Jun 14, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) during OTA at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
As the New York Jets continue their training camp, it’s important they realize their quarterback situation isn’t exactly set in stone heading into the regular season.
At this point in time, the New York Jets have four quarterbacks on the roster. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. The Jets have already deemed Fitzpatrick their starting quarterback for 2016 as the rest are battling it out for their position on the depth chart behind him.
While the Jets might consider heading into the upcoming season with four quarterbacks on the final roster, considering they want to have an aggressive and fast defense, it means sacrificing a spot somewhere else to keep them all.
The Jets have never truly developed a franchise quarterback as they have hope that either Petty or Hackenberg can be next in line to eventually be exactly what they need under center. Truth of the matter is, Smith gives the Jets a solid backup to step in just in case things don’t exactly go as planned with Fitzpatrick.
Without further ado, here are the top five reasons the Jets should keep Smith and not entertain the thought of trading him anytime soon.
Next: 5. Fitzmagic doesn't return in 2016
5. Fitzmagic doesn’t return in 2016
We all know the impact that Fitzpatrick had last season with the Jets. He was sensational in every aspect of the game from his performance on the field to his leadership in the trenches.
What happens however, if this time around, he returns to what he’s always been in a journeyman quarterback that has never in his entire career posted two consecutive winning seasons? There is a very strong possibility that Fitzpatrick doesn’t resemble anything close to last season.
Considering the Jets have a brutal schedule, lost a few key impact players via free agency and have some question marks across their roster due to previous injuries to most of their stars, things might not be as great as they were in 2015.
Should “Fitzmagic” not return in 2016, the Jets might have to consider throwing Smith into the mix to see if he could provide better results should Fitzpatrick start the season 1-5 or even 2-4 during their first six weeks of the regular season.
Next: 4. Seeing what Smith could possibly do
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) takes a snap during drills at training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
4. Seeing what Smith could possibly do
Throughout his tenure with the Jets, Smith hasn’t been surrounded by the kind of weapons Fitzpatrick had last season. It’s a huge question mark but it remains to be seen if Smith could thrive under such a powerful offense with the best supporting cast he’s ever had in his career.
If Fitzpatrick has a decline in play, it would be interesting to see if Smith could deliver results with a much-improved offensive line, top notch receivers and a solid running back corps. It’s a possibility that he could even be better than Fitzpatrick due to his unique skill-set.
There is no questioning Smith’s work ethic, arm strength or ability to be a dual-threat quarterback. His decision-making and lack of development as a leader in the locker room seemed to be the two big reasons for his setback thus far with the Jets.
Before Fitzpatrick re-signed with the Jets, Smith was getting rave reviews by his teammates and many were vocal in that his leadership also dramatically improved. Either way, it wouldn’t make sense to trade him now since he gives the Jets an experienced backup ready to step in just in case his number is called.
Next: 3. Petty and Hackenberg aren't ready yet
Aug 4, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14), quarterback Bryce Petty (9) and quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) stretching during practice at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
3. Petty and Hackenberg aren’t ready yet
General manager Mike Maccagnan is going by the old-school mentality of until the Jets finally land a franchise quarterback, it’s best to keep drafting them until one is ready to take this franchise straight to a championship.
It’s not easy but Maccagnan is wise in following this principle but the only problem is, it takes a lot of time and patience to develop young quarterbacks the right way towards greatness. At this point in time, Petty isn’t ready to be a starter and neither is Hackenberg.
Both quarterbacks are still in their developmental phases and still learning the ins and outs of executing a pro-style offense. Both have potential down the road but if the Jets decide to trade Smith, neither will be ready to take over this team and expect winning results should injury/decline in play happen to Fitzpatrick.
Smith has starting experience and has been working hard every offseason since he’s been drafted in honing his craft as an efficient quarterback. Trading him now would leave a massive void at backup since Petty and Hackenberg are nowhere ready to start this year.
Next: 2. An injury away from disaster
Jul 28, 2016; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) passes in front of quarterback Geno Smith (7) during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
2. An injury away from disaster
In the grand scheme of things in a backup role, one is really an injury or decline in play away from starting. Smith enters 2016 as a backup ready to step in if need be which is a great role to be in considering last year, he was able to sit back and learn from the sideline.
Considering Fitzpatrick suffered a thumb injury last season, should he miss a lot more playing time this year due to injury, the Jets might be in a disastrous situation. The Jets invested $12M in a one-year deal to bring Fitzpatrick in with hopes for him to continue the momentum from last year but if he’s severely injured, Smith at least gives them a shot to salvage everything.
Looking across the NFL, it’s imperative to have a solid starting and backup quarterback for success. One never knows what can happen as the most successful teams always have their “Plan B” just in case injury happens to their main option.
It’s best for the Jets to keep things as they are since they have nothing to lose in keeping Smith for at least another season. All throughout the offseason, not a single team inquired about Smith due to his past as there is likely not many teams willing to shell out players and/or draft picks to acquire his services this year.
Next: 1. Everything to prove
Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) warms up prior to a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Houston won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
1. Everything to prove
From being thrown to the wolves too soon to the media being absolutely brutal with his quarterback play over the years, 2016 is the year that Smith has everything to prove. Whether he plays at all remains to be seen but if he gets an opportunity to do so, the football world might see a completely different player.
Sometimes all a quarterback needs is an opportunity to prove their worth with a supporting cast around him. If Smith has to step in and take care of business, he’s got the right players around him and above all else, quality coaching to have him deliver results we’ve never seen from him before.
If this does end up being his last year with the Jets and he doesn’t play a single snap, he would have two years away from the spotlight while learning a whole lot ready to prove his worth somewhere else. If he does get to play this season and silences his critics, he could be the franchise quarterback the Jets have been seeking for all these years.
Either way, Smith has everything to prove one way or the other, whether with the Jets this year or on another team next year if they decide to part ways. However, looking at this upcoming season, it’s best to keep Smith and not trade him since he’s hungry, anxious and eager to prove that he can be an efficient quarterback once given another opportunity to start again, no matter how it happens.