Bryce Petty has already been named the Jets starting quarterback for their game against the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday.
Pencil him in for the start in the Jets' finale on New Year's Eve in New England, too.
The Jets have no plans to play anyone but the 26-year-old Petty at quarterback for the rest of the season, multiple sources told SNY. That would change, obviously, if Petty got hurt or if his performance really became a problem at any point in the last two games.
So as of now, Christian Hackenberg is expected to complete his second season without taking a single regular-season snap.
Bowles made the first half of that equation official immediately after Petty led the Jets to a 31-19 loss in New Orleans on Sunday afternoon. Petty wasn't a disaster, but he was plagued by inaccuracy and completed just 19 of 39 passes for 179 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also wasted a huge effort by the Jets defense by converting their three turnovers into only three points.
Still, Bowles said Petty will make his sixth NFL start on Christmas Eve against the Chargers. With Josh McCown out for the season with a broken left hand, Hackenberg will back up Petty.
Though it seems like a waste to let Hackenberg, the Jets' second-round pick in 2016, go through another season without playing at all, it apparently is part of the Jets' big plan. They famously said they wanted Hackenberg to "red shirt" as a rookie, learning behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith. That wasn't the initial plan heading into this season, but when he couldn't beat out Petty for the backup job this summer, they revised their expectations, one source said.
They obviously never planned to play anyone but McCown while they still had even an outside shot at the playoffs. But with Sunday's loss, the Jets (5-9) were officially eliminated from playoff contention, which took away that excuse. Now, they simply don't believe he'd have much of a chance to succeed, the source said, if he's thrown into the mix against the Chargers and Patriots after taking limited reps as the No. 3 quarterback in practice all year.
Ideally for Hackenberg, his shot would come next season, but that is obviously up in the air. The Jets will have a ton of salary cap room in the offseason, plus a draft pick that figures to fall somewhere between 5 and 10. That means they'll have a chance to land a veteran quarterback in free agency, possibly one of the top quarterbacks in college football, or both.
The addition of any quarterback in the offseason would certainly impact Hackenberg's future with the Jets. And now, it looks like the Jets will make that decision without getting a chance to evaluate him in a game at all.