A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. Time to make a move: The Jets say there's no rush to sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick -- they're willing to wait until training camp -- but their patience could backfire. They'd be limiting their options by letting this contract impasse drag out until late July.
While there is some upside to Fitzpatrick's absence -- more off-season reps for Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg -- it doesn't justify a potentially messy end-game. If there's no Fitzpatrick deal by late July and they decide to move on, the Jets will have wasted valuable time that could've been used to break in another veteran quarterback.
On May 24, they start four weeks of offseason practices. If they complete that period with only Smith and the two kids at quarterback, the Jets are basically handing the opening-day job to Smith. You can't expect a quarterback to parachute into New Jersey in July, master the offense and win the starting job by Week 1. Coach Todd Bowles apparently is willing to hitch his wagon to Smith despite his 11-18 career record and 72.3 passer rating. That's risky.
You could argue that, at this stage of the offseason, Smith is a better starting option than anybody around the league -- i.e. Nick Foles and Josh McCown, both of whom could be cut or traded. OK, but what about securing Geno insurance? Petty isn't ready to be the No. 2, and neither is Hackenberg. If the Jets wait until late July or early August to trade for a quarterback, they won't be in a good negotiating position and will wind up overpaying.
The Jets have a plan and they're sticking to it. They claim there's no sense of urgency, but I'm not buying that. I think there's more than they're willing to admit.
2. Sizing up the rookie: Hackenberg has been working out at the Jets facility, getting acclimated with the playbook and his new teammates. Wide receiver Eric Decker, who admitted he was surprised New York drafted a quarterback in the second round, said of the Penn State product: "I got to watch him for a few days. He's bigger than I expected. Seems like he has a good head on his shoulders. He's been quiet, a good worker. ... I hope it pans out." Hackenberg will have a lot of eyes on him, including those in his own locker room, over the next several months.
3. Saluting one flag: One of the most interesting draft-related statistics I've come across -- and believe me, there are tons of stats out there -- concerns linebacker Jordan Jenkins, the Jets' third-round pick. Over his final two seasons at Georgia, a total of 1,343 defensive snaps, Jenkins committed only one penalty, according to Pro Football Focus. That, to me, is impressive.
4. Broadway Joe's life saver: Joe Namath was peppered with questions from reporters as he made his way across the red carpet at a charity appearance last week in Manhattan: What is your opinion of the current quarterback situation? Can you guarantee a playoff spot? (I wonder how many times a day Namath is asked to guarantee something.) Near the end of the carpet, Namath was asked about his former left tackle, Winston Hill, who died recently. A sad smile crossed the legendary quarterback's face.
"Thanks for bringing him up," Namath said.
Namath talked about the funeral service in Denver, how it was "just wonderful" to see friends, family and former teammates celebrate Hill's life. Then, unsolicited, Namath said his former blind-side protector deserves to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
"We've got to get him in the Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame," he said. "His career was such a long, successful career, making Pro Bowl teams and all. Personally, he saved my life many, many times."
Hill has strong credentials: A Super Bowl champion, a four-time AFL All-Star, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and an ironman streak of 174 consecutive starts. For some reason -- I have no idea why -- he hasn't garnered serious consideration for the Hall of Fame. Hopefully, that can change.
5. Bruce, the Jet killer: The Buffalo Bills announced their plans to retire Bruce Smith's No. 78 at halftime of their Week 2 game against the Jets -- a Thursday night affair. From a Bills' perspective, it's fitting to celebrate Smith's career on a night they face the Jets. He tormented them like few players have, recording more sacks against the Jets than any other team. He notched a sack in 21 of 23 meetings, ringing up a total of 31. During one dominant stretch from 1988 to 1990, he made at least two sacks in five consecutive games. Wow. It wasn't such a "wow" feeling for quarterback Ken O'Brien, the victim on most of them. Smith, a Hall of Famer, is the NFL's all-time leader with 200 sacks.
6. Chucky waxes nostalgic about the Jets: In an excellent profile of Jon Gruden for Bleacher Report, written by Dan Pompei, the ESPN Monday Night Football analyst shares fond memories of visits to One Jets Drive. In the early days of the Rex Ryan regime, Gruden was invited to the facility for chalk-talk sessions with the coaching staff. He apparently had a good time.
"I used to hang out with the Jets, with Rex Ryan and Bill Callahan and Mike Pettine and Bob Sutton and Mike Westhoff," Gruden told BR. "I thought that was the best coaching staff I'd ever seen. I'd sit there for three or four days until Cindy said it's time to come home. I'd say, 'One more day, just one more day.'"
He's right, that was a terrific staff.
7. Hired gun: If the Jets aren't satisfied with their young edge rushers at the end of the preseason, they should consider a call to Dwight Freeney, 36, who said last week on SportsCenter that he wants to play another season. He proved last season that he still has a knack for sacking the quarterback, as he racked up eight sacks in 11 games for the Arizona Cardinals. He'd supply instant pass rush. Just saying.
8. Golf for a good cause: Willie Colon is hosting his second annual charity golf outing to benefit Lupus research. The outing is May 23 at the Hudson National Golf Club in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. The cause is close to Colon's heart, as his mother, Jean Davis, was diagnosed with the disease in 1989. He has been holding fundraisers since his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, 2006.