The New York Jets must do what they can to address their backup quarterback situation and replace the Philadelphia-bound Joe Flacco.
Even those who have done their utmost to social distance from New York football are likely aware that the green squad has a quarterback quandary on their hands.
We are, of course, referring to the relative panic surrounding the departure of Joe Flacco to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Flacco’s lasting impression in green will likely come in the form of people being shocked that the Super Bowl MVP wore a uniform other than Baltimore’s purple, joining a brotherhood that includes Michael Vick, Derrick Mason, and LaDainian Tomlinson. But the Jets, who haven’t had a passer start every game of a season since 2015 (Ryan Fitzpatrick) need to have a strong name behind either Sam Darnold (who has missed games in each of his three NFL seasons to date) or a youngster plucked from the rookie bunch.
Even as the Jets seek to restore hope to their desperate fanbase through a new franchise man, a strong backup can prove valuable. That’s a lesson that general manager Joe Douglas likely learned firsthand during his time in Philadelphia, when he watched Nick Foles guide the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title in the game’s 52nd edition.
Which of the remaining options could the Jets target on the remaining passing market? Jet X investigates …
Josh McCown, Houston
Josh McCown‘s time as a Jets quarterback probably accounted for whatever can be remotely called glory days for the Jets have had over the past five seasons.
As a stopgap option in 2017, he led an inexperienced squad to five wins and five single-possession losses. He then served as a mentor to Darnold, who never hesitated to leave a positive review during their single year’s collaboration.
Set to turn 42 on Independence Day, McCown was released from a perfect situation in March: he was the Texans’ backup but was close to home and his family.
If the Jets can find a way to work with McCown and his desire to contribute through coaching high school ball, much like the Eagles in his stop prior to Houston, this could definitely be an avenue worth exploring.
Nick Mullens, San Francisco
The offensive addition of Tevin Coleman notwithstanding, the Jets have mostly stayed away from inviting Robert Saleh‘s fellow former bearers of the red and gold from the Bay Area. But Mullens, who’s carving an NFL path after going undrafted out of Southern Mississippi in 2018, has proven capable of stepping up in a pinch.
Sure, a 5-11 mark as a starter leaves something to be desired, but Mullens has posted a passer rating of over 100 in five of those starts and has multiple touchdown passes in seven.
Mullens would be a definite upgrade from the prior crop of New York understudies, as the Jets have mostly relied on either the older vets or the completely inexperienced (i.e. Luke Falk).
Alex Smith, Washington
For however long he has left in the National Football League, there might be no better mentor in professional sports than Alex Smith. Even before last season’s inspiring comeback from the devastating leg injury—one that helped guide the Washington Football Team to an unlikely playoff visit—Smith was a player who defined perseverance and overcoming great odds.
His NFL endeavors probably should’ve ended after his ugly early seasons were defined by inconsistency and endless coaching turnover. Instead, he developed a lengthy career as a starter in both San Francisco and Kansas City, losing the starting jobs through little, if any, fault of his own.
Whether it’s Sam Darnold or your non-Trevor Lawrence rookie of the choice, the franchise man can not only have a strong backup as a safety net but they can also have a great, resilient mind to work with as a mentor.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags