"We had a lot of interest in Kevin when he was coming out in the draft last year," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. "He's smart and athletic, and we feel good about adding him to our team. We will move forward with four quarterbacks on our roster."
Coach Rex Ryan said Clemens' right elbow "has been a little banged up" after the Jets' preseason victory over Philadelphia last Thursday night. It was uncertain if the injury was also a factor in the team's decision to acquire O'Connell, although it had also put in a waiver claim for him last week.
O'Connell, a third-round draft pick out of San Diego State last year, completed four of his six passes for 23 yards last season. He was expected to be Tom Brady's backup until he was cut last Monday.
The Lions claimed O'Connell off waivers the next day, but he didn't throw a pass in two series in Detroit's preseason finale at Buffalo last Thursday night.