The New York Jets’ quarterbacking situation got even more interesting when GM Mike Maccagnan opted to select Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg in the second round of last night’s NFL Draft, but coach Todd Bowles has stated that Geno Smith will still be the team’s starter headed into OTAs.
“Without Fitz being on the team right now, Geno’s first-team and then we’ll go from there,” Bowles said. “Obviously we’re still working on a deal if we can get Fitzpatrick back. So until that’s addressed and we take care of that situation right now, Geno will go into OTAs as a starter.”
The Jets have been working hard for most of the offseason to bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick, who excelled in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s spread offense last year, but no new contract has been agreed upon yet. Now that Hackenberg has joined a quarterback picture that also includes Smith and 2015 fourth-round pick Bryce Petty, odds are greater than none that Fitzpatrick will not be a Jet in 2016.
The question is, however, can the Jets afford to lose him? Though Fitzpatrick did not lead the Jets to the playoffs last year, the team still finished a respectable 10-6.
Throw in that Smith has never been consistent, completing nearly 58 percent of his passes for 5,836 yards, 27 touchdowns and 35 interceptions since being drafted out of West Virginia in 2013, and the Jets would probably be smart to try and come to terms with Fitzpatrick on at least a one-year deal, especially since the plan is to sit Hackenberg for a year.
Unfortunately, with expensive defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson still on the roster as opposed to being dealt, the cap space just doesn’t appear to be there for the Jets to keep Fitzpatrick. Hopefully, Geno Smith has learned enough from sitting out most of last year that he can be more consistent in 2016.
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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports