Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) passes during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets clearly are behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starter heading into the upcoming season. Quarterback Geno Smith on the other hand, might be better off elsewhere.
If quarterback Geno Smith is writing the story on his career, he will be taking the starting quarterback job from the recently re-signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. If anyone else is writing the story, Smith will be a good soldier this year looking for a fresh start in 2017, which will be the fifth year of his relatively uneventful NFL tenure.
If second-year gunslinger Bryce Petty has anything to say, he will be one Fitzpatrick injury away from seeing live NFL action this year. Petty is confident in his abilities and his growth, which has led him to declare himself fit for the No. 2 quarterback spot on the Jets’ depth chart. The Jets may be stuck between a rock and a hard place, with a guy ready to take the next step, and another guy who will likely be frustrated if his name isn’t called in the starting lineups against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.
This all but guarantees that someone on the quarterback depth chart will not be happy with their spot. Since the Jets brought another young quarterback into the fold by drafting Christian Hackenberg in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft, they have four guys who all have eyes on the No. 1 job in 2017. Carrying four quarterbacks into the regular season will be tough, which makes a trade seem likely.
The most likely quarterback to be traded is Smith. The Jets sent a clear message by re-signing Fitzpatrick and immediately declaring him their number one option: Smith will not be a starter for the Jets anytime soon. That being said, he still has some value in this league, and could even compete for the starting job in a different spot. At the very least, he would be a quality No. 2 option.
Ultimately, Smith’s best destination for 2016 is probably right where he is. If Smith or the Jets were looking for a different move, here are the top five destinations which would suit the fourth year quarterback well.
Next: 5. Smith goes West
Jun 8, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly smiles during minicamp at the San Francisco 49ers Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
5. San Francisco 49ers
The quarterback situation in San Francisco is actually quite fluid. Smith would be the third horse in a race to see who is the best option to run Chip Kelly’s high-octane offense. With Colin Kaepernick falling out of favor, as well as Blaine Gabbert not sealing his fate, this could give Smith an option to be a fresh face in a place with a fresh coach.
Kelly has been known to do some quirky things with respect to his personnel. He traded quarterback Nick Foles, who found some success in Philadelphia, for Sam Bradford, who represented a safer, but less talented, option for the team.
With Smith, the 49ers would be getting a guy with significant NFL experience and something to prove. He would represent a mix of both guys currently competing for the job: above-average arm strength, scrambling ability and physicality.
Of course, Smith’s decision-making ability has been his downfall, and would bring him back down to earth in this competition. He would still have a chance.
Next: 4. Going to quarterback school
Jun 7, 2016; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson yells to the team during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
4. Cleveland Browns
New head coach Hue Jackson of the Cleveland Browns is well-known for reinvigorating the careers of quarterbacks. He did wonders for Andy Dalton in Cincinnati as the offensive coordinator, and working under his tutelage would give Smith a chance to save a career teetering on the edge of failure.
The Browns are well-known for their quarterback troubles. This year’s crop of talent doesn’t represent a change from status quo. They have a journeyman in Josh McCown, a future journeyman in Robert Griffin III, and a hit-or-miss rookie in Cody Kessler.
At this point in their careers, it’s not crazy to say that Smith and RG3 are in about the same spots. While Smith went from so-so to out-of-favor, RG3 went from future-Pro-FootballHall-of-Famer to potential top-10 all-time bust. The only thing Smith has over RG3 right now is durability.
RG3’s ceiling is much higher than Smith’s, but it remains to be seen if RG3 can complete a full season after his knee troubles. Smith has a higher ceiling than McCown at this point, so he could potentially be a top option in an extremely shaky quarterback situation.
Next: 3. How bout them Cowboys?
Jun 14, 2016; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) runs a drill with Kellen Moore (17) during minicamp at Dallas Cowboys Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
3. Dallas Cowboys
Jets fans got the opportunity to watch current Cowboys’ No. 2 quarterback Kellen Moore in action last season during Gang Green’s match-up against the Boys in Texas. It’s safe to say that the quarterback situation behind Tony Romo is shaky.
Romo has become injury-prone at this point in his career, and betting on him starting all 16 games in an NFL season is a bet most would not be willing to take. This makes the need for a quality backup very high.
With Moore out for months due to injury, second year quarterback Jameill Showers, and rookie fourth round pick Dak Prescott on the roster, the Cowboys may be willing to sacrifice one of those players for the chance at Smith. A guy who can take lumps, and has the upside that gives teams a chance to win when he is on the field is what they need, and that doesn’t exist yet with the current group behind Romo.
Prescott is realistically a year away from even being a No. 2 quarterback, and Moore is not better than Smith, even if healthy. This leaves Smith as a solid No. 2 option behind Romo, and gives him a realistic chance to see the field in 2016.
Next: 2. The Windy City
Jul 28, 2016; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) during training camp at Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
2. Chicago Bears
The worst place to be a starting quarterback in the NFL is probably Chicago. If you don’t perform to the absolute best of your ability, you will be chewed up and spit out. This makes the backup quarterback position the most desirable of any in the league.
With quarterback Jay Cutler known to take knocks throughout the season, he is unlikely to play all 16 games. In fact, the last time he played in all 16 games was in 2008. This means the backup quarterback position is incredibly important.
The current No. 2 quarterback in Chicago is Brian Hoyer, also known as the guy who had arguably the worst performance by a quarterback in a playoff game ever last season. It would be risky to have Hoyer in an important game. While it would also be risky at this point to have Smith in an important game, the risk is much less.
A backup in Chicago gives someone a chance at a one game audition to show their skills to others in the league. This could represent a valuable opportunity for Smith.
Next: 1. Geno's Homecoming
1. Miami Dolphins
Smith is from Miami. His best performance as a pro came against the Dolphins – in Miami. Smith has worked out in the offseason in Miami. It’s clear that Smith is comfortable at home, and he would welcome the opportunity to ball out in front of his hometown crowd.
In Week 17 of the 2014 season, Geno had a perfect game. Literally. His quarterback rating was 158.3, the highest rating possible. He threw for over 350 yards, tossed 3 touchdowns, completed 80% of his passes, and got the win for the Jets.
It’s clear Smith feels at home where he grew up. He played his high school ball at Miramar High, was born in Miami and trains there in the offseason. We haven’t even gotten to the quarterback situation in Miami.
The Dolphins are a team with a lot of needs. The quarterback position could very well be one of them in the not-so-distant future. If quarterback Ryan Tannehill does not show signs of growth going into his fifth year at age 28, Miami will be back to square one with their quarterback situation. Bringing Smith in this year and then drafting a young quarterback next year could puts the team in a much better direction.