Matt Simms had an NFL job as one of four quarterbacks for the New York Jets. Set to enter his third NFL season however, Simms didn't like how his opportunity was playing out under new head coach Todd Bowles. Despite performing well in OTA practices, Simms saw his snaps cut significantly. He sought concrete answers for his status in the organization and after getting them he asked the club for his release.
"I went in to coach Todd Bowles' office at 6:15 in the morning and we had a one-on-one talk and toward the end of the conversation that's where I asked if I could possibly be released," Simms said in an appearance on the John Murphy show. "We had a 10-15 minute discussion and talked the details of the situation. I appreciate the way that he handled it and talked to me like that and respecting how I felt about my situation there."
The Jets have not only incumbent starter Geno Smith, but veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and fourth-round pick Bryce Petty on their roster at quarterback. New York also signed undrafted rookie Jake Heaps.
Simms didn't want to have any preconceived notions so he went through OTA practices with the Jets last week.
"You never want to think that there's something that's set in stone right away," said Simms. "So I wanted to see how it played out. As it played out though I did clearly see that I wasn't in the plan for them to actually compete and actually get a chance to be the starting quarterback there.
"I could kind of see that (offensive coordinator) (Chan) Gailey was going to put me in a hindering position taking reps away from me. It was kind of upsetting, but I took it upon myself to make that decision and asked to be released at this point in the year so I could catch on someplace else so I could get a head start rather than being in trouble later in camp."
Simms knew he was forgoing a job in the NFL now in the hopes for a better chance of securing an NFL job in the fall somewhere else.
"It was a risky decision. Obviously when you have a job you don't want to just leave it because you don't know what's waiting for you," Simms told Buffalobills.com. "But happiness is the key and at that moment I just wasn't happy with the situation and how it was working out and could see the writing on the wall a little bit too. I was just going to take that shot and thankfully I'm a part of a great organization now with the Bills and around familiar faces with Rex (Ryan) and David Lee so it worked out for the best. I'm just looking forward to the future now."
Simms does have the advantage now of working under two former Jets coaches who believed that Simms had something to offer. He's appeared in four games in his career all under head coach Rex Ryan and Bills current quarterbacks coach David Lee, while in New York.
"It does help that there are a bunch of familiar faces here and the quarterback room has been extremely welcoming," said Simms. "All the guys are doing a great job of helping me out and helping me learn the offense."
At this point Simms isn't sure where he fits into the current quarterback competition, which Ryan stamped a three-way battle between Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor. What he does know is he has to get a grasp of Buffalo's offensive system sooner rather than later if he's to give himself a chance of being part of the competition.
"Right now I'm not even really focused on the competition," Simms said. "I'm just trying to get to know my teammates and get to know the offense and get my bearings and take it day by day at the moment."
Simms said the coaching staff has given him a goal to shoot for in terms of having a handle on the offensive terminology and executing plays.
"Right now I'm studying the plays that I will have in practice and then going back at the same time with the first install and working my way forward," he said. 'The coaches have been great so far. They've given me a goal to work towards the first mandatory minicamp (June 16-18) as kind of my first real evaluation of where I am with the offense."
For now the scheme is new, but it's clear that Simms feels he created a better situation for himself with coaches who believe in his abilities in Buffalo no matter where he sits on the Bills depth chart.
"It speaks volumes to me as a player and person that Rex and the rest of the Bills organization would go out there and claim me the way that they did," Simms said. "It just makes me feel all the more welcome and that much more excited to learn and get ready to beat the Jets this upcoming season."