The Jets passed on the likes of Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler in the 2006 NFL Draft in no small part because they liked Kellen Clemens, who was available in the second round. Even given Clemens' lack of development, it is difficult to argue the team made a mistake passing on those guys in hindsight. D'Brickashaw Ferguson ended up being a more sound pick. Clemens never panned out as the guy of the future.
He found his way into the starting lineup for half of 2007 as Chad Pennington struggled, and the team fell out of the race early. Clemens was unspectacular, tossing 5 touchdowns and 10 interceptions despite showing good signs in clutch spots.
The team was not impressed with Clemens' development on the field or in practice. That is why Mike Tannenbaum traded for Brett Favre in 2008 and Mark Sanchez in 2009 rather than give Kellen a real chance at the starting job. It is also why the Jets signed Mark Brunell in 2010 and demoted Clemens to third string.
An ugly relief outing against the Bills in Toronto and a just as ugly start against the Bucs in Tampa in 2009 showed why the Jets were so unimpressed with his development.
The case for keeping Clemens is stronger than one might think. He is by all measures a good locker room guy, and a guy with 9 career starts who has played well in spots is more than most teams have in the third spot. I think that spot would be better served having a young quarterback the team can try and develop into a long term backup for Sanchez, though. Clemens being around would prevent the team from trying to find its own Matt Flynn. The Jets do not want to trust Kellen with any meaningful time.
The Jets have a third round tender on him. They should pull it.