Earlier this week, the New York Jets addressed a glaring hole at the quarterback position by signing two free agents, but the job is far from completed and the team should look towards the 2018 NFL Draft in order to add the final piece.
General manager Mike Maccagnan made the right decision by bringing in both McCown and Bridgewater, but it’s important to realize that the Jets still must draft a quarterback and here’s why.
For years, the Jets have been in search of a franchise quarterback and while McCown and Bridgewater both provide Gang Green with intriguing options, neither represent the sure-fire long-term answer that the team is looking for.
Let’s start with McCown, who agreed to a one-year $10 million contract with the Jets.
The veteran signal caller signed with the Jets prior to the 2017 season and up until the point where he suffered a broken left hand late in the season, performed better than most had expected him to. In addition to completing 67.3 percent of his passes, McCown threw for 2,926 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for five more, all of which were career highs.
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McCown also established himself as a team leader and a pivotal locker room presence, making it a no-brainer for the Jets to bring him back. The only problem, however, is that McCown will be 39-years-old by the time preseason football rolls around. His best days are likely behind him and his career is winding down.
Now, let’s move on to Bridgewater, who at just 25-years-old, signed what has been reported to be a one-year $5 million deal with the Jets that could earn him up to $15 million based on incentives.
What makes the decision to bring in Bridgewater a smart one is his age first and foremost. He’s young, has a ton of potential upside, and has already shown he can be successful in the NFL. In fact, he was a Pro Bowler in 2015 after leading the Minnesota Vikings to the NFL Playoffs.
The problem with Bridgewater, however, is that he’s spent the majority of the last two seasons recovering from a gruesome knee injury he suffered prior to the 2016 season. There’s no certainty that he’ll remain healthy and if he does, there’s also no guarantee that he’ll return to form.
Because of that, the Jets must look to add another young quarterback in this year’s draft. With the No. 6 pick, the Jets could hope to land UCLA’s Josh Rosen, Wyoming’s Josh Allen or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, but it’s also entirely possible that the team will need to trade up in order to secure one of the draft’s top signal callers.
Either way, it’s something that needs to be done.
With McCown suited for more of a mentor role and Bridgewater surrounded by question marks, the Jets need to bring in a third quarterback that could potentially be the franchise piece that the team has been so desperately in need of.