The former longtime Jacksonville Jaguars starter, who hasn't played in two years, finalized a contract Monday with the Jets, the team announced. Terms of the deal weren't immediately available.
This is the first significant roster addition for newly hired general manager John Idzik, who vowed to import competition for incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez.
Garrard confirmed the news on Twitter saying, "Just made it official!! I am a New York Jet!!!!!"
A few hours before the Garrard announcement, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Sanchez "will probably have just a little bit of a leg up" in an open competition.
The Jets still have Tim Tebow on the roster, but they shopped him at the scouting combine, according to sources, and they're poised to part ways with him if they can't find a trading partner.
They're expected to add another quarterback, sources said, possibly another veteran or a draft pick. Free agent Brady Quinn is a possibility.
The Jets were impressed with Garrard after working him out recently at the team facility. Mornhinweg is new to the team, which believes Garrard is a fit in his West Coast system.
The Jets apparently are looking for cheap alternatives at quarterback, and the reason is because they have an $8.25 million guarantee committed to Sanchez, who renegotiated his contract in March 2012.
The Jets figured Sanchez would be their long-term answer, but he struggled last season, committing 26 turnovers for the second straight year. He was benched for the first time in his career, leaving the quarterback situation in a state of uncertainty.
Garrard was considered the favorite to win the Miami Dolphins' starting job last summer, but his chances were derailed by a knee injury. He underwent arthroscopic surgery and was released at the end of the preseason.
He ended up sitting out for a second straight year. The knee still could be an issue, according to league sources, but he passed the Jets' physical.
Garrard surprisingly was released by the Jaguars at the start of the 2011 season even though he made the Pro Bowl as an alternate the previous season. They wanted to clear the way for first-round pick Blaine Gabbert, who was rushed into the lineup in Week 3 and struggled.
As it turned out, Garrard was injured. He underwent back surgery in October 2011 and sat out the season.
Garrard was a solid quarterback from 2007 to 2010, throwing for at least 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns in each of those seasons. Save for 2010, when he had a career-high 15 interceptions, he's never been turnover prone -- and that appealed to the Jets.