As the New York Jets prepare for free agency and the NFL draft one of the most intriguing positions to watch will be the quarterback position. At this point it is safe to assume that Mark Sanchez will be released (saving $8.3 million in cap space) leaving Gang Green with Geno Smith and Matt Simms to run the Jets offense.
Smith will enter the offseason as New York's starter, but after a rocky rookie campaign there remains some questions about his ability to become the team's franchise quarterback. Simms has become a fan favorite, but he is a relative unknown in terms of his ability as he has yet to start an NFL game. This uncertainty at the quarterback spot has many wondering if the New York Jets should bring in a veteran signal caller to add legitimate competition and depth to the position .
My initial instinct is that the Jets have to bring in a veteran to compete with Geno Smith. The reasoning is two-fold: 1) Intense competition throughout the offseason and training camp will only make the quarterback group better. 2) If Smith struggles, the Jets will have a proven guy that can lead the team. Gang Green should be very competitive in 2014 and you would hate to see a season lost while the team endures the learning curve of another young quarterback (Simms).
Lets take a look at some of the veteran free agent options that will be available to general manager John Idzik and his team. Remember we are not looking for guys that are going to put up fantasy football numbers, but a quarterback that can compete and help the team win.
1) Mike Vick- Familiar with Mornhinweg's offense and could be an excellent mentor for Geno. Would have a very good chance of beating out Smith if (and that is a HUGE if) he could stay healthy.
2) Josh McCown- Many expect Josh to re-sign with the Bears after flourishing under head coach Marc Trestman.
3) Chad Henne- A serviceable veteran that has been working with limited resources down in Jacksonville.
4) Josh Freeman- A young player with ability, but seems to lack the leadership, maturity, and motivation required to be a successful quarterback. Was the 2013 season a wake up call for Josh?
Other potential free agent candidates: Shaun Hill, Tarvaris Jackson, Colt McCoy, David Garrard
Quarterbacks that could be released due to salary cap number: Matt Cassell, Matt Schaub, Matt Moore, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton
As you can see there are definitely some options available to the New York Jets. Now it is just a matter of finding a signal caller that fits Marty's system and who will come at the right price.
For those that would like to see Gang Green draft a quarterback, I think that has to be considered as well. The selection does not have to be a first round pick, but another value selection like Geno Smith was in 2013.