The New York Jets will be in search of a reliable quarterback to backup hopeful franchise signal-caller Sam Darnold in 2019. What exactly should do they at the position?
The New York Jets have seemingly found their answer at the quarterback position. After years of searching for the true franchise savior complete with failed project after failed project, the Jets stumbled upon USC quarterback Sam Darnold in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Finally, it appears the Jets have their starter for the near and distant future.
But every good starter needs a quality backup.
The Jets saw this firsthand last season when Darnold went down with a foot injury and was forced to miss three weeks of action. This forced veteran backup Josh McCown into a starting role, a role he had filled admirably during his first year with the team in 2017.
This year, however, McCown didn’t fare quite as well.
The 39-year-old completed just 54.5% of his passes and threw one touchdown as compared to four interceptions. McCown led an offensive unit that looked completely lost with him under center as the team lost all three games he started averaging just 15 points during the losing streak.
Now to be fair, McCown didn’t receive much help playing with a depleted supporting cast and a subpar play caller in Jeremy Bates. Still, it was clear that McCown just didn’t have it.
While his on-field leadership and off-field mentorship of Darnold have proved invaluable, it may be time to move on from the longtime NFL veteran. But if not McCown, what direction do the Jets go in?
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Davis Webb is the only other quarterback currently on the roster and while it would be nice to see him develop into the long-term answer at the position, the Jets haven’t seen anything that should result in a bode of confidence. The former third-round pick showed promise while with the New York Giants but never was able to get on the field to see actual in-game action.
Webb will likely return to the team in 2019 but he should by no means be guaranteed the backup job. It would be wise for the team to bring in a capable, veteran backup in free agency to challenge Webb for the position.
Players such as Trevor Siemian, Tyrod Taylor, or Brett Hundley would make intriguing backup options and likely wouldn’t come with a significant price tag. Siemian might be the most preferable option as the former seventh-round pick has proven his capabilities as a backup before and could easily start in a pinch.
Other less likely approaches the Jets could take to fill the position would be to take a late-round flier on a rookie quarterback in the draft or even to go out and sign a current AAF standout. Players such as Garrett Gilbert and Luis Perez could make interesting options if the Jets were to go that route.
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As long as they stay away from Christian Hackenberg.
Either way, it’s clear that the team must do what they can to improve at the backup quarterback spot.
If Darnold is forced to miss any significant time, the Jets would likely be out of luck regardless. But if the former USC standout is only knocked out for a couple of contests, the team would be best served to have a reliable backup to step in and maybe win a game or two.
The man for the job may just be awaiting the Jets in free agency.