The New York Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft hoping he could become their quarterback of the future. But he didn’t take a single snap in his first two NFL seasons before the Jets traded him to the Oakland Raiders this offseason.
A three-quarterback competition remains for the starting quarterback position on the Jets this season between Teddy Bridgewater, rookie Sam Darnold and incumbent Josh McCown. And that’s the subject of our weekly Talk of Fame Network poll – who will be taking the snaps when the Jets open the season Sept. 10 in Detroit against the Lions. Here are the options:
Teddy Bridgewater. A former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2014, the future looked bright for Bridewater when he started as a rookie and passed for 2,919 yards and 14 touchdowns for a spot on the NFL all-rookie team. He was even better in 2015, passing for 3,231 yards and 14 TDs for his first Pro Bowl invitation. He steered the Vikings to 11 victories that season. But he suffered a torn ACL and dislocated kneecap in training camp of 2016 and missed all of that season and the first 15 games of the 2017 season. He made a token appearance in the season finale, throwing two passes. The Vikings then signed Kirk Cousins in free agency this offseason and Bridgewater left in free agency for the Jets. Bridgewater has had 300-yard passing games in his brief career against the Cardinals, Falcons, Lions and Jets and a four-touchdown game against the Bears.
Sam Darnold. The Jets claimed Darnold with the third overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft – the highest they’ve taken a quarterback since claiming Richard Todd sixth overall in 1976. Darnold started at Southern Cal for two years before giving up his senior season to turn pro. He passed for 3,086 yards with 31 touchdowns and only nine interceptions in his first season as a starter in 2016, then passed for 4,143 yards with 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2017. He had eight 300-yard passing games last season, including 397 against Texas, 358 against Utah and 356 against Ohio State. He pencils in as the franchise’s quarterback of the future – but does that future start this September?
Josh McCown. At 38, McCown is entering his 16th NFL season. He has played for eight teams and started games for six of them, including a career-high 13 for the Jets in 2017. He passed for a career-best 2,926 yards with 18 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, so he cannot be discounted from this quarterback competition. Last season he passed for 354 yards in a game against AFC champion New England, 331 against AFC West champion Kansas City and 307 against NFC South wild-card Carolina. The man can sling it. In his career, he has passed for 300 yards in games against 15 different franchises: Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, Minnesota, New England, Oakland, San Francisco, the Giants and Jets and the Chargers and Rams.