By Nathan Keil | Sports Writer
Former Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty just completed his second season in the NFL. After watching his rookie season from the sidelines, Petty got his feet wet with six appearances, including four starts in 2016.
Petty opened the season as the third-string quarterback for the New York Jets. After a lack of production on the field and in the win column by quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith, Petty stepped into the limelight as he was named the starter for the remainder of the 2016 season.
Petty got the opportunity to start in week 11 against the Los Angeles Rams. He threw for 163 yards with one touchdown and one interception. However, it wasn’t until the Jets’ trip to San Francisco that Petty became the everyday starter.
Petty got off to a slow start but helped rally the Jets past the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. He completed 23 of 35 passes for 257 yards in his first appearance since being replaced by Fitzpatrick following the loss to the Rams.
Petty credits his teammates for sticking with him and overcoming early adversity against San Francisco.
“I felt pretty good all week. Had good practices all week and then for whatever reason, just had to settle down,” said Petty at his post-game press conference. “Hats off to the team for just sticking with me, and we just kept fighting and plugging away. The end result is a win, and that is all we care about.”
Despite starting the following two weeks, Petty saw limited success, experiencing more injuries than touchdown passes. First, against the Miami Dolphins, he was hit on both sides by seventh-year defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and eighth-year defensive end Cameron Wake early in the fourth quarter.
He left the game and received x-rays, which came back negative, leaving Petty sore but not done yet.
“I’m good,” Petty said in his post-game press conference. “I’m a little sore right now,” Petty said in his post-game press conference. “But I’ll be fine.”
The following week, he sustained a shoulder injury in the first quarter of a lopsided 41-3 loss to the New England Patriots. This injury would end Petty’s season prematurely. He finished the season completing 75 of 133 passes for 809 yards with three touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Entering the 2017 season, the quarterback job will be wide open. The Jets signed Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal last summer and have been unhappy with his production on the field most of the year. Smith just finished the final year of his four-year contract, so he could the test free agency waters along with Fitzpatrick this summer.
According to Spotrac, Petty is signed through the 2018 season. The only other quarterback under contract other than Petty is rookie Christian Hackenberg.
Tyler Calvaruso of Jetswire believes that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, if Dallas was willing to part ways with him, would be a good fit in New York.
“Romo would bring some leadership to what has been an interesting Jets locker room dynamic in 2016,” Calvaruso writes. “The Jets need a quarterback like Romo who will put his own ego aside for the sake of the team and provide some much-needed veteran leadership.”
Other sources, including the New York Daily News, have reported that the Jets may be interested in drafting Mitch Trubisky, the junior quarterback out of the University of North Carolina.
Regardless of what the Jets do during the draft and through free agency, Petty will be right in the thick of the quarterback race.