New York Jets: Growing Quarterback Market Is a Good Sign for Gang Green

Andrew KaufmanSenior Analyst IFebruary 2, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 29:  Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during an NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The New York Jets have several needs to address this offseason, but none is as prominent as the hole they currently have at the quarterback position. Mark Sanchez has shown an inability to handle the job, and Gang Green needs to proactively seek other options at quarterback.

I have encouraged patience throughout the process, as proactively seeking solutions is not the same as throwing money at a "name" player like Michael Vick or drafting someone like Geno Smith in the first round when better players remain on the board.

That said, recent developments in the markets for Alex Smith and Matt Flynn mean that the Jets may be able to land a serviceable quarterback without mortgaging the team's future.

The most intriguing news to come out of Super Bowl week for Jet fans is likely Mike Florio's report that Alex Smith is expected to ask San Francisco for his release after the season.

If he does in fact hit the market, Smith is a great option for the Jets. He put together a fantastic under-the-radar 2012 season before losing his job to Colin Kaepernick, and his high-completion, low-turnover style would be a strong fit in the West Coast offense.

The challenge for the Jets will be outbidding teams for Smith coming off such a strong season. Gang Green's salary-cap situation has been well-documented, and while they will be able to afford Smith, he may command a decent chunk of their cap space.

But the market for Smith wasn't particularly large last season, and the Jets may be one of the few quarterback-needy teams who choose to focus on a veteran solution. If New York can back-load his contract a bit, they should certainly make a play for Smith.

Another name who will at the very least add some depth to the quarterback market is Seattle's Matt Flynn. ESPN's John Clayton recently remarked that Flynn could probably be acquired for a third- or fourth-round draft choice.

There is obviously a John Idzik connection here, and Flynn is only owned $11.5 million over the next two years. He is unproven but certainly seems like an option worth exploring, especially if the Jets can offer something like a fourth- or fifth-round pick and Tim Tebow, who could be the ideal backup to Russell Wilson in the Seahawks' read-option offense.

Regardless, the Jets benefit from Flynn's presence in the market if it takes one more team out of the running for Smith and whatever additional options emerge. The current market for quarterbacks is not as bleak as it was once considered to be.