When I look at free agents I like to target players who are on the right side of 30-years old, and players who have shown flashes of talent. Also players who will be relatively cheap to sign as handing out a deal that is going to be something like seven years for $100 million is absurd. That is how you screw up your cap and ruin your team for the future.
This offseason the New York Jets will have about $43 million to spend this offseason.
This is a quarterback league and you need a franchise quarterback to win the Super Bowl. The Jets do not have a competent quarterback. Geno Smith can be a viable backup, but that is about it. Michael Vick should be cut as he is not what he used to be and simply put, the Jets just need a fresh start at the position. Here are three unrestricted free agent quarterbacks the Jets should target this offseason.
Ryan Mallett (Houston Texans): The Jets have already reported interest in signing Mallett this offseason, according to Gang Green Nation.
Gang Green Nation reports, “The source said that he believes that general manager Mike Maccagnan, formerly of the Houston Texans, is “intrigued in the idea of Ryan Mallett” being part of the quarterback competition.” Mallett and the Jets are a natural fit,” the source said. “He’d be interesting in a quarterback competition to say the least.”
Well I believe that this would be a great fit. I recall watching him play at the University of Arkansas several years ago and he had one monster arm. I personally hate sports science, but here is a video that truly shows how strong Mallett’s arm is. He would be able to compete for the starting job and push either Smith or a quarterback that is drafted.
We have a small sample of Mallett’s stats from last season, due to the fact that he tore his pectoral muscle after only playing two games. Here are the two games:
Houston @ Cleveland: 20 for 30, 211 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 81.9 QBR, and 95.3 passer rating
Houston vs. Cincinnati: 21 for 45, 189 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception, 20.3 QBR, 49.3 PR
Those stats against the Bengals are pretty bad, but according to two different reports he either got the injury against the Browns or tore the muscle in pregame warm-ups against the Bengals. The fact that he went out there with a torn pectoral and played is one big move. He earns my respect and can bring some much-needed toughness to the Jets locker room.
He is only 26-years old, which is relatively young, so the Jets could have him for several seasons if they want to. One more thing of note, he was drafted by the Patriots and was Brady’s backup for three seasons. Wouldn’t it be delightful to sign Mallett and him succeed with the Jets.
Wouldn’t that be the greatest way to get back at New England? I can only imagine Mallett going into Foxboro in a playoff game and beating his former team. That would be the sweetest victory. But before I get carried away and too excited, lets move on to the second quarterback.
Jake Locker (Tennessee Titans): The former 8th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has had a lot of trouble staying healthy. He is only 26-years old and has shown some flashes of being a good quarterback. In 2011 he was a rookie and did not start any games so lets not count that season.
Look at his stats from the three seasons he played, but notice he only started 11 games in 2012, 7 games in 2013, and 5 games this season. He is injury prone, but a small contract with no major financial liabilities would be a smart move. A couple of games stand out in his game logs.
In 2012 he threw for 378 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 44-41 win over Detroit. He also is mobile and in that game ran for 35 yards on four carries.
Two games stand out in 2013; against the Chargers he threw for 299 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, and also ran for 68 yards on five attempts and had a rushing touchdown in a 20-17 win. Four weeks later against the tough 49ers defense he threw for 326 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception, but they lost that game 31-17.
This past season in Week 1 against a good Chiefs defense, he threw for 266 yards on 22 completions with two touchdowns in a 26-10 win. All in all he hasn’t bad or good, but has shown flashes where he could be really good. His tenure in Nashville has gone sour and he could use a fresh start in a new city.
Blaine Gabbert (San Francisco 49ers): This may sound a bit far fetched but he was, after all, drafted 10th overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In Jacksonville he was simply terrible, but he was sacked at an extremely high rate. The offensive line was terrible and he got knocked around so often. Additionally, there was just no talent on that Jaguars roster to help him out.
In 2011 he started 14 games and was sacked 40 times, tied for the 3rd most in the league. That was only in 14 games so if he would have played all 16 games, you can assume he could have gotten sacked 5 more times which would have led the league. His sack percentage that season was 8.8 percent. In 2012 he started 10 games and was sacked at a 7.3 sack percentage. In 2013 Gabbert started only 3 games but was sacked 12 times in total, and that sack percentage was 12.2 percent.
His sack percentage after those three are extremely high and after that first season I would also be scared and just try to get rid of the ball as fast as I can so I do not get hit. His stats are anemic and can be seen here, but Jim Harbaugh knew something about Gabbert when he traded a sixth round pick and a conditional pick in this year’s draft. Harbaugh is a master at developing quarterbacks and Gabbert had a year of tutelage under Harbaugh.
Maybe Gabbert learnt something and developed his game a bit better and can be the quarterback the Jaguars imagined when they selected him 10th overall. He is also the youngest of these 3 quarterbacks, at 25 years old. The 49ers can choose to re-sign him to have insurance behind Kaepernick, but if not Gabbert is definitely worth a look. He will be really cheap to sign this offseason, and won’t mess up the cap in any way.
These three quarterbacks will all come cheap and will not screw up the salary cap at all. The Jets can also target a quarterback in the draft and have a three-way competition for the starting quarterback gig.
Other names that come to mind but don’t make sense:
Obviously Brian Hoyer’s name comes to mind but he will demand too much money. He lost his job to Johnny Manziel, who if you haven’t heard has checked himself into a rehab center. If you can’t hold off a player who is in rehab now then you should not be the starting quarterback anywhere and that is definitely not someone who I want being the starting quarterback for my team. Let him go somewhere else and let another team overpay for him.
Mark Sanchez is another name that comes to mind, but that would be too much of a circus. He also was not so great in Philadelphia in a system that makes it so easy for the quarterback to do well in.
Robert Griffin’s name has been mentioned, but he is too much of an injury risk. Also he would only become a free agent if he gets cut by Washington, something that is not guaranteed. Additionally, Griffin has such a big ego that he comes off as such a pompous person. He did not work well with head coach Mike Shanahan, and is not able to function with current head coach Jay Gruden. Shanahan was a really good coach in Denver and won two Super Bowl’s with John Elway, and yet Griffin would not learn and tone it down with a great head coach.
It is clear that Griffin thinks he is bigger than the team itself and would be an awful fit in New York, especially with new head coach Todd Bowles and new General Manager Maccagnan. Griffin would call out Bowles and make Bowles look like the bad one and get him run out of town. Let Griffin take his shenanigans elsewhere.