Both will soon pick up the fifth-year options on the quarterbacks who were the top two picks in the 2015 NFL draft.
Neither has exactly gotten the return it hoped for.
Marcus Mariota and the Titans not only made the postseason but won a playoff game last year, and his completion percentage increased slightly compared to his sophomore season. But after throwing 26 touchdowns against just nine interceptions in 2016, Mariota threw only 13 scoring passes and 15 picks last season.
The problem with this move is that there just aren’t many opportunities for kick returners to make their mark under the modern league rules, especially on a team that produces as many long offensive drives as New England. The Pats have returned only 57 kickoffs over the past two years, less than two per contest. Patterson is one of the league’s best kick returners, but at a salary of $3 million, will he really have enough opportunities as a return man to justify his salary
That $3 million salary isn’t guaranteed, so it’s entirely possible that the Pats bring Patterson to camp and decide he’s not worth the investment. They didn’t give up very much, reportedly swapping the fifth-round pick they acquired from the Browns (through the Chiefs) for one of Oakland’s five sixth-round selections, which will at least give the Oakland staff a reasonable shot at a bathroom break during the sixth round. Oakland probably was thinking about cutting Patterson, so while it spent $5.6 million on the 27-year-old in 2017 and didn’t get much, this was better than nothing.
That isn’t to say the Jets should pick a guy and stick with him all season long no matter what. McCown is pushing 40 and has a lengthy injury history. Bridgewater is coming off a catastrophic knee injury that cost him almost all of the last two seasons. And if (when) the Jets fall out of playoff contention, it makes sense to get that No. 3 overall pick some reps.
But if a Jets regime that enters the 2018 campaign firmly on the hot seat grows panicky and starts switching quarterbacks every week or two, it isn’t going to turn the team around. What it might do is wreck the confidence of Bridgewater or its rookie signal-caller.
Once seen as an upper-echelon left tackle, Veldheer has fallen down the offensive line spectrum. He wasn’t even a passable right tackle in 2017 before going down with a serious ankle injury.