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Fitzgerald’s injury gives Smith leg up in Jets’ QB battle

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Geno Smith will have competition for the New York Jets’ starting quarterback job, but the third-year player is likely to get a head start with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick expected to miss spring workouts while he continues to recover from the broken leg he suffered in December.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said during a conference call Thursday that Smith and third-string quarterback Matt Simms are expected to get a bulk of the snaps during minicamp and Organized Team Activities (OTAs) during the spring.

Maccagnan is in his first season with the Jets after serving as the Houston Texans’ college scouting director, and he acquired Fitzpatrick in a trade with the Texans earlier this month.

“We’re projecting (Fitzpatrick) to be back ready to go for training camp,” Maccagnan said, per NJ.com. “He’ll be involved in some of the offseason stuff, OTAs. But again, (we are) taking it into consideration, too, the rehabilitation for his injuries. He may be limited to a certain degree in the OTAs, so I think Geno and Matt will definitely get more reps, probably. Ryan will be involved also through the offseason program, but again, somewhat limited because of the rehabilitation from the injury.”

Maccagnan declined to term the quarterback job as an “open” competition, and said he will defer to head coach Todd Bowles to determine the depth chart.

The highly inconsistent Smith and 32-year-old Fitzpatrick could be joined in the competition by a rookie, especially if Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is available when the Jets select with the sixth pick in the first round of next month’s NFL Draft. But Maccagnan is also comfortable entering training camp with Smith and Fitzpatrick as the Jets’ top two quarterbacks.

“As it stands right now?” Maccagnan said. “Absolutely.”

–The Jets agreed to terms with offensive lineman James Brewer on a one-year deal, according to Newsday. Brewer, 27, has experience at guard and tackle for the New York Giants since being drafted in 2011. He started eight games in 2013, but played in just two games last season.

–Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore was scheduled to visit the Jets on Thursday.


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