It didn’t seem likely, but the New York Jets have decided to keep all four quarterbacks on their 53-man roster.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini said head coach Todd Bowles likes all of the quarterbacks, and decided to give rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg a “redshirt year.”
“They all can play, obviously,” Bowles said. “They all can play and we’re trying to keep the best football players. Each of them showed enough in the preseason. We’ll give Hack a redshirt year and the other three can play.”
Using a valuable resource like an NFL roster spot for a redshirt may seem like a bad idea, but it speaks to how much the Jets want to take their time in gauging the young quarterback’s potential. No team has kept four quarterbacks on a roster since the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings carried four in 2013.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for New York with Geno Smith serving as his backup. Bryce Petty’s balky shoulder did not land him on injured reserve, he will be the No. 3 quarterback.
If anything, this decision may speak to the lack of a true starting quarterback on the Jets roster. Fitzpatrick had a career year in 2015, but the majority of his career makes that look like an outlier. Smith has done nothing yet to suggest he can be their quarterback of the future, and Petty is still a young question mark.
The Jets have a good football team. However, they might come to regret using a roster spot for a fourth quarterback that they could have used elsewhere later in the season.