NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The Jets need a quarterback.
But who will be under center when Gang Green opens the 2017 season? We decided to take a look at 10 realistic possibilities.
Before we get started, let’s rule out of a couple of names. Patriots coach Bill Belichick will never trade Jimmy Garoppolo to his hated rival. And we think even the Jets are smart enough to recognize that bringing back Mark Sanchez would make them the “butt” (get it?) of jokes on tabloid back pages, not to mention he hasn’t been able to win a starting job anywhere else.
We’re also assuming that Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith, both free agents after this season, won’t return to the Jets next year.
The Jets’ 2015 fourth-round pick will get the final month of this season to prove he deserves the job next year. He hasn’t wowed anyone to date, but he hasn’t looked hopeless, either. We’ll know more soon.
General manager Mike Maccagnan selected the Penn State product in the second round of April’s draft. Hackenberg has been viewed as a developmental project who isn’t game-ready yet. There’s no telling how far along he’ll be by September, but the Jets would obviously love for him to emerge as their starting QB at some point.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, are not looking for their QB of the future. They have rookie Dak Prescott, making Tony Romo, who is set to count $24.7 million against Dallas’ salary cap next year, expendable. Sure, Romo is 36 and has struggled to stay healthy, but the four-time Pro Bowler might be the best available option out there for the Jets.
There have been some rumblings that the Chargers could try to deal Rivers this offseason, and the Jets have predictably been linked to such talk. Rivers, who turns 35 on Thursday, does have a no-trade clause, but he also has been a vocal opponent of the Chargers’ potential move to Los Angeles.
The Bears might look to move on from Cutler after this season. Throughout his career, Cutler has been viewed as a talented-but-inconsistent signal-caller. But for all his flaws, he still is a legitimate NFL starting quarterback, one who could buy the Jets more time to figure things out. And at least Cutler already has a rapport with Brandon Marshall, assuming he stays.
The Vikings expect Teddy Bridgewater to make a full recovery from his severe knee injury. In a bid to rescue its season, Minnesota traded for Bradford in September. The Vikes might look to recoup some of what it spent by flipping the former No. 1 overall pick to another team. Bradford has completed over 71 percent of his passes this season while tossing 13 touchdowns to just three interceptions.
There was talk in October that the Broncos might try to trade away their starting QB, Siemian, to clear room for Romo. There’s no reason that same scenario can’t play out in the offseason, although Siemian likely wouldn’t excite Jets fans much. The Broncos also have rookie first-round pick Paxton Lynch on their roster. In his first 10 NFL starts, Siemian has passed for 2,396 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Glennon, who is set to become a free agent this offseason, started 18 games in his first two seasons with the Buccaneers and did a solid job. (For his career, he’s tossed 30 touchdowns to 15 interceptions and has a 84.6 QB rating). Glennon, however, has been relegated to the bench the past two seasons behind Jameis Winston. Glennon, who turns 27 next week, is also unlikely to move the needle much among the Gang Green fan base.
DESHONE KIZER OR MITCH TRUBISKY
If the Jets don’t like what they see from both Petty and Hackenberg and are unable to land a proven veteran, perhaps they will target a QB high in the draft. Notre Dame’s Kizer and North Carolina’s Trubisky are considered the top two on most draft boards, assuming the underclassmen declare eligible. But can Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles, if he dodges the ax this year, afford to potentially sacrifice next season while allowing a rookie to develop? And with the QB-needy Browns, 49ers and Bears possibly drafting before them, the Jets might also have to trade up to get one of these signal-callers.