Jets will audition QBs Martin, Graham

Updated: August 26, 2003, 2:06 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Eschewing more experienced free-agent quarterbacks for the time being, the New York Jets on Monday signed Todd Husak, a journeyman who will be in his third stint with the team, and who will help augment the loss of starter Chad Pennington.

Husak, 25, has played in just one regular-season game, none since the 2000 season. The former Stanford star, who entered the league as the Washington Redskins' sixth-round choice in the 2000 draft, was on the New York practice squad for part of 2001 and was briefly on the active roster in 2002.

But the addition of Husak hardly means the Jets are done refurbishing a position that was hit hard by injuries over the weekend.

League and team sources told ESPN.com that New York officials will audition at least two longtime veteran free agents, Kent Graham and Jaime Martin, on Tuesday and are contacting other quarterbacks as well. The St. Louis Rams have also called Martin about the possibility of working out for them.

"Believe me, getting (Husak) doesn't settle much," said one Jets official. "We're going to look at other people, too."

New York officials phoned the agent for retired quarterback Elvis Grbac, ESPN.com confirmed, but the veteran was not interested in returning to the game. ESPN.com also learned the Jets contacted the agent for former Philadelphia and Oakland quarterback Bobby Hoying, who declined the invitation to work out.

Hoying had "Tommy John" surgery on his elbow more than a year ago and probably won't be ready to resume his career until the 2004 season.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen also reported the Jets called the Eagles this weekend to inquire about the availability of Eagles QB A.J. Feeley. The Eagles told the Jets that they were not interested in parting with their backup.

There was some thought the Jets might make a waiver claim on fourth-year veteran Clint Stoerner, who was released last week by Dallas, and the team did contact some Cowboys officials seeking an opinion on him.

What is clear is that New York prefers to add a more veteran quarterback than Husak, if possible, and preferably one familiar with the West Coast offense. The problem for the Jets is that there is a dearth of experienced candidates.

Pennington was injured Saturday in a preseason game against the New York Giants and is expected to miss 12 weeks following surgery on his wrist. Sources have told ESPN.com that the injury could sideline Pennington for the entire season. Backup Vinny Testaverde becomes the starter and, for now, rookie Brooks Bollinger is No. 2 on the depth chart.

Jets coaches acknowledged Monday, though, that they would not feel comfortable going into the season with Bollinger, a sixth-round draft choice, as the primary backup. The former Wisconsin star has a sprained knee, will sit out Thursday's preseason finale versus Philadelphia, but is expected back for the regular-season opener.

In large part, Husak was chosen because of his familiarity with offensive coordinator Paul Hackett and his West Coast-style design. Husak is a bright player with good arm strength and it was somewhat surprising he wasn't in an NFL camp this summer.

Husak could see some action in the Thursday preseason game.

Meanwhile, the Jets also cut nine players Monday: LB Vince Alexander, RBs Sean Bennett, Chad Brinker and Ian Smart, DE Lance Gibson, OT Isaac Herring, WRs Tavon Mason and Michael Oliva and TE Dallas Neil.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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