The New York Jets currently have about ten quarterback options for this upcoming season, and that doesn’t include any rookie quarterbacks.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler has had quite a calendar year, as he started the first day of free agency in 2016, signing a four-year $72M contract with $37M guaranteed, with the Houston Texans. The New York Jets, on the other hand, didn’t expect to have such an offseason battle with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick about re-signing with the team after his stellar 2015 season.
After a below-average season behind center, Osweiler was traded from the Texans to the Cleveland Browns on the first day of free agency this year. The Browns received a 2018 second and a 2017 sixth round pick for taking on Osweiler’s contract.
The Browns most likely will cut Osweiler as no other team will be willing to take on his contract. The Jets should try to give Osweiler a “prove it” year contract, something along the lines of a two-year $20M deal with a team opt-out clause after the first season. The Jets have nothing to lose, and Osweiler’s potential to turn into a starting quarterback for the Jets is better than that of fellow quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Geno Smith, Chase Daniel, Josh McCown, Trevor Siemian, A.J. McCarron, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Mark Sanchez.
Osweiler doesn’t turn 27 until right before Week 13 off the 2017-2018 NFL season. If any NFL team gave Osweiler two or three years to see if he can turn it around, there’s definitely proof that he can perform, and the Jets should be the team that gambles on him.
Why add a veteran like Cutler for one season, when Osweiler could perform really well and could end up being the starting quarterback moving forward? This is the main question the Jets must ask themselves, do they try to develop someone or wait and try to draft a young quarterback in the 2017 or 2018 NFL Draft?
When Osweiler was given three seasons to mold under Peyton Manning and then start eight games in the 2015 Super Bowl winning season, he performed much better than anyone expected. In his eight games played, Osweiler had a 61.8% completion percentage. Osweiler threw for 1,967 yards and had 10 touchdowns, six interceptions, and two fumbles. He also ran for a touchdown.
His QBR was ugly, to say the least, 58.3, which was the 14th worst for 33 qualified quarterbacks. The bad news gets worse, in Osweiler’s 15 games played for the Texans this past season, his completion percentage dropped to 59.0%. He threw for 2,957 yards, 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. One thing that worries many teams was his inability to throw downfield with the Texans.
In 2015, Osweiler’s average pass was 7.15 yards, but in 2016 for the Texans, his average pass only went 5.80 yards. That was easily the worst in the NFL last season, the second worst was quarterback Carson Wentz who threw for an average of 6.23 yards a pass.
The Jets Need a Quarterback with Potential
The Jets should want Osweiler because he’s the best option. Ask yourself Jet fans, would you rather watch Cutler, Kaepernick, RG3, or Osweiler? The Jets seem poised to bring in someone else to join Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg in the quarterback battle, and Osweiler is the best choice.
Osweiler had a better completion percentage and fewer interceptions thrown than Ryan Fitzpatrick did in the 2015 season, and he would’ve easily been the best quarterback the Jets had under center if he had been a Jet last year.
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Let’s be real here, the marriage between Osweiler and head coach Bill O’Brien didn’t work. They were never really on the same page from the beginning, as the Texans signed Osweiler without physically meeting him in person. Osweiler wanted to pass more in the offense but O’Briend disagreed. It’s almost impossible to master a playbook for a new team in one season, nevertheless before that one season.
Osweiler needs a team who will embrace him, but more importantly, the Jets need a quarterback who wants to develop, win, and make the guys around him better. Will Cutler or McCown really want to develop and make Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson better? Highly doubtful.
I don’t think the Jets should draft a quarterback as there isn’t one that would already be better than Petty or Hackenberg as a rookie. If the Jets want to compete, which is a huge question mark right now, Osweiler will give the Jets the most hope moving forward and he could easily become the quarterback of the future.
The Jets must resist from giving Osweiler a huge contract with more than two-years on the deal, and if Osweiler wants to prove he can be a quarterback in this league, the Jets may be the best option for him. It’ll be a dilemma for Jet fans until they actually make a move, but if I’m sitting down on Sundays next season, I want to watch a quarterback with hope, not just a placeholder for the next season. Osweiler is that guy.