NY Jets should still sign a veteran backup quarterback
By Justin Fried
The NY Jets may have added a rookie quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft, but they should still explore signing a veteran backup to solidify the position.
The NY Jets had a number of pressing needs to address in the 2020 NFL Draft, but many were surprised when the team elected to select a quarterback with one of their fourth-round picks.
This isn’t to say that the Jets weren’t in need of a backup quarterback. Quite the contrary in fact.
The Jets entered the draft with the likes of David Fales and Mike White as the only two quarterbacks on the roster behind the incumbent Sam Darnold. Not exactly an inspiring choice of backups.
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However, most expected that the team would draft a developmental quarterback in the later rounds while still exploring the free-agent market after the draft.
That’s why the selection of FIU signal-caller James Morgan in the middle of the fourth round left many scratching their heads.
Morgan is, by all measures, still a developmental quarterback prospect. The former FIU standout is a smart, intelligent passer with a big arm, but his ball placement remains erratic and his decision-making is a major concern.
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He’s not ready to see NFL reps just yet. And as a result, there’s no guarantee that he’s ready to be the Jets’ primary backup.
Yet, despite this, the fourth-round label on him suggests that not only were the Jets extremely high on him as a developmental project, but that they think he might be ready to assume the backup role in his rookie season.
But counting on that would be a mistake, just as counting on Fales would be.
Morgan is a first-year player with significant flaws that would be accentuated if he were to be forced into NFL action. And despite turning 30-years-old in October, Fales has played in just five career games and never made an official start.
The Jets can’t go into next season with those two as their only backups. Last season, the team’s backup quarterback position woes were a bit overblown as they did have a capable backup in the form of Trevor Siemian.
I won’t pass judgment on the team for having an inexperienced third-string — no one should. The issues they ran into at the quarterback position in 2019 were largely out of their control.
But going into 2020 with Morgan and Fales as the only backups would be asking for trouble. And if anything were to happen with Darnold, the losing streak that would likely ensue would be entirely their fault.
Veterans like Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, and Cam Newton are still searching for jobs as we speak. Even a player like Matt Moore, who has experience in Adam Gase’s system, would be a massive upgrade over what the Jets currently have.
For fans excited about Morgan’s future, that’s fine. But just know that there’s absolutely no guarantee that he’ll even win the backup role over Fales in preseason.
And if you were to bet on it, Fales might just be the safer pick.
This scenario cannot unfold. The Jets must add an experienced, veteran backup to their quarterback room, or else they’ll risk running into the same issues as they did last year.
Only this time, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.