The Mark Sanchez era with the New York Jets may have ended on Monday night.
New York was eliminated from playoff contention with their loss to the Tennessee Titans. The quarterback blew multiple chances to give his team the win, and had one of the worst games of his career, throwing four interceptions and no touchdowns.
On Tuesday, head coach Rex Ryan announced that third-string quarterback Greg McElroy, not Tim Tebow, would replace Sanchez as the team’s starter. Not even 48 hours after the announcement, rumors are already circulating about who will be the Jets starting quarterback in 2013.
According to one source, Michael Vick would be atop New York’s wish list.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is reporting that the Jets would consider bringing in the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback next year. A Jets official told Mehta that Ryan has always had an affinity for Vick and “loves him.”
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“Bring it on,” said a Jets source about signing Vick. “He was hit too many times the last two years.”
Before the start of the 2011 season, Vick signed a six-year, $100 million contract with Philadelphia. Since that time, he’s struggled to stay healthy, and underperformed when he’s been on the field. With the Eagles on the verge of finishing with the worst record in the NFL, the Eagles are expected to let go of both Vick and head coach Any Reid.
If Vick becomes a free agent, he likely won’t agree to sign with New York if Sanchez is still on the roster. That might not be an issue, as Mehta is reporting that the Jets will explore trading the former first-round pick.
The Jets best option would be to trade Sanchez if they no longer want him to be their starter. They signed the signal caller to a contract extension this past offseason, which guarantees him $8.25 million next year. Releasing him and making him a free agent would cost the Jets over $17 million off the salary cap.
Dealing Sanchez would also hurt the Jets cap. They’d take an $8.9 million hit, and likely have to pay a portion of his salary.
It’s hard to imagine that there will be a very hot market for Sanchez. He’s owed a lot of money, and hasn’t played like an NFL starter in 2012. The former USC star is ranked 33rd among quarterbacks with a 67.9 passer rating. He’s thrown for just 2,678 yards, and is one turnover shy of having twice as many turnovers as touchdowns.
Vick’s 2012 season hasn’t been much different than Sanchez’s. He’s played just nine games, but was near the top of the league in turnovers, before suffering a concussion. His nine interceptions and four fumbles were enough for Reid to give backup Nick Foles the starting job, even with Vick returning to full health.
As New York explores their options at quarterback, Tebow could also be on his way out of the Big Apple. In his first season with the Jets, Tebow has barely been utilized by Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. He’s thrown just eight passes and rushed 32 times for a combined 141 yards.
Less than a year after leading the Denver Broncos to the second round of the playoffs as a starting quarterback, Tebow hasn’t been satisfied with his role with New York.
“Obviously, I'm a little disappointed," Tebow said when the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart was named Sanchez’s replacement. When asked why he has only taken 70 snaps this year he replied, “Some things are hard to understand."
Assuming Tebow doesn’t get a chance to start either of the Jets final two games, Mehta reports that Tebow will ask to be traded or released. He might have more value than Sanchez. Tebow’s contract is more reasonable, and the Jacksonville Jaguars almost dealt for him in the offseason.
At the start of the regular season, Ryan stated that this Jets team was the most talented that he has ever coached. Now, New York will miss the postseason for a second straight year, and may get rid of their top two quarterbacks.