NY Jets: Top 5 free agent quarterbacks to target

Sep 3, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) throws a pass during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) throws a pass during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Sep 3, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) throws a pass during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets might have a serious problem on their hands if they’re unable to bring back quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason.

At this point in time, the Jets still haven’t been able to re-sign Fitzpatrick to a new deal in order to keep him as their starting quarterback for 2016. While there is still time to get a new deal done, time is ticking and the Jets might have to consider other options under center if he hits free agency.

Reports have already surfaced that both sides are far apart when it comes to contract negotiations as Fitzpatrick is at this very moment, expected to hit free agency. The Jets might have to consider adding another free agent as an option to compete in training camp/preseason football with Geno Smith and Bryce Petty.

It would be an unfortunate situation for the Jets considering how great of a season Fitzpatrick had last year. In 2015, Fitzpatrick totaled 3,905 passing yards on 335 completions for 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He gives the Jets the best option to continue their momentum on offense heading into next season.

Here are the top five free agent quarterbacks the Jets should target if they have to add another option should Fitzpatrick bolt via free agency.

Next: 5. A Cardinal that fits the offense

Aug 22, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (5) throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Chargers won 22-19. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

5. Drew Stanton

Stanton is set to be an unrestricted free agent and could be a viable option for the Jets to consider. He’s 31-years-old and has seven years experience in the NFL with lots of time spent with great veteran quarterbacks honing his craft.

For the past three seasons, he’s been under Carson Palmer and when he needed to step in to take care of business when others were injured, Stanton delivered. Back in 2014 when he was officially named the Cardinals’ starting quarterback due to Palmer’s season-ending injury, he totaled 1,711 passing yards on 132 completions for 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

The Jets need to add another option to have a true open competition this summer for their starting quarterback position. If Fitzpatrick is no longer around, it’s important that they have this open competition and name the best possible option to start for the team in 2016.

Stanton should be able to step up yet again and deliver if he heads to the Jets and earns a starting spot.

Next: 4. A Packer ready to shine

Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien (16) throws a pass against New England Patriots during the first half in a preseason NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

4. Scott Tolzien

For the past three years, Tolzien has been able to shadow quarterback Aaron Rodgers to continue his path to hopefully one day being a quality starter. This year’s free agency class and even the draft class at quarterback for this year isn’t as good as years past.

Tolzien is no doubt looking for a new team that will either name him a starter or put him in a good position to compete and earn one. Coming to the Jets would be appealing since they have the right talent on offense to really give him the supporting cast he needs to be successful.

In his career, Tolzien has totaled 721 passing yards on 56 completions for one touchdown and five interceptions. He’s never had a real shot at seeing what he could do as a starting quarterback and could possible be a hidden gem thanks to how hard he worked and prepared for the Green Bay Packers these past few years.

Should he come to the Jets, he could possibly be everything they need and more. At just 28-years-old, perhaps Tolzien can finally get his big shot in the city that never sleeps and thrive.

Next: 3. Another Texan to consider

Dec 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (6) throws during the second half against the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

3. T.J. Yates

Last offseason when the Jets traded for Fitzpatrick with the Houston Texans, some fans didn’t like the move. They felt he was past his prime and that he was just brought in as a veteran insurance policy for Smith. Long and behold, he put up the best season a quarterback of the Jets ever posted with breaking the single-season record of touchdowns in a year with 31.

Yates is another interesting and inexpensive options for the Jets should Fitzpatrick leave via free agency. He’s 28-years-old and is very coachable to take his career to the next level should he earn a starting quarterback spot.

Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey knows how to utilize the strengths of his players to achieve results. He did it last season with Fitzpatrick and he will undoubtedly do it again no matter who is under center for the Jets next season. It’s all about execution and Yates knows how to get it done with the right coaching around him.

Yates has a lot of upside and would be a nice addition to have with Smith and Petty. He could possibly surprise many if given a shot to prove his skill-set in an open competition.

Next: 2. A Ram looking for a new opportunity

January 3, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) passes the football against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

2. Case Keenum

Keenum is another quarterback set to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. Considering that he’s only been in the NFL for four years now, he could very well be another surprise quarterback for the Jets in 2016.

With some respectable stats in his career, Keenum could be another good option for the Jets that could use his decent skill-set of good arm strength, patience in the pocket and always wanting to improve his game for the benefit of the team.

In his career, Keenum totaled 3,023 passing yards on 258 completions for 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. With a lot of upside and the fact that he probably won’t cost as much as other free agents at his position, Keenum would be a smart acquisition for the Jets.

Whether he is the Jets’ starter or even used as quality depth next season, Keenum is a good pickup to have as one knows, anything can happen faster than a New York minute when it comes to the quarterback situation of the Jets.

Next: 1. A Colt ready to breakout

Jan 3, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Ryan Lindley (3) drops back to pass against the Tennessee Titans in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans, 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

1. Ryan Lindley

It’s always a great thing when your mentors just so happen to be a mix of some of the best to ever play the position and those that you know are destined for greatness. In his four years in the NFL, Lindley got to work with Palmer, Tom Brady (training camps/preseason football), Philip Rivers and most recently, Andrew Luck.

Needless to say, there is no doubt he’s picked up a thing or two from the aforementioned players. He’s never found a steady home outside of the Cardinals but he’s also set to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.

More jets: Coffee with the Jets: Dee Milliner's final chance

He’s just 26-years-old and would be the best option the Jets could go with if they need to add another decent quarterback into the mix. In his career, Lindley totaled 1,372 passing yards on 140 completions for three touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Sure, his stats aren’t that great but if he would be given a fair shot in an open competition for the Jets’ starting spot at quarterback, he could be a pleasant surprise and deliver. With the right offensive system and talented cast around him, Lindley would execute and play well under Gailey.