FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets have already discussed their options in the event they have to move on from Ryan Fitzpatrick. And one potential avenue is signing a different veteran quarterback.
“Yeah, we would entertain it,” coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday, following the team’s second of three minicamp practices. “We’ve talked about that.”
In recent months, both he and general manager Mike Maccagnan have said they’re open to keeping four quarterbacks on the roster if Fitzpatrick re-signs. But if the 33-year-old doesn’t agree to the team’s offer — a three-year, $24-million deal that includes a guaranteed $15 million and maximum value of $36 million with incentives — the Jets will have to figure out a new Plan A.
The likely option in that scenario is Geno Smith, the fourth-year quarterback who currently is taking all of the first-team reps. But the Jets haven’t reached their breaking point in their months-long negotiations with Fitzpatrick’s camp.
The question is: Will management be forced to re-evaluate their quarterback situation if Smith looks good on the field and Fitzpatrick still isn’t here?
“There probably is a point,” Bowles said. “It’s no different than an injury. If a guy gets hurt and somebody steps in, like, hey, this guy’s doing pretty good, and he wins a couple games and he plays well, and if it’s not broke, you don’t fix it.
“But we’re not at that point yet. If there comes a point, we get to Week 4 of training camp and he’s not here, you know who your starter’s going to be Week 1. That’s pretty extreme, but that’s how it is.”
At an event in Manhattan Tuesday, Joe Namath told a ballroom of 750 people that he believed Smith will be the Jets’ Week 1 starter “no matter if Fitzpatrick comes back or not.” On Wednesday, Bowles was asked for his response.
“I think Joe Namath has earned the right to say whatever he wants,” the coach said, with a laugh. “He’s a Super Bowl quarterback. I don’t know if it’s going to be true or not.”
One thing Bowles knows: If Fitzpatrick returns early in training camp, his starting job will be waiting for him.
“We’ve said all along Ryan’s the starter,” he said. “Obviously, if Geno plays well and Ryan plays well, Ryan’s going to be the starter. If Ryan gets hurt or Ryan doesn’t show and Geno gets in like Ryan did last year, and he goes 4-1, things happen.”
Darrelle Revis (wrist surgery) participated in positional drills for the first time this offseason, though only at the beginning of practice. He’s expected to return on a full basis in training camp, but Bowles isn’t sure when. “You have to wait and see,” the coach said . . . Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins and right tackle Breno Giacomini had “excused absences” from practice and rookie cornerback Juston Burris and rookie wide receiver Robby Anderson are both dealing with hamstring injuries, Bowles said.