Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
John Idzik and company were taken by surprise this week, when David Garrard pulled out of the Jets’ quarterback competition and retired from the NFL. The biggest concern about Garrard competing for the job was his injured knee, and if it is already not holding up, it’s probably for the best that he retires. It sounds a bit selfish when he says that his decision might have been different if he had been guaranteed a roster spot, but that is for another discussion.
So, where do the Jets go from here? There are four guys left in the competition as we know, but one really isn’t a part of it. Right now, it seems a forgone conclusion that the three QBs to make the team will be Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, and Greg McElroy, in an order of the depth chart to be pre-determined. Matt Simms is considered nothing more than a camp arm.
How do the Jets stir the competition up a bit, if they choose to? They might very well be happy with going into camp with four quarterbacks. But what if they aren’t? What if they want to bring in one more quarterback to fill out the competition? Can they do it? I believe they can, and with a name that will likely come as a surprise. Who is it?
Tyler Thigpen, that’s who.
Before you comment that I am nuts, here me out. Then, tell me I’m nuts, but only after you read first.
First of all, Tyler is still young, at only 29 years old. Whether you like David Garrard or not, and I did very much, he is 35 years old. It’s tough to feel threatened by a quarterback that is in his mid-thirties, especially when the team is overall trying to get younger. I have heard the suggestion of Charlie Batch. He is 38 years old, and feels like when they added Mark Brunell. Could Batch teach and be a sounding board? Sure. But they need a guy that they could feel comfortable with using if needed.
At 29, Thigpen is more than young enough to take over the team if needed.
Join that with the fact that when he had his chance to start, Tyler Thigpen tasted some success. Take it back to 2008, when Thigpen started 11 games for the Kansas City Chiefs. That year, he completed 230 out of 420 passes for 2,608 yards, for 18 TDs vs only 12 INTs. He added 6.2 yards per carry on 62 scrambles as well.
Is that success modest? Sure, I am not saying he had a Peyton Manning-esque season here. But, keep in mind that his team went 2-14, and that success all of a sudden looks quite a bit better.
After all of this time spent as a backup, I am sure it will not cost a ton of money. He only made $1.5 million in 2012, he won’t command much, if any more than that.
With all of that said, this is a guy that could add a lot to the competition at quarterback. He at least would force the others to play hard. I don’t see a down side to giving this guy a chance.