In the first quarter of the Jets‘ final preseason game, quarterback Bryce Petty lofted a perfect touchdown pass to receiver Robby Anderson down the right sideline. For Petty, battling for a spot on a Jets roster that features four quarterbacks, it was the kind of throw that demonstrates his development since getting drafted in the fourth round a year ago.
Unfortunately for Petty, he also suffered a shoulder injury during the play and headed to the locker room with the training staff.
That might not be the worst news for the Jets and Petty. It might be the solution to their roster problem.
As it stands, Ryan Fitzpatrick is safe as the starter. Rookie Christian Hackenberg, a developmental prospect, is a roster lock, too. And that means the Jets might be forced to decide between Geno Smith and the Petty as the team’s backup to Fitzpatrick.
Carrying four quarterbacks is rare, but the Jets might do exactly that because they likely don’t see Petty as a reliable backup. Smith, on the other hand, has extensive experience as a starter (two seasons). They probably don’t, however, want to give up on Petty because he has a higher ceiling than Smith.
That’s the problem. Keep all four quarterbacks, or cut ties with either Smith (the better short-term quarterback) or Petty (the better long-term prospect)?
“All four are good football players,” coach Todd Bowles said this week, 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.”
If Petty is injured, it won’t be difficult to keep all four, because he could be stashed on injured reserve. If that happened, he wouldn’t occupy a roster spot. The Jets likely didn’t want Petty playing this season anyway, so keeping him on IR would presumably not be an issue.
The extent of Petty’s injury isn’t known at this point. He is, however, probable to return to the game.
Source: CBS Sports / WATCH: Bryce Petty gets hurt while throwing a perfect TD pass for the Jets