Photos of former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
The New York Jets currently are without a starting quarterback, basically.
They are prepared to say their goodbyes to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith. They do have youngsters Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg on the roster. But Petty wasn’t impressive during his six-game, four-start audition this past season, with three touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 60.0. Hackenberg, a second-round draft choice last year out of Penn State, was deemed so far from being ready to play as a rookie that he wasn’t given an on-field look even in a long-lost season.
The Jets don’t seem likely to trade for Tony Romo or to be able to land the four-time Pro Bowl selection if he’s released by the Dallas Cowboys. A trade with the rival New England Patriots for Tom Brady’s backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, seems far-fetched.
Their free agent options include: (a) Jay Cutler; (b) Colin Kaepernick; (c) Robert Griffin III; or (d) none of the above.
The ideal answer there would be (d).
No team with attractive options would sign Cutler, Kaepernick or Griffin. Cutler has fool’s-gold talent, with the great arm that the next coach always believes will translate into being a winning player with a new team and a fresh start. But there’s a reason that the Chicago Bears were ready to move on from him. Aside from former Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase, now the head coach in Miami, no one seems to be able to make things work with him these days.
With Kaepernick, it’s not about politics. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about whether he still can resemble the quarterback who once started a Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers. He didn’t play terribly this past season for the 49ers. But he didn’t particularly resemble what he once had been, either.
Griffin seeks his third NFL team. He is yet to recapture the magic of his rookie season with the Washington Redskins in 2012. He is yet to demonstrate that he can be a reliable pocket passer in a pro-style offense. He is yet to show that he can remain healthy and in the lineup. He wasn’t the answer this past season in Cleveland and the Browns released him even before getting a quarterback solution of their own into the fold.
Oh, there are other possibilities for the Jets. They could sign Josh McCown, the veteran most recently with the Browns, or Chase Daniel, who seeks a starting opportunity somewhere after being granted his release by the Philadelphia Eagles. They could attempt to trade for Cincinnati Bengals backup AJ McCarron.
They have the No. 6 overall selection in the NFL draft and could use it on Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky or Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and install the rookie as the starter from Day 1. They probably won’t all be available for the sixth pick. But they probably won’t all be gone, either.
The wise move probably would be to trade for McCarron if the Bengals’ asking price is reasonable or, if it’s not, sign Daniel or McCown and work simultaneously to develop whichever young quarterback is considered most promising, whether it’s Petty or Hackenberg or someone drafted next month.
But these are the Jets. The most prudent move is not necessarily to be expected. Some within the league are guessing that Cutler will be the team’s Opening Day starter in 2017. Wish them luck.
The Jay Cutler era in Chicago officially ended this week with the veteran quarterback released and free agent Mike Glennon taking his place. After eight seasons and 104 starts, Cutler leaves holding just about every major franchise passing record. He also leaves with only one playoff appearance to his name.
Here’s a look at Cutler’s six best and six worst games as a Bear.