They have options. This isn’t 2013, when the only healthy quarterback was rookie Geno Smith. This isn’t 2009, when the only competition for rookie Mark Sanchez was the marginally talented Kellen Clemens. The Jets have two starting-caliber quarterbacks in Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater, a couple of wise heads who could hold the fort until the Darnold era commences.
Coach Todd Bowles always says he will start the quarterback who gives them the best chance to win now. That’s “the main factor,” he said. Based on that premise, Bridgewater should be the guy. He was terrific in the first two preseason games, bringing energy, poise and production to the offense. His surgically repaired knee felt so good Thursday night that he actually didn’t mind getting banged around by potential tacklers, prompting a funny remark from an incredulous Bowles.
“I told him I have a neighborhood where he can go and get hit quite a bit if he wants to get hit,” Bowles said.
Bridgewater’s candidacy is atypical because there’s a chance he could get traded. If the Jets are comfortable with Darnold and McCown, they will listen to offers, perhaps hoping to flip Bridgewater for an enticing draft pick.
Even though he’s only 25, Bridgewater can’t be the Jets’ future because they’ve invested so much in Darnold, so it’s a one-and-done situation. If they can secure a third-round pick from a quarterback-needy team, they should make the trade and open the season with McCown, who has shown no signs of slippage in limited practice and game action.
McCown and Bridgewater are here for a reason. It would be shortsighted to ignore them.