New York Jets: Trading for Ryan Fitzpatrick is a great move


The New York Jets have been extremely active in free agency so far, as general manager Mike Maccagnan has already made a huge splash by signing Darrelle Revis.

Addressing the cornerback situation for the Jets was priority No.1 this offseason, and with the signing of Revis and Buster Skrine already, Maccagnan can move onto other needs. It’s been no secret that the Jets’ quarterback situation has been a mess for too long. Even when they were playing in AFC Championship Games, Mark Sanchez was not playing all that well, and he regressed as the team around him got worse.

Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) throws a pass in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Jets defeated Miami 37-24. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

After the Sanchez era came to an end in New York, all the hope turned to Geno Smith, who was taken in the second-round from West Virginia. In his rookie season, Smith was shockingly able to have a 8-8 record on a poor Jets team. With a .500 record in a year that they thought would be a losing season, it caused elevated expectations in 2014, that weren’t close to being met.

Last season would be a long, painful year for the Jets, as it was clear that the team was failed by general manager John Idzik, who despite having a ton of money, barely upgraded the team. In his second year, Smith was slated as the Jets’ starting QB after a 8-8 season, despite the Jets bringing in Michael Vick in free agency. In his second year, Smith would really struggle for most of the season, as he completed just 59.7% of his passes. Smith totaled 2,525 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and eight fumbles. After a good rookie year running the football, Smith would have five fewer rushing touchdowns, and over 100 fewer rushing yards.

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Smith’s poor season would lead to him being benched for Vick at one point in the season. Vick however wouldn’t playing much better than Smith, as he completed just 52.9% of his passes, and totaled 604 passing yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions, and five fumbles.

A lot of the Jets’ failures last season will go on the quarterback play, and for good reason. With the new regime in Maccagnan and Todd Bowles coming in, it will also mean at least one new quarterback for the Jets. The Jets were interested in signing free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer, but after he chose to sign with the Houston Texans, it made the Texans’ quarterback of last year Ryan Fitzpatrick expendable. The Jets would pounce on this opportunity to improve at quarterback, as they traded a conditional late-round draft pick for Fitzpatrick.

Last season, Fitzpatrick had arguably his best season in the NFL, as he totaled 2,483 passing yards, with a 63.1 completion percentage, 17 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. Fitzpatrick would have a career-high 95.3 QB rating, as he was very good at protecting the football, something that will be a welcomed sight in New York. There was talk earlier in the offseason about the Jets’ interest in Fitzpatrick if he would become available, as he has played with the Jets’ new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey in Buffalo.

In Houston, Fitzpatrick had a good wide receiver duo in Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, and with the Jets, he arguably has better weapons at wide receiver with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. The Texans’ offense was centered on running back Arian Foster last season, which led to Fitzpatrick being able to be more of a game-manager, which he excelled in doing.

While Fitzpatrick is already an upgrade at the quarterback position for the Jets, he may not even be the starter in 2015. The Jets hold the sixth pick in the NFL Draft, and for the last month, draft experts have had Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota being selected by the Jets. If Mariota falls into the Jets’ lap it will be nearly impossible not to take him, but the addition of Fitzpatrick gives the Jets the flexibility to let Mariota sit and learn, instead of throwing him right into the fire.

The latest move to trade for Fitzpatrick continues an excellent first offseason for Maccagnan, who is quickly making the Jets into a much better team for the 2015 season.

Next: Who was the best first-round pick ever by the Jets?

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