means using up four roster spots for a position group for which some teams only designate two spots.
So in that way, the decision makes sense. The Jets don’t want to give either away because they believe both can play a role in the future, with Smith serving as the backup quarterback this year and Petty giving the team another young option at quarterback, in case Hackenberg doesn’t work out.
Before the Jets do make a decision, they’ll give Petty another shot to prove that he’s ready to serve as the backup. In the team’s final preseason game Thursday, it’ll trot out Hackenberg and Petty as its quarterbacks.
“I’ll try to even it out,” Bowles said. “I want to see depending on who’s running the ball more, I’d like to get them a couple of passes in. But I’ll try to even it out the best I can.”
Source: CBS Sports / Good news, Geno Smith and Bryce Petty: The Jets might keep four quarterbacks