A number of people raise what I was an interesting point over the past 24 hours in our Andre Johnson discussion. They have argued that the Jets should be very interested in Johnson. The Jets might not be in the win now business, but they are in the develop a young quarterback now business.
This is an important year for Geno Smith. If he does not show real improvement on his rookie year, the Jets might be looking to draft a quarterback early in 2015. No matter your feelings on Geno, the best case scenario for the Jets in 2014 is that Geno grows into a quality quarterback. It would not only take away a need at the most important position and give the team a dirt cheap solution for the next few years. The Jets are probably going to have a really good year if Geno makes big strides.
Surroundings alone do not make or break a quarterback, but there are certain things a team can do to help make things easier on its quarterback. They are building a rock solid offensive line and a quality group of receivers. No quarterback likes throwing under pressure. Too much pressure makes young quarterbacks develop bad habits. That is where the line comes in. Good receivers make the job easier also. They simplify the game. A quarterback can trust his guy will get open and win contested balls instead of having to scan the entire field on every play and look for a tight opening.
When looking at the amount of cap space the Jets are sitting on and the players they have not pursued, I think it is fair to ask whether they made decisions that will put their young quarterback in the best position to succeed and grow. The offensive line is a question mark in three of the five spots. Brian Winters and Breno Giacomini have weak reputations in pass protection. Willie Colon is a major injury risk, and there is little in the way of proven depth. As far as weapons go, the Jets are much improved from a year ago, but they do have a position battle at their second receiver spot. The contestants are either unproven or in the case of David Nelson a known mediocrity. There were better options to be had. DeSean Jackson was the best, but there were still other cheaper, safer bets for the taking in the offseason.
Geno may yet thrive with this group. Perhaps even adding a star-studded receiving cast wouldn't help Geno succeed. I also understand there are other considerations involved in these decision. I thought the points made about developing the quarterback were thought-provoking, however. Might the Jets have been better off long-term making big investments to help Geno Smith? We'll find out. It's possible.