Two days after Coach Todd Bowles declared the team would stick with struggling starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, that isn’t the case after all. The 1-5 Jets are turning to Smith, a second-round draft pick from 2013 who hasn’t started since 2014, this week against the Baltimore Ravens.
As a rookie starter for the Jets in 2013, Smith went 8-8 while throwing for 12 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. After going 3-10 with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions the following year, Smith lost his starting job when he broke his jaw in a locker-room altercation during training camp in 2015.
Veteran quarterback Fitzpatrick took over and had a career year, passing for 3,905 yards with 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Meanwhile, the Jets went 10-6 and just missed out on a playoff spot.
Fitzpatrick became a free agent after the season and the two sides engaged in contract dispute that wasn’t resolved until just before training camp started. After turning down a three-year, $24-million offer earlier in the summer, Fitzpatrick ended up signing a one-year deal for $12 million.
But the magic didn’t return this season. In six games, Fitzpatrick has thrown for five touchdowns and 11 interceptions, six of which came on Sept. 25 in a 24-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. On Monday night this week, an ineffective Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of Smith during the fourth quarter of a 28-3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
11:25 a.m.: This article has been updated with owner Woody Johnson confirming the move.
This article was originally published at 9:05 a.m.