A look at what’s happening around the New York Jets:
1. No joshing: The signing of 37-year-old journeyman Josh McCown has sparked two schools of thought among NFL personnel types.
The Jets are clueless.
“People that don’t know what they’re doing sign McCown — and they don’t know what they’re doing,” one personnel source said. “It was 2 o’clock in the morning and they had to go home with someone because they were desperate. It’s going to have a bad ending. To bring him in, knowing he’s going to get hurt and he might not be good enough … I don’t get it. I think he’s done. In Tampa (2013), he really got beat up. The guy was a piñata. He’s a tough kid and, at one time, he had talent. But now it’s probably diminished.”
(We should also note that the same source raved about McCown’s intangibles, rating them a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10.)
This is a precursor to drafting a quarterback.
“To me, it’s even more indicative of them pursuing a long-term solution in this draft,” an opposing personnel executive said. “What they have at least is a veteran who can play the position, who, although not a preferred starter, has started in his career and has been in this kind of situation before as a placeholder. He can be a good influence on a young quarterback. You’re not going to win a lot of games with him, but he can run your offense, manage the line of scrimmage and function as a serviceable pro. By no means does signing McCown eliminate the need to find their guy.”
On Friday, general manager Mike Maccagnan indicated he’s willing to draft a quarterback.
2. What’s up with Hack? When coach Todd Bowles meets with reporters Tuesday morning at the owners meetings in Phoenix, he will be asked to declare a presumptive starter at quarterback. (He’s asked that question every year, which says a lot.) No matter how he chooses to characterize his quarterback situation, it’s pretty clear that Christian Hackenberg will get a shot after riding the bench as a rookie.
“It’s a big offseason for Christian,” Maccagnan said. “He’s going to get his opportunities, going forward.”
Some people on Twitter have been asking about Hackenberg, wondering how he’s preparing this offseason. Under the CBA, players aren’t allowed to have contact with their coaches until the start of the offseason program. For the Jets, that’s April 17. That really hurts a young player like Hackenberg, who is learning his fourth offensive system in five years (counting college).
In the meantime, Hackenberg isn’t sitting on his couch playing video games. He’s training with his Southern California-based quarterback coach, Jordan Palmer, who prepped him for the draft last year.
3. Holding on to 6: At the scouting combine, Maccagnan sounded like an infomercial, advertising his desire to trade down throughout the draft to acquire extra picks. Now, suddenly, he’s not so sure if he wants to part with the No. 6 overall pick. He said he feels “pretty good” about his position, adding, “I do think there will be some good options there for us, potentially, if we stay put, especially if a player or two we liked trickled down to us.”
Sounds like posturing. And, yes, that pick will increase in value if all the quarterbacks remain on the board.
4. Q minding his Ps: When the Jets signed former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton, a lot of casual fans probably said, “Who?” No, Patton isn’t household name, but he’s well-known among the analytics crowd.
Based on NFL Next Gen tracking data, Patton ranked fourth among No. 3 receivers in separation ability. They claim they can objectively measure the separation between a receiver and the defender covering him. (Note: A No. 3 receiver is defined as a player with less than 100 targets and saw at least 50 percent of his targets when lined up out wide.)
Sounds like a John Brenkus production, doesn’t it?
5. The master plan: Let’s put the offseason into a nutshell. The Jets cleared $47 million in cap space by parting ways with eight players, and they added $29 million in cap charges by retaining/adding 12 players. Do the math, and it’s a net savings of $18 million.
Other than saving a lot of money, what have they accomplished?
“Our plan has always been to build a team that can be competitive for the playoffs on a yearly basis,” Maccagnan said. “I think going into this season coming up, I think our focus is to try to do things that make ourselves as competitive as possible. … We made moves that are going to help move this team forward, but our focus has always been to try to be as competitive as we can be in terms of building this team. The one thing from our standpoint is not to mortgage the future for short-term gains.”
Anybody buying the part about the playoffs? Didn’t think so.
6. Arm-y of quarterbacks on the horizon: You’ll be hearing a lot of “Suck for Sam” references over the next several months, with fans and media types suggesting the Jets tank the season in order to have a shot at USC quarterback Sam Darnold in the 2018 draft. (Hello? The kid has only nine collegiate starts!) But, anyway, Darnold may not be the only stud in the class. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay is high on Wyoming’s Josh Allen.
“He may be the most physically talented quarterback to come out in the NFL draft in a five- to seven-year span,” McShay said.
Just whetting the appetite, folks.
7. Did you know? McCown has worn No. 12 or No. 13 for nearly his entire career. Obviously, he will have to pick a new number with the Jets. Those were worn by Hall of Famers Joe Namath (12) and Don Maynard (13), and they’re both retired.
8. Pride of the Yankees: Pinstripe lovers will appreciate this. Alabama has a draft-eligible wide receiver named Gehrig Dieter. Yes, he was named after New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig. He has a younger brother named Thurman (after Thurman Munson) and an older brother named Nolan (after Nolan Ryan). Ryan didn’t pitch for the Yankees, but maybe Dieter’s dad wasn’t fond of Whitey or Mariano as a first name. Speaking of Dieter’s father, his name is Derek … as in Derek Deiter … which rhymes with Derek Jeter. You can’t make this up.