- Signed a two-year, $5.5 million contract in 1998
- Pro Bowl w/Jets (1998)
- Led Jets to a 12-4 AFC East division title in 1998
- 57 career games started w/Jets
The Jets franchise doesn’t have the greatest history with quarterbacks. From the signal-callers of yesteryear in Richard Todd and Ken O’Brien, to the recent draft busts of Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, the Jets have been unable to secure a solid starting quarterback for much of their team’s history.
But the Jets did manage to get some surprisingly solid production out of journeyman quarterback Vinny Testaverde after they signed him prior to the 1998 season. Much like players such as Calvin Pace and James Carpenter already discussed on this list, Testaverde was hailed as a draft bust long before he joined the Jets, a title he never could quite shed.
After all, he was the first overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft, meaning he had high expectations to live up to. While he didn’t live up to his lofty draft projection, Testaverde played for two decades in the NFL, finding his best success arguably with the Jets.
Testaverde managed to lead the Jets to a 12-4 record in his first season with the team, securing their first AFC East title since the merger. For his efforts, Testaverde was selected to his second Pro Bowl, putting together the best season of his NFL career.
While an Achilles tear would keep him out of essentially the whole 1999 season and his play would trail off in the following years, Testaverde arguably put together the best season by any Jets quarterback not named Joe Namath.
Given that he was 35-years-old at the time of his signing and he had signed a dirt-cheap contract, that’s pretty significant value for a player hailed as a journeyman draft bust.
He could never recapture the magic of his 1998 season again, but Testaverde will forever be in Jets fans hearts for his unexpected success with the team.
Next: No. 4