Jets' scouting whirlwind: Four quarterbacks, three cities and 6,135 miles

A Jets contingent led by general manager Mike Maccagnan was on hand for Sam Darnold's pro day in Los Angeles, part of a 6,000-mile QB-scouting odyssey. Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire

A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:

1. The Great QB Search: The team's hierarchy participated in its own form of March Madness, traveling the country in search of a potential franchise quarterback. The traveling party was general manager Mike Maccagnan, coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger.

On Wednesday, they hit Sam Darnold's pro day at USC. On Thursday, they stayed in Los Angeles for a private workout with UCLA's Josh Rosen. On Friday, it was Josh Allen's pro day at Wyoming. On Saturday, it was a private workout with Baker Mayfield in Oklahoma. All told, they traveled 6,135 air miles on commercial airlines (no private jets for this intrepid crew), gathering intel as they prepare to make a franchise-altering decision with the third overall pick in the NFL draft.

Everybody with a TV and a smartphone saw Darnold and Allen crush their pro days. Darnold threw with pinpoint accuracy in the rain and Allen launched missiles in the friendly confines of the Wyoming field house. Like everyone else, the Jets were impressed by Allen's freakish arm strength.

Allen, Darnold and Rosen have the kind of arm talent that makes scouts swoon, but don't dismiss Mayfield from the conversation. There's Mayfield/Jets buzz in the scouting community, enough to make me believe he's still in play with the third pick. This surprises me. As an undersized quarterback from a spread system, he doesn't seem to fit the Maccagnan profile of a classic pocket passer. But Mayfield is a winner with rare accuracy, and he has impressed the Jets' brass in their meetings.

All four players will visit the Jets' facility before the draft.

2. Good Suh, bad Suh: If the Jets sign Ndamukong Suh, it might be tough for them to lower last season's bloated penalty total. Suh is a penalty machine. Since he entered the league in 2010, no defensive player has been called for more penalties than him -- a total of 74, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He was flagged 13 times last season. He also has incurred more than $620,000 in league fines, per Spotrac.

Penalties notwithstanding, the Jets -- hurting on the defensive line -- really believe Suh can help them. At 31, he still can be a disruptive, three-down player. In addition to 4.5 sacks last season, he recorded 30 quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus.

Love him or hate him, he'd be the most compelling free-agent signing of the Bowles/Maccagnan era.

3. Dawg Pound East: The Jets' front office appears to have an affinity for former Cleveland Browns. The leading rusher (Isaiah Crowell) and leading receiver (Terrelle Pryor) from the 2016 Browns, who finished 1-15, are now members of the Jets. And let's not forget about quarterback Josh McCown, who started three games for the Browns that season. Who's next, Robert Griffin III?

But, seriously: I wouldn't read too much into the Cleveland thing. Crowell is a solid back and Pryor can be a 1,000-yard receiver, if healthy.

4. Pitchers and catchers: The current 90-man roster includes five quarterbacks and 15 wide receivers. Yes, 15! And here's the crazy part about it: Of those 20 players, not one veteran has a contract beyond 2018 (not counting 2016/2017 draft picks and unproven receivers JoJo Natson and Jalin Marshall). Do you think there might be some turnover or what?

5. Medical questions: There's an old saying about free agency: When you buy a player, you buy his past, too. That means his injury history. In the Jets' case, they signed three players coming off surgery: Pryor (ankle), center Spencer Long (quadriceps tendon) and linebacker Brandon Copeland (pectoral muscle). You could add quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (knee) to the list, although his surgery was in 2016.

Long's situation bears watching because he's expected to be the starting center. In a conference call with reporters, he said he's not sure if he'll be ready for springs practices, which start in May. He vowed to be ready for training camp.

"It wasn't a complete rupture, but it was a little bit of a tear," Long, 27, said of his quad injury. "I had to get it repaired, but so far, so good. I'm ahead of schedule, and I have no doubt that I'll be ready to roll when the coaches need me. We're just going to keep sticking to the rehab program ... and making sure that I'm ready to go, come camp."

Long never played more than 79 percent of the offensive snaps during his four seasons with the Washington Redskins, so there's some risk. The Jets protected themselves by the way they structured his four-year, $27.5 million contract. He received a $7 million guarantee, but none of that was signing bonus. The Jets can escape after one year with no cap implications. They'll have to make a decision next February, when a $3.5 million roster bonus becomes guaranteed. In essence, it's a one-year, $7 million deal. If Long plays really well, they can choose to extend it.

6. Cap-space check: The Jets began free agency with a league-high $90 million in cap space. And now? The situation is fluid because of the rash of signings, but they have $30.9 million remaining, according to NFLPA records. That doesn't include the Pryor contract and a couple of other smaller deals.

7. No offer, no problem: One of the biggest surprises in free agency was the Jets' decision to let Demario Davis go without a fight. He enjoyed a career year in 2017, and he's still only 29, but he didn't get an offer from the Jets. When the New Orleans Saints offered three years, $24 million, it was a no-brainer.

"During the year, I figured they'd offer me a contract, but they didn't," Davis told me last Tuesday in Albany, New York, where he represented the Players Coalition in its social-justice campaign. "In free agency, I thought they'd offer me a contract, but they didn't. It made the decision easier for me to make because I was able to look at the teams who were contenders. I didn't have to make the decision whether to stay or to go."

Davis insisted there's "definitely no hard feelings" toward the Jets. He said he hasn't been this excited since his rookie year of 2012. "I'm playing closer to home [Mississippi], I'm playing for a team that won 11 games and retained their nucleus and has one of the top quarterbacks in the league," he said.

The Jets replaced him with Avery Williamson (three years, $22.5 million), who is three years younger than Davis.

8. Honest Ave: Williamson on why he decided to sign with the Jets: “They had the better deal. At the end of the day, it’s definitely about playing a sport that you love, but you’ve got to make sure that you can benefit financially from it." You have to admire his candor.