However, Vacchiano adds that it will ultimately come down to his recovery from ACL surgery, his desire to be back in New York and whether the Jets are able to sign anyone else.
Vacchiano mentions that the Jets will pursue QB Mike Glennon in free agency and could have Tyrod Taylor as a secondary option, depending on what the Bills elect to do with him in the coming days, so it sounds like Smith’s return is a contingency option at best.
The Jets are expected to give Bryce Petty a shot at competing for the starting job next year. The Jets used a second-round pick on Christian Hackenberg, but it’s hard to say what they have in him after New York refused to play him all of last year.
Smith recently told Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that he’s open to being a backup next year and proving that he’s worthy of another starting opportunity.
“Of course, I’m open to (being a backup),” Smith said. “That’s not my goal, I don’t see myself as that. I was brought into this league, I was brought to the Jets to be a certain caliber of player.
“Being injured for two years has kind of taken that away from me. My mistakes were shown on the field the first two years, and then me getting better has kind of been behind the scenes. The next time I step onto the field, it’ll be what they expect. People want to see you get better, they want to see you move past your mistakes. I’ve done that, just behind the scenes.”
Smith, 26, is a former second-round pick of the Jets back in 2013. He played out the final year of his four-year, $5.019 million contract and is now in position to test the open market as an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
In 2016, Smith appeared in two games and completed 8-of-14 passes (57.1 percent) for 126 yards, one touchdown and an interception.