The New York Jets are hoping that an improved cast of offensive weapons and another offseason of development will lead to big strides for Geno Smith in his second NFL season, but they're making contingency plans in case he doesn't. The Jets are interested in acquiring veteran free agent Josh McCown to serve as Smith's backup, according to the New York Daily News.
McCown started five games in place of an injured Jay Cutler for the Chicago Bears last season, going 3-2 at the helm. The 12-year vet, who will be 35 next season, finished with a 109.0 passer rating and 13 touchdown passes.
Smith, on the other hand, had mixed results in his rookie season. Like the Jets as a whole, he was wildly inconsistent, showing flashes of ability but also a propensity for turnovers. He had 21 picks and four fumbles compared to 12 passing touchdowns, and completed just 55.8 percent of his passes.
After being selected in the second round last season, Smith was out-performed by incumbent starter Mark Sanchez in the preseason, but a season-ending shoulder injury to Sanchez thrust Smith into the starting role. Sources tell the Daily News that general manager John Idzik is wary of Sanchez showing up Smith again, and plans on releasing Sanchez this offseason.
"John can't have Sanchez succeed (as a member of the Jets)," said a team insider.
The Daily News also reports that the Jets will not pursue Michael Vick, who worked with current Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg for four years in Philadelphia. Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who will likely be released, is reportedly not interested in backing up Smith.
David Wyatt of Jets blog Gang Green Nation approves of McCown, though he hopes the organization plans on adding depth through the draft as well.
In my opinion McCown is one of those guys that you want. He's not going to blow you away, but he will keep you competitive if, say, Geno suffers an injury or goes through another bad spell where he needs to be benched. ...
I wouldn't be against bringing in McCown as long as he isn't the only QB to arrive this summer.