NY Jets: 5 veteran backup quarterbacks still on the market

NY Jets (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
NY Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets could still be in the market for a veteran backup quarterback. We take a look at five of the top options still available in free agency.

The NY Jets may have drafted a quarterback in this year’s 2020 NFL Draft, but that hasn’t stopped them from sniffing around the free-agent market post-draft.

Before former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was scooped up by the Dallas Cowboys, the Jets reportedly had interest in signing him. And as per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the Jets are “showing interest in acquiring an experienced backup.”

That makes sense too given the current depth chart.

Behind Sam Darnold, the likes of David Fales, fourth-round rookie James Morgan, and Mike White will all be vying for the backup job. That’s not exactly an inspiring group.

Fales and White are preseason arms at best and Morgan still has some major flaws in his game that will likely prevent him from being a viable backup option in his rookie season. So unless the Jets want a Fales/Morgan duo backing up Darnold, they’ll need to make a move before the season starts.

While many of the top names are off the market at this point, there are still a few solid options available in free agency. And any of the players on this list will be better than any of the team’s current backups by a wide margin.

Simply put, the Jets need experience — and they don’t have that at the moment.

With that, let’s take a look at five veteran backup quarterback options still available in free agency.

Next: 5. Cody Kessler

NY Jets (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

5. Cody Kessler

One of the more overlooked names still on the market, the Jets could look to sign another former USC quarterback to backup Darnold in the form of Cody Kessler.

Kessler has bounced around the league over the past few years, but the 2016 third-round pick has proven to be a capable backup when given the chance. He started eight games in his rookie season finishing the year with six touchdowns and just two interceptions.

He was safe and careful to a fault which ultimately forced the Cleveland Browns to move on in favor of the reckless DeShone Kizer by Kessler’s sophomore NFL season. But those same qualities that made him a poor starter could make him an ideal backup candidate.

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Kessler would later start four games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 winning two of them. The 27-year-old would toss just two touchdowns in those four starts but once again limit his interception total to two.

In 12 career starts, Kessler has thrown only four interceptions. It’s hard to ask for anything more from a backup quarterback.

Now, Kessler is far from the most excited player still left on the market. But you’re not always looking for excitement from your backup quarterback, you’re looking for safe and capable play.

And Kessler would bring just that.

Next: 4. Drew Stanton

NY Jets (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

4. Drew Stanton

After spending the previous two seasons backing up the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, could Drew Stanton be on his way to New York to serve the same role for the No. 3 pick in that draft?

Stanton has served as Baker Mayfield‘s backup in Cleveland over the past two years, although he never saw actual in-game action. Nonetheless, his veteran presence was valuable in Mayfield’s development.

The 36-year-old spent all of last season on the injured reserve with a knee injury and last played in 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals. However, the last time we saw him step on to a football field he looked pretty good.

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Stanton helped lead the Cardinals to a 3-1 record over their final four seasons that year including a victory over the 11-5 Seattle Seahawks while throwing six touchdowns and five interceptions.

The veteran signal-caller was a very capable quarterback in his four seasons with Arizona and there’s reason to believe that he’s still got something left in the tank.

At the very least, the Jets need experience and the 12-year NFL veteran could certainly provide that.

Stanton isn’t the best option remaining on the market, but he should receive a look with a team in training camp this season. And it wouldn’t be the worst idea if that team was the Jets.

Next: 3. Joe Flacco

NY Jets (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

3. Joe Flacco

Joe Flacco would likely be higher on this list if not for the fact that offseason neck surgery that will likely keep him out until late August at the earliest. Nonetheless, he remains the most experienced and accomplished quarterback on the market.

And there’s an obvious connection between him and the Jets.

General manager Joe Douglas was an area scout with the Baltimore Ravens when the team selected the unheralded Flacco out of the University of Delaware way back in 2008. And the Jets executive has even been credited with discovering the little-known FCS QB.

The history is as evident as the talent and potential fit.

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After 11 seasons as the starting quarterback of the Ravens, Flacco was traded to the Denver Broncos where he would start eight games before suffering a neck injury that would end his season.

In those eight games, Flacco was underwhelming throwing just six touchdown passes and five interceptions. It’s clear that he’s no longer a viable starting option.

But a backup? He’d probably be one of the best in the NFL.

Flacco is understandably remaining patient with his approach and teams are doing the same given his health status. But if Flacco is healthy and ready to play by Week 1, there’s no reason that he shouldn’t be on a roster serving as a backup.

The prior connection with Douglas could help the Jets case if they’re interested in signing him. But given his sketchy medicals, who know when or if that will be.

Next: 2. Trevor Siemian

NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images).
NY Jets (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images). /

2. Trevor Siemian

Real talk for a second, Trevor Siemian was royally screwed over last year.

After Darnold went down with a case of mononucleosis following the team’s Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Siemian was called on to be the team’s starter for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, he suffered a broken ankle in the middle of his first game and was declared out for the rest of the season. His golden opportunity stripped away from him just like that.

The Jets actually went into last season with a comfortable backup plan. Siemian had starting experience and had proven to be a capable backup in the past. But once he went down, chaos ensued.

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But now that he’s fully healthy, the Jets would be wise to look to re-sign him.

Before coming to the Jets, Siemian had spent two seasons starting with the Denver Broncos putting up better numbers than anyone expected out of the former seventh-round pick.

The Northwestern product led the Broncos to a 9-7 record in 2016 and was even named a Pro Bowl alternate following an 18-touchdown, 10-interception season that was a significant upgrade from the Peyton Manning/Brock Osweiler combination from the year prior.

Siemian is a good backup and while some Jets fans may have cold feet after the debacle last season, it’s important to remember that none of it was Siemian’s fault.

The Jets could do a lot worse than Trevor Siemian in 2020.

Next: 1. Matt Moore

NY Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

1. Matt Moore

The Jets have a prior connection with each of the two previous quarterbacks on this list in one way or another, but neither of them has as much experience playing under head coach Adam Gase than Matt Moore.

Moore spent seven seasons in Miami serving as the Dolphins’ primary backup, the final two of which were under Gase’s guidance. And that just so happens to be when Moore saw the majority of his playing time.

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The former Carolina Panthers signal-caller started five games with Gase throwing for 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions. One particularly impressive stretch saw him lead the Dolphins to a 2-1 record in 2016 that helped them secure a playoff appearance.

Moore actually tossed a career-high four touchdown passes in a Week 15 matchup with the Jets earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He would actually go on to start the team’s first playoff game since 2008 in a losing effort to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After spending a year out of football in 2018, Moore would return and sign with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019 starting two games in Patrick Mahomes‘ absence, winning one.

Given his experience in Gase’s system, Moore would be an ideal backup option for the Jets. Unfortunately, Rich Cimini indicated last week that a “reunion doesn’t seem likely.”

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Still, if the Jets are smart, they’ll look into signing the 35-year-old veteran.