GM: 'Highly unlikely' Jets add veteran QB but rookie possible

ByRich Cimini via ESPN logo
Friday, March 24, 2017

The three quarterbacks on the New York Jets' roster might have to make room for one more.

While saying it's "highly unlikely" they will add another veteran, general manager Mike Maccagnan didn't rule out the possibility of adding a rookie to his stable of arms.

"The next place we'd potentially add a quarterback would most likely be, or potentially be, the draft," Maccagnan said Friday in a conference call with reporters.

The Jets, whose unstable quarterback situation always seems to be an offseason story, signed 37-year-old journeyman Josh McCown to a one-year, $6 million contract. He will join recent draft picks Christian Hackenberg (2016) and Bryce Petty (2015).

Maccagnan declined to say whether McCown will go into the offseason program as the No. 1 quarterback, deferring to coach Todd Bowles, who will address it next week at the NFL owners' meetings.

In the past, Bowles has avoided open competitions at quarterback, but it sounds as if he might tweak his philosophy. "All three of those players will have an opportunity, both in the offseason and training camp, to kind of go out there and show where they're at," Maccagnan said.

The Jets have been linked with some of the top prospects in the draft. They've already conducted a private workout with Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, a source said, and they're planning the same with North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky. They dispatched a handful of scouts and personnel people to Trubisky's pro day on Tuesday.

After deciding to move on from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith, the Jets wanted a veteran presence. That led them to McCown, who previously worked under quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates in Chicago.

They showed no interest in free agent Colin Kaepernick, whose unemployment has sparked a national discussion on whether his national anthem protests from last season is the reason he hasn't been signed.

"We vetted all quarterbacks," Maccagnan said. "I don't think we ruled anybody out. When it was all said and done, I think Josh fit from a system standpoint in what we do.

"We focused on the player that was the best fit for us, and Josh was kind of the one we thought brings a lot of things to the table. We're very happy about the opportunity to add him to our group."

McCown, who has lost 20 of his past 22 starts, battled injuries the past two seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He turns 38 on July 4, but "we still think he has good football left in him."

If the Jets draft a quarterback, it could imperil Petty's roster position. They made the unconventional decision last season to keep four on the 53-man roster, but it doesn't sound as if they want to go that route again.