Jets 2018 Quarterback Candiadates


By Jack Woodard, Staff Writer

“The Jets are going to go 0-16.”   “This could be one of the worst teams of all time.”   “The first overall draft pick is guaranteed to go to the Jets.”   These are some of the many taunts Jets fans had to suffer through all offseason heading into the 2017 season.  Todd Bowles may have been a dead man walking heading into the season, but then the unexpected happened.  The Jets were actually mediocre.  The team started its season 3-2 including a win over Jacksonville and a tight loss to the Patriots (another game where fans left convinced the refs were on Robert Kraft’s payroll) and was very competitive.  The defense did not look anywhere near as bad as it was supposed to and the energy the players had on the field was clear with all the dancing in between plays.  What may have been the biggest surprise of the year was the stellar play of the 38-year-old quarterback Josh McCown.  McCown finished the year with 2,926 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and a 67.3% completion rate, and this was all without the number 1 receiver Quincy Enunwa.  The team eventually was knocked out of playoff contention in Week 15 after McCown’s season-ending injury.  Fans are excited for next year and this team is young with a lot of potential but still needs to complete the final step, getting a quarterback.

   There are many names being thrown around as to who the quarterback will be next year and there are many options to go with, such as Kirk Cousins.  Cousins will be a free-agent going into the offseason and will not be a cheap sign by any means of the imagination, but the Jets have the money to do it.  With the cuts and cheap signings made last year, the Jets have a ton of cap space to use.  Cousins would bring less stress and expectations than a draft pick because the 29-year-old has had experience in the league.  Cousins did not put up the best numbers this year, but he will be able to pick up blitzes and be more fit to the game than a rookie would be.  Cousins, of course, is not the perfect quarterback but is definitely good enough to run an offense and lead a playoff contender.  Kirk Cousins could bring the energy back to New York, but the Jets need to pounce before the Redskins do.  

   Another option the Jets could go with, and probably the easiest one to pull off, would be to re-sign Josh McCown.  Obviously, McCown is not the future of the franchise as he nears 40 but he brought enthusiasm to the team last year and loved New York.  He loved his teammates and coaches and it was evident on the field.  At one point McCown had the 3rd highest QBR in the league.  He also had multiple games throwing over 300 yards.  The problem with the Jets, however, was that they could not win on the road.  The Jets did not seem to have any energy on the road and lost all but one away game this season.  The team brought it at home and could have beaten anyone, however.  If the Jets want to stack up on position players they could keep McCown for one more year and see where it goes.  The way he played this year, with more players on the roster and more chemistry with the team, he could definitely make a playoff push.  If the Jets decide to draft a quarterback, keeping McCown may also be necessary because he would be a leader to the rookie, if he’s on the bench or on the field.

   Drafting a quarterback is a possibility for the Jets and there are two guys who seem to keep coming up in the discussion.  They are complete opposites of each other and those guys are Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. Both of them have their ups and down. Josh Allen has the height of an NFL quarterback standing at 6’5 and weighing in at a solid 234 pounds.  Mayfield, on the other hand, comes in at 6’1 and 209 pounds, and some scouts say he may be even smaller than that.  Josh Allen clearly has raw potential and Mayfield seems to be weighed down by nature but has a cannon arm.  Mayfield is elusive and can run the ball if asked but Allen is not so quick on his feet.  Mayfield also operated one of the best offenses in college football and beat elite contenders week in and week out while Allen played against below mediocre teams at Wyoming and ran a very mediocre offense.  Baker Mayfield also led his team to the College Football Playoff where he did just about all he could do get a win.  Mayfield had a QBR of 92.6, 1st in the FBS, and Allen’s was 52.6, 75th in the FBS.  Allen struggled with accuracy all year but Mayfield was able to drop dimes into the hands of his receivers.  Scouts love Allen’s size and many think Mayfield is too risky with his.  Both these guys could be good at the pro level but it definitely will be a risk and only time will tell if the Jets gamble on it.

   Alex Smith is also getting mentioned and he certainly has experience in the league, but can he deliver when it matters?  Smith is a 3-time Pro-Bowler and has led his team to the playoffs multiple times.  Smith has struggled in the playoffs and down the stretch.  After an 11 game win streak in 2015, his team lost in the Divisional Round.  This past year he got the Chiefs out to a 5-0 start but they finished 10-6 and blew a 21-3 lead in the Wildcard game they ended up losing.  At 33, Smith still has some years left in him but he may not lead the Jets to the promised land.

   Other names have been brought up in the discussion but they seem to be more of shots in the dark than anything.  Tyrod Taylor, Case Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater are all free agents this offseason.  Jimmy Garappolo and Drew Brees are as well, but they are almost sure locks to be re-signed.  The Jets could trade for A.J. McCarron or trade up to get Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen, but once again these options are much less popular than the others.

   “Personally I hope we get Baker Mayfield or Kirk Cousins.  Obviously, Drew Brees would be awesome but that won’t happen.  I really don’t want Josh Allen, I feel like he has bust potential written all over him,” said sophomore Jets fan Mike Joyce.

   The Jets are a young team and a franchise quarterback could make this team a contender for many years to come.  We will see at the end of next season whether they made the right move or not.