FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Jets GM Mike Maccagnan spoke for nearly 30 minutes with reporters on Wednesday and one of the biggest topics that came up was the evaluation of the quarterbacks.
Maccagnan was noncommittal about the future of starter Josh McCown and the backups, No. 2 Bryce Petty and No. 3 Christian Hackenberg.
“I don’t think there’s any prerequisite on what we need or don’t need to do,” Maccagnan said. “I think the one thing is we’ll see how this season progresses and we still got seven games left to play. I mentioned before you don’t really know how seasons unfold. But from our standpoint I’m encouraged by the work those guys have put in and we’ll see how this season unfolds going forward. But I don’t think there’s a prerequisite on what we have to do or don’t have to do.”
Petty is a 2015 fourth-round pick and he’s ahead of Hackenberg, the 2016 second round selection. McCown beat out both quarterbacks this summer. Hackenberg has been inactive for all but one game this season and hasn’t thrown an NFL pass in two seasons. The only reason Hackenberg was active for the season opener was because of a knee injury to Petty.
“The one thing I think with every player [is] they all develop at different paces and different rates,” Maccagnan said. “I think it was a good experience for Christian, we got an idea [of] areas where he needs to still improve upon like every young player . . . I like the work they’re putting in and I like going out there and watching them practice and see how they continue to progress and develop.”
McCown signed a one-year $6 million deal with the Jets, so if he doesn’t return in 2018, the Jets could elevate Petty or Hackenberg to the top spot. The Jets could draft a quarterback, but given where the Jets could finish in the standings, which remains uncertain at this stage, landing one of the top draft picks without trading up into the top five would be difficult.
So is there a possibility McCown returns in 2018?
“Again, we’re just midway through this season and we’ll see how the rest of the season plays itself out,” the GM said. “I can only speak very highly of what Josh has brought to this organization not only as a player but as a person. But like I said, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out and address those issues at the end of the season.”
McCown is second in the NFL in completion percentage (70.4) and 10th in quarterback rating at 96.1.