Mike Maccagnan said the Jets looked at “a lot” of quarterbacks during free agency, but they always liked Josh McCown.
The general manager, now in his third year on the job, avoided getting into specifics about which quarterbacks he coveted throughout the process. But during a conference call Friday, he insisted that McCown, 37, “still has good football left in him.”
That’s a good thing, considering the Jets gave the former Browns quarterback $6 million, fully guaranteed, for one year. Now all Jets fans want to know is: Will McCown start?
“I’ll defer to Todd,” Maccagnan said when pressed on whether McCown will start over recent draft picks Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.
Maccagnan noted that McCown has “very good veteran character” and “still has ability to play and perform on the field.” He also said McCown, now on his eighth team since 2002, understood the situation the Jets have with two young quarterbacks who, according to Maccagnan, “we drafted and like their upside.”
But the addition of McCown doesn’t necessarily mean the Jets are out of the quarterback market.
Though Maccagnan called it “highly unlikely” that he would sign another veteran quarterback, he added: “You never want to say never.” He stressed that “all options are on the table at the quarterback position” for the Jets, who have the No. 6 pick in next month’s draft.
Several Jets executives, coaches and scouts were on hand for Mitchell Trubisky’s North Carolina pro day earlier this week and reportedly plan to work him out in the near future. Members of the organization reportedly also met privately with Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.
The Jets chose the unconventional route last season by keeping four quarterbacks on their roster — starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, No. 2 Geno Smith, Petty and Hackenberg. Maccag nan said “ideally,” most NFL teams would prefer to keep only three on their roster. But “if there’s a player worthy of that pick . . . we’ll do that.”
Told that some fans would view the addition of a new quarterback as a knock against Hackenberg, Maccagnan insisted that it wouldn’t be “a referendum” on the former second-round pick, who was inactive for the first 15 games in 2016 and never played a down.
As of now, though, it’s unclear if the Jets will retain the sixth overall pick. Echoing comments he made last month at the NFL Scouting Combine, Maccagnan said the Jets “feel good” about having such a high pick but that they’re still looking to acquire more picks via trades.
“Hopefully, you guys can keep advertising that for me,” he joked.
Notes & quotes: Maccagnan was tight-lipped about the futures of safety Calvin Pryor and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. He wouldn’t say if the Jets plan to pick up Pryor’s fifth-year option by the May 2 deadline. Maccagnan also was noncommittal about the status of Richardson, whom they unsuccessfully tried to trade last season. Maccagnan noted that Richardson, who has twice served league-issued suspensions, still is “under contract.” But while the Jets are “looking to see how he progresses and develops,” they’ll also weigh their options, Maccagnan said.