FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Ryan Fitzpatrick is the Jets’ free-agent quarterback of choice. Not Nick Foles, according to general manager Mike Maccagnan.
During Day 3 of the NFL Draft, Maccagnan denied the rumor that the Jets are actively engaged in a trade for Foles with the Los Angeles Rams.
“We’re not, at this point in time, I would say, in discussions with any other teams for any other quarterbacks,” he said Saturday afternoon shortly after selecting North Carolina State cornerback Juston Burris 118th overall in the fourth round. “ . . . So at least I can put that to bed at this point in time.”
Earlier in the day, Huffington Post Sports reported that the Jets were in “preliminary talks” with the Rams about Foles but that both sides disagree on “appropriate compensation.”
Maccagnan, however, stressed that re-signing Fitzpatrick is the Jets’ priority — even with Friday’s second-round selection of Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
“Our focus from the pro standpoint is to get Ryan back in the fold. I’ve said that repeatedly,” Maccagnan said before trading the Jets’ 2017 fourth-round pick to the Redskins in order to move up and select South Carolina offensive lineman Brandon Shell at No. 158.
“Nothing has changed from that standpoint,” he added, referring to the Fitzpatrick saga.
The Jets currently have three project quarterbacks and no clear-cut Week 1 starter: Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Hackenberg.
Coach Todd Bowles said they’d like to have Fitzpatrick re-signed by training camp but added: “We’ve got three guys here . . . We’re not just waiting for him to come back. We have guys we’re getting ready to play. We can only control the guys that are in our building right now.”
The Jets’ brass spoke to the media only once Saturday — after the Burris pick but before they traded up to get Shell, whose great-uncle is Hall of Fame coach Art Shell.
The Jets — who also gave up this year’s fifth-round pick to acquire former Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady in early April — dealt their 2017 fourth-rounder to take Shell (6-5, 324). He played right tackle for three of his five years at South Carolina before switching to left tackle during his redshirt senior season last year. On a conference call, Shell said he’s more comfortable on the right side.
In a statement, Maccagnan noted that the Jets felt comfortable making the pick based on his potential and their projections of next year’s compensatory picks.
“He’s a big, long athletic offensive tackle who has the chance to potentially develop into a good backup, possibly a starter in time,” he said of Shell, adding that the Jets considered taking him in the fourth round. “He’s like a lot of players. He probably needs some work. We’re excited about where we took him and felt the investment for making the trade was well worthwhile.”
In Burris, the Jets found a versatile defensive back who has the versatility to play outside or inside, Bowles said.
“He’s big, he’s long. He’s got long arms,” he added. “He’s very good at the line of scrimmage as a press coverage. He’s got great eyes and ball skills.”
Burris can’t wait to join the Jets’ secondary and Darrelle Revis, whom he called “one of the best cornerbacks in the game.”
“I’m extremely, extremely excited,” Burris said on a conference call. “It was a blessing to be in the draft, to have this opportunity. For the Jets to come and get me, I feel very, very, very appreciative of that. I was very grateful for that.”
In the seventh round, the Jets addressed two more roster needs. They selected Sam Houston punter Lachlan Edwards with the 235th pick and took Clemson wide receiver Charone Peake at No. 241.