Jets GM Maccagnan says Smith, Simms will get most snaps as Fitzpatrick heals from leg injury

By Dennis Waszak Jr.


NEW YORK _ The New York Jets’ quarterback competition might not heat up until the summer.

While newly acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to rehabilitate from a broken leg, Geno Smith and Matt Simms are expected to get most of the snaps during off-season workouts.

Fitzpatrick, traded from Houston for a conditional seventh-round draft pick last week, is expected to be fully healthy by training camp and compete with Smith for the quarterback job. Fitzpatrick broke his left leg during a game against Indianapolis on Dec. 14.

“He’ll be involved in some of the off-season stuff, OTAs,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said during a conference call Thursday. “But again, taking it into consideration, too, the rehabilitation for his injuries. So, he may be limited to a certain degree in OTAs.”

While Maccagnan wouldn’t get into a depth chart _ he’ll “defer” to coach Todd Bowles _ or whether there might be an open competition at the position, he said he would “absolutely” be comfortable heading into training camp with Smith and Fitzpatrick as his main quarterbacks.

But with the No. 6 overall pick in the draft, the Jets have often been linked to Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in mock drafts. Despite being currently satisfied with having Smith and Fitzpatrick, Maccagnan wouldn’t rule out the possibility of drafting either Mariota or Florida State’s Jameis Winston. Maccagnan and the Jets attended Mariota’s pro day, and plan to be at Winston’s later this month.

“I would say simply that I don’t think any player is either on or off our board, in terms of what we would do, based on our current roster,” Maccagnan said.

The Jets were busy during a whirlwind week of spending in free agency, trading for Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall, and signing a slew of defensive backs in Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Buster Skrine and Marcus Gilchrist.

“The cornerback position in free agency, this year, I thought, had some depth to it and had some talent it,” Maccagnan said. “It just was the way it kind of worked out.”

The Jets also brought in offensive lineman James Carpenter and re-signed a few of their own potential free agents, including linebacker David Harris, running back Bilal Powell and guard Willie Colon.

“We kind of got off to a good start,” Maccagnan said, “but it’s just, again, one small step in a big process.”

New York quickly pursued Revis, bringing back a fan favourite and one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL with a five-year contract worth $70 million, with $39 million fully guaranteed.

“I think we just viewed him probably as one of the better players available in free agency,” Maccagnan said, “and were as aggressive as we could be to get him back with the Jets.”

Despite Revis’ age _ he’ll be 30 in July _ Maccagnan wasn’t deterred from offering a big-money, long-term deal to the cornerback. He compared Revis to Champ Bailey, whom the GM knew from his days in Washington when he was in the Redskins’ scouting department.

“Champ was able to play at a very high level well into his 30s,” Maccagnan said. “I kind of view Darrelle in the same status.”

The other big splash by the Jets was the trade for Marshall, a talented yet sometimes controversial player whose outspoken approach has rubbed some the wrong way in his previous NFL stops. But Maccagnan got input from Bowles and wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell, who knew Marshall from their two seasons together in Miami.

Marshall gives the Jets a true No. 1 receiver who can complement Eric Decker _ regardless of whether it’s Smith, Fitzpatrick or someone else under centre. New York gave up a fifth-round pick in exchange for Marshall and a seventh-rounder.

NOTES: Former Giants and Falcons DE Osi Umenyiora stopped by the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, New Jersey, on Wednesday _ but Maccagnan insisted it wasn’t a “formal” visit. The free agent was there “to say hi to Todd on a social visit,” Maccagnan said. “I think he was in our building for a whole 10 minutes. I actually didn’t even know he was here until later in the day when somebody asked me about it.” … CB Dee Milliner, the team’s first-round pick in 2013 who’s coming off a torn Achilles tendon that cut short his season, has an uncertain role but the Jets aren’t actively shopping him.

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