Myers: Jets need to do what it takes to draft Marcus Mariota

By on March 15, 2015

Drafting Marcus Mariota would be a risk for the Jets, but the potential rewards are great.Daily News Photo Illustration

Drafting Marcus Mariota would be a risk for the Jets, but the potential rewards are great.

The Jets are red-hot. Now they must go get Marcus Mariota.

In a perfect Jets world they would be rewarded for their awful 2014 with the first pick in the draft and there would be a can’t miss quarterback prospect like Andrew Luck waiting to take them to their first Super Bowl in nearly 50 years.

Instead their 4-12 record was bad enough to get Rex Ryan and John Idzik fired and only good enough to get them the sixth pick in the draft. There is no can’t-miss franchise quarterback. Mariota did everything you can ask of a quarterback in college, except of course take a snap under center or actually be in a huddle. Those things are kind of important in the NFL. He ran the no-huddle offense at Oregon from the shotgun.

He’s a big risk, but the potential reward is great.

Mariota played in a whacky offense at Oregon, but with the Bucs locked in on Jameis Winston with the first overall pick, Maccagnan has three choices:

Take him at No. 6: If he’s available here, the Jets have to take him. It’s hard to project how QBs who play conventional offenses will do in the NFL, so Mariota’s case is even more complicated. The Jets were at his pro day at Oregon last week and apparently he didn’t perform as well as he did at the combine. If the Jets are really interested, they will request a private workout. The bust factor for QBs is so high and the Jets invested a first-round pick on Mark Sanchez in 2009 (sending their first- and second-round picks to Cleveland to move up to No. 5) and a second-round pick on Smith in 2013. But unless Maccagnan can find Russell Wilson in the third round, he should take Mariota.

Trade up for Mariota: The Titans could take him at No. 2 or bluff that they will. Maccagnan could tempt them with a trade or just sit tight. The Jaguars, Raiders and Washington follow, but none are in the market for a QB and could potentially trade down to a team that would want to move up for Mariota. The one thing Maccagnan should not do is trade down with Mariota still on the board.

Take a pass and a deep breath: Can Maccagnan and Todd Bowles expect the Jets to suffer through a season or Smith and Fitzpatrick with no hope at QB and be content watching teams throw away from Revis?

Mariota would provide hope. Chan Gailey is an excellent offensive coordinator and he made a player out of Kordell “Slash” Stewart in Pittsburgh and got to within one game of the Super Bowl with him in 1997. Mariota is a much better player than Stewart. Fitzpatrick, who played for Gailey in Buffalo, can help teach Mariota the offense and help him make the transition to a pro-style attack. Mariota is smart, has a good arm and is fast. He’s an electric player.

This NFL is a quarterback league. The Jets need one.

OPENING FIGHT?

The vastly improved Jets are going to be in the conversation to play the Patriots in the Thursday night season opener on Sept. 10 in Foxborough. ..Robert Kraft loves his players, but the Patriots Way is to run the team like a business and that leads to cold-hearted financial decisions. It doesn’t often end pretty for Patriots stars (Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour, Logan Mankins, Wes Welker etc). Well, last week, the Patriots got a taste of the Revis Way. It’s all about business, and this time the Pats were on the receiving end. No matter what, Revis gets paid. His love of New York is genuine. He loves the bright lights. His love of the Jets, I believe, is directly related to getting $ 48 million over the next three years from Woody Johnson, with $ 39 million guaranteed. Revis turned into a one-year rental in New England. It worked out well for both. Revis gets his Super Bowl ring and was a key to the Patriots ending their 10-year drought winning the Super Bowl. But unless the Jets get a quarterback, Revis’ first Super Bowl will be his one and only… The Patriots could have prevented Revis from even making it to the open market if they broke their word to him and exercised the $ 12 million option last Tuesday by 4 p.m. He would have made $ 20 million this year with a $ 25 million cap number. The second year of the two-year $ 32 million deal he signed last year was just a placesetter, which allowed the Pats to split Revis’ $ 10 million signing bonus over two years for cap purposes. Although the option was in the contract, sources say Bill Belichick promised Revis it would not be exercised. Of course, Revis would have made $ 20 million this year instead of the $ 16 million he’s getting from the Jets, but no security past the 2015 season…I would think now that the Jets have signed Revis that the Patriots pending tampering case against the Jets and Johnson is strengthened. The Jets could wind up losing a draft spot or having to flip spots in a middle round with New England. Remember what Johnson said on Dec. 29 when he was asked about Revis, “I’d love Darrelle to come back.” He apologized to Kraft, but apologies are not as valuable as draft picks… Rex Ryan has got to be wondering why Johnson couldn’t get Revis and Antonio Cromartie back for him. Or give him a real GM instead of John Idzik….Now that the Steelers have signed Big Ben to a five-year $ 99 million deal when he was going into the final year of his contract, will the Giants get around to locking up Eli Manning, who is going into his final year, or wait and see how he plays this season?

SMITH UNDER FIRE

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith ran unopposed for re-election three years ago. On Sunday in Hawaii, he faces eight challengers when the 32 player reps vote. There is no winner until someone gets 17 votes. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated after each round. The CBA signed in 2011 runs 10 years and this many candidates indicates discontent with Smith…The NFLPA reported that in the first 48 hours of free agency last week 66 contracts were filed to the union totaling $ 1.085 billion with $ 477.46 million guaranteed.

Jerry Jones has built a powerful offensive line. He has Pro Bowl players with left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and guard Zack Martin and clearly believes his running backs are interchangeable, even when DeMarco Murray led the league in rushing for 1,845, winning by almost 500 yards, and set an NFL record by opening the season with eight straight 100-yard games. Murray’s production was the reason Tony Romo had his best season. The Cowboys didn’t need Romo to throw 35 times a game and that cut down on his game-killing mistakes. But Jones put a value on Murray and the Eagles far exceeded it with a five-year $ 42 million deal that includes $ 18 million fully guaranteed. The Cowboys offered a six-year $ 24 million deal with $ 12 million fully guaranteed. Dallas signed former Raiders RB Darren McFadden, who never lived up to expectations in seven years in Oakland. Now let’s see if Jones can figure out a way to move up from the No. 27 spot in the first round to get Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon… Eagles coach Chip Kelly surely has a plan and I think I figured it out. He’s only trading for players with torn ACLs. He’s building his defense around Kiko Alonso, who didn’t play at all for the Bills in 2014 after tearing his torn ACL in the offseason. Then he traded Nick Foles, who is making $ 1.52 million for Sam Bradford, who is making $ 12.985 million. Bradford tore his left ACL in 2013 and did it again last year. He hasn’t played in a regular-season game since Oct. 20, 2013. He threw 21 passes in the preseason last year before tearing his ACL again in a game in Cleveland…The Eagles believe Murray’s one cut style is better suited to Kelly’s system than McCoy dancing around before he hits the hole.

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Myers: Jets need to do what it takes to draft Marcus Mariota

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