It was never a reality that the Jets would enter the pre-season with 5 quarterbacks, there simply aren’t enough snaps to go around.
Last night the Jets cut 2015 4th round selection Bryce Petty. Unlike Hackenberg, he was given every opportunity to cement his place as an NFL QB, and despite his heroics in the Big 12 he failed to take those rare NFL chances. Petty ends his 3 year career with the Jets with 7 starts under his belt, completing just 53.1% of his passes while tossing 4 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.
The Jets worked hard to find a trade partner during the draft, but teams knew the situation the Jets were facing and they correctly assumed that he’d be available for free before rosters started coming into focus. Petty didn’t have the qualities to convince a team to give up a draft pick to guarantee his services, and he’ll likely find a camp invite somewhere down the road.
However where does this leave the Jets, they still have four quarterbacks on the roster and it would be a big surprise to see them carry all four into the season. However entering the pre-season with four is standard in the NFL and is 100% the correct way to look at this competition. Mike Maccagnan has said that rookie Sam Darnold will have every opportunity to win the starters job, and for once...I actually believe him.
Despite having four QB’s, the path to the starters role isn’t as treacherous for the rookie as it may be, just look at his competition:
Josh McCown: A soon to be 39 year old QB who has a history of injuries and finished the 2017 season on IR with a broken hand. McCown had a great season in 2017 for the Jets, and is understandably the odds on favourite to win the job this season.
Teddy Bridgewater: Despite a couple of promising seasons for Minnesota in 2014 and 2015, Bridgewater’s career took a set-back with a non-contract injury during the 2016 pre-season. An ACL tear, dislocated knee and other structural damage ensured he would miss both the 2016 and 2017 season. The Vikings didn’t like the look of his rehab enough to re-sign him at a fraction of the cost, relying on a reconstructed knee is a bad idea.
Christian Hackenberg: The Great mystery, a second round pick in 2016, Hackenberg has yet to throw a meaningful pass for the Jets. We’ve waited two years to see Hackenberg and that should say it all, especially considering the Jets struggled through two 5-11 seasons.
The Jets have a load of options. Carry all four (doesn’t seem likely), cut ties with Hackenberg and go with the veteran insurance with the rookie etc etc. Personally I think Hackenberg won’t see the end of the pre-season, the Jets will run with three QB’s through the season and try and flip Bridgewater at some point. Maybe they try and flip McCown because Bridgewater’s age (25) gives him more upside long-term, but there is a lot of respect in that Jets locker room for McCown, and he offers the experience for Darnold to learn from.
The first domino has fallen for the Jets, but this play hasn’t even reached the intermission,