Jets add former Packer Graham Harrell at injury-plagued QB position
Even though the New York Jets’ quarterback situation remains uncertain for the Week 1 starter, I really wouldn’t read too much into this move. This is more of a depth signing by the Jets with only two of their four quarterbacks on the roster currently healthy.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who’s the presumptive Week 1 starter, is dealing with a shoulder injury and remains uncertain for when the Jets host the Philadelphian Eagles this week. Sanchez originally suffered the injury to his throwing shoulder during last Saturday’s win over the New York Giants. His availability for the season opener against the Tamp Bay Buccaneers is also in question.
Greg McElroy, who was the Jets’ No. 3 quarterback last season, suffered ankle and knee injuries in practice, which have kept him out of the last two preseason games. Jets coach Rex Ryan remained noncommittal about McElroy’s availability for Thursday’s preseason game.
While Geno Smith is healthy, the Jets are keeping him out of the preseason finale as a precaution. Smith has been battling Sanchez for the starting spot all through camp but had an erratic performance against the Giants last week, which could have affected his chances of securing the job. Ryan remains tight-lipped about the Jets’ quarterback situations, and said the team could delay announcing isn’t projected starter for Week 1, leading up to the actual game on Sep. 8.
So until recently, Matt Simms remained the only other quarterback on the Jets’ roster who figures to get play against the Eagles on Thursday. While Simms is expected to start the preseason game, Harrell will likely spell him so that the Jets have backup option, especially in case of an injury. However, beyond that Harrell is expected to face an uphill battle to earn a spot on the Jets’ final roster.
A former Texas Tech standout, Harrell signed with the Packers in 2010 and made several trips between the practice squad and active roster during his tenure in Green Bay. Harrell finally played in four games, spelling quarterback Aaron Rogers, as he completed 2-of-4 passes for 20 yards last season.
The 28-year-old Harrell was released by the Packers last week, after he was beat out by the team’s new acquisition Vince Young, for the primary backup spot behind Rogers in Green Bay.
In a corresponding move, the Packers released rookie center Dalton Freeman on Wednesday, to make roster room for Harrell.