NEW YORK (AP) It appears Josh McCown will be the lone veteran in the New York Jets’ quarterbacks room this summer.
The Jets might add yet another youngster, but whether McCown is the starter when the season begins remains to be seen.
General manager Mike Maccagnan said during a conference call Friday that it’s ”highly unlikely” the Jets will bring in another experienced QB after signing McCown on Monday. While he added that ”you never want to say never,” Maccagnan said any potential additional quarterback to the roster would likely come through the draft.
”We looked at a lot of different quarterbacks,” Maccagnan said of free agency. ”Josh was a player who we liked through the process. We have some history with him, from people in our building. So, we know what his strengths are, in terms of an intangibles standpoint. We think he’s a very good veteran, from a character and leadership standpoint, to add to our group.”
Maccagnan believes the 37-year-old McCown has ”good football left in him.” He declined to say whether McCown would enter training camp as the starter over the inexperienced Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg, deferring to coach Todd Bowles.
”All three of those guys will have an opportunity,” Maccagnan said, ”both in the offseason and training camp, to kind of go out there and show where they’re at.”
While it’s possible the Jets could carry four QBs on their roster, as they did last season, Maccagnan acknowledged that most teams would ideally prefer to have three.
McCown signed a one-year deal for $6 million fully guaranteed, but the contract includes a potential $7 million in additional incentives – including $2 million in playing bonuses ($125,000 for each game playing at least 50 percent snaps) and $5 million in playoff/Super Bowl bonuses.
When asked whether New York was interested in Colin Kaepernick, Maccagnan said the Jets ”vetted all quarterbacks, and I don’t think we ruled anybody out,” but believed McCown was the best option. The Jets had some interest in Jay Cutler and Mike Glennon, and had Chase Daniel in for a visit.
”When it was all said and done, I think Josh fit from a system standpoint in what we do,” Maccagnan said of McCown.
McCown, who’ll turn 38 on July 4, played the past two seasons with Cleveland and went 1-10 as a starter, including 0-3 last season. The Jets initially showed interest in him in 2015 before they traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was similarly lauded for his leadership and mentoring skills as much as his on-field abilities when he came to New York.
Fitzpatrick was allowed to become a free agent after a poor season, as was former starter Geno Smith, who signed with the Giants to be Eli Manning’s backup.
McCown has familiarity with new Jets quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, who was his position coach in Chicago during the 2012 and `13 seasons.
Petty, a fourth-rounder out of Baylor in 2015, started four games last season and threw for 809 yards and three touchdowns with seven interceptions before injuring his left, non-throwing shoulder in Week 16. Hackenberg, a second-round pick last year out of Penn State, has yet to appear in a regular-season game.
”I think Josh understood the situation that we had, with two young quarterbacks that we’ve drafted and we like their upside,” Maccagnan said. ”He’s been in the league for a long time, so he understands how different teams are set up, and the situation he’s going to potentially walk into. But I do think the one thing he’s aware of, is every position is competitive.”
New York has the No. 6 overall pick, and the GM said the Jets ”actually feel pretty good” about the team’s options at that spot. A trio of quarterbacks – North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer – all could be high selections next month.
”But we are still looking, ideally, to acquire more picks in this draft,” Maccagnan said. ”Philosophically, that’s been sort of our focus.”
NOTES: The Jets officially announced they’ve re-signed OT Ben Ijalana, who agreed to terms two weeks ago. It’s a two-year deal worth up to $11 million. … Maccagnan declined to say whether the Jets would exercise the fifth-year option on S Calvin Pryor’s contract. ”Those are things that will work themselves out in time,” the GM said. … Maccagnan on recently signed CB Morris Claiborne, whose career has been marked by several injuries: ”When he’s played, he’s played at a very high level and he fits in a schematic standpoint with us. … We felt good about the risk.” … Maccagnan wouldn’t speculate about the future of DL Sheldon Richardson, who has been mentioned in trade rumors since last season. ”Sheldon’s under contract with us,” Maccagnan said. ”We’re looking to see how he progresses and develops.”
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