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Sad news came out of Jets camp over the weekend and it wasn’t just that they put up a putrid performance on Sunday. No, the saddest news was that Josh McCown suffered a broken hand against the Denver Broncos, ending his season. The emotion of McCown in his press conference tells it all, you can see how much he cares but another reality is that this was probably this weekend was the last time he will don a Jets jersey.

As of right now, the only thing hurting more than McCown’s hand will be Jets fans’ eyes once they see Bryce Petty try to chop it up against the New Orleans Saints. In fact, between McCown, Petty and Christian Hackenberg, New York may have a completely new slate of quarterbacks in 2018 with none of them returning.

To say McCown over-performed would be an understatement. He took a team that was expected to win one game this year and made them a competitive opponent with a competent offense. While they only tallied five wins, their offense produced more than anyone believed with the crop of receivers they had and even created a rising deep-ball threat in Robby Anderson.

Those five wins are still considered a success by many football analysts covering the NFL.

However, we have seen this story before and it’s a cautionary tale. Which is why we will not and should not see McCown back with Gang Green next season unless it’s in a backup role.

That cautionary tale I speak of is of course the case of Ryan Fitzpatrick. You remember good ole Fitzy, right? The Harvard grad led the 2015 Jets to an 11-5 record and finished just shy of the playoffs. The success made Fitzpatrick believe he deserved a lot of money in the offseason and heated negotiations followed until both sides finally came to an agreement. What happened next? Fitzpatrick had a dud of a year, the Jets tanked and they began trading players left and right.

The Jets can’t afford to have another circumstance like this happen on their hands. The Jets are at a different point now as they know the road to the playoffs is a little longer than it was when they believed it was possible again with Fitz.

With the direction the Jets want to go, it wouldn’t make sense to bring back the seasoned McCown. If they want to go the veteran route, they need a more reliable and skilled quarterback such as Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning or Alex Smith. The Jets may decide that they want to draft a quarterback in which case there’s no reason why he wouldn’t start right away.

Much like their moment with Fitzpatrick, there’s a good chance McCown would regress if brought back next season. There’s a reason he has played for eight teams by now, he’s unsustainable as a starter. Look at Fitzpatrick, he had one great year in Buffalo and one in New York despite playing for years. McCown had 15 seconds of fame in Chicago before this revival on the Jets. If they learned from Fitzpatrick, they’ll know that it’s more than likely he returns to his backup, below-average quarterbacking ways.

McCown has been a positive impact on the team this year and a great veteran to have in the locker room. The guys enjoy playing for him. Unfortunately that time is up though. If he wants to accept a backup role, great, but that’s all he should be. Is this the last time we see him as a Jet? Probably, along with their other two other quarterbacks if they’re not going to use them, and it’s the correct choice.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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