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Palladino: Jets' Best Choice For QB, Garoppolo, Will Never Get Here

By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

Regardless if the Jets use their No. 6 pick in the draft on a quarterback, they will still need to find a veteran somewhere to bridge the developmental gap.

Everybody knows that Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg won't provide any answers for 2017. And general manager Mike Maccagnan would either have rocks in his head or a cruel sense of humor -- or both -- to saddle Todd Bowles and new offensive coordinator John Morton with a re-upped failure in unrestricted free agent Geno Smith.

But who is out there? Nothing that particularly gets one's jets revved, that's for sure. The most desirable guy, unfortunately, has two Super Bowl rings, and his name isn't Tom Brady. He is named Jimmy Garoppolo, however, and he won both of his starts while Brady served out his four-game "Deflategate" suspension at the start of the season.

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Wouldn't the three-year veteran look good in Jets green? Young, successful. Born of second-round status and reared at the right hand of the all-time king of the NFL?

With the 39-year-old Brady proclaiming he's ready for another four, five, maybe six years of the pro grind, the Pats might just be in a listening mood for a trade package involving a first- and a fourth-rounder for the league's best backup, the same compensation Minnesota gave Philadelphia for Sam Bradford in 2016.

Nice dream.

Chances are, Maccagnan will never make that call. Why bother? The Patriots didn't win five Super Bowls by trading off quality to division foes. And with the history between the two franchises -- Leon Hess wrangling Bill Parcells from the Pats and Bill Belichick's awkward resignation from the Jets to head north to a future spot in Canton -- the last thing Maccagnan would hear before hanging up would be the laughter of Bob Kraft.

Besides, Maccagnan would have to battle the Browns at No. 1 and the No. 2-drafting 49ers for Garoppolo. While getting sent to hapless Cleveland would amount more to punishment than reward, the Pats would probably jump at a chance of adding the top pick to their 32nd.

Either way, Garoppolo-to-the-Jets isn't happening under any circumstances.

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So who else is out there?

The biggest free agent quarterback not named Kirk Cousins hasn't come free yet. The Bears have tired of Jay Cutler and could cut him, making him fair game for the Jets. But, as he showed in eight years in Chicago, he's erratic and prone to injury. He is coming off a season curtailed after five games in which he threw four touchdown passes against five interceptions.

The current free agent list looks unappetizing at best. Mike Glennon was 5-13 in two years with the Buccaneers before Jameis Winston came along in 2015, and has taken just 15 offensive snaps in the two years since.

Tony Romo? Dallas might just keep him as insurance against injury to this year's rookie phenom Dak Prescott.

Brian Hoyer? Signing with the Jets would place him in a tie with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the MWTJ (Most Well-Traveled Journeyman) Award. If it's just for one season, maybe. Any longer and, well, try to remember Fitzpatrick's second season in New York.

Mark Sanchez? Again? Just what the Jets need, a blast from the inglorious past.

T.J. Yates couldn't beat out Matt Moore as Ryan Tannehill's backup in Miami.

The Niners could show Colin Kaepernick the door, especially if they sign Cutler. But with Jets owner Woody Johnson heading off to merry olde England as Donald Trump's henchman, er, ambassador, imagine the controversy of signing the man who started and spread a season-long protest against the national anthem.

The optimum option, trading for Garoppolo, won't happen.

The rest of the field won't excite even the greenest of Gang Green's followers.

Better pray that either Petty or Hackenberg make a quantum leap this offseason. When it comes down to it, the Jets' best move at quarterback outside of a high-round rookie may be no move at all.

Follow Ernie on Twitter at @ErniePalladino

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