The last couple days haven’t been good for New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez. First, teammates of his came out and criticized his work ethic and ability. That can never be good. Being called “lazy” is never good for one’s reputation.
Today brought people coming to his defense. First a couple offensive linemen, and then the team owner spoke out on behalf of Sanchez. Normally you’d think that was a good thing, but in this case I don’t really think it is. The Owner’s “He’s the first to arrive and last to leave” defense is already being disputed. People coming to his defense might want to stick to the truth, otherwise it only makes thing worse.
Sanchez is now the center of a divided locker room. The Jets front office must now make changes before next season, or face a year in which the off field squabbles hurt the performance on the field. A divided locker room can only lead to bad things for the franchise.
If the team is really is behind Sanchez, then replacing the players who took shots at him would be the way to go. The problem is that they’ve all done so anonymously so it would be tough to determine who those players are. It also appears to be more than just a couple players, and replacing that many can be tough if they hope to remain a playoff contender.
Replacing Head Coach Rex Ryan is another option. Head Cases like him usually lead to this type of mess. Getting someone in there is better head on his shoulders would likely solve this problem, but the franchise does not appear to be ready or willing to make such a move.
The last option would be to simply replace Sanchez. Upgrades and parallel moves are available if the Jets choose to go down that road. Matt Flynn and Jason Campbell are available and would work for the “win now” mentality of that franchise. (There’s no way they go with a rookie over Sanchez and rebuild the offense.) And of course, there’s going to be no end to talk of getting Peyton Manning from the Colts.
Of course, the Jets could choose to just do nothing. Pretend that the issue will go away on it’s own and wait until next year. I actually expect them to take this “lack of action” option. The Jets have always done things in a “less than competent” manner, and doing nothing here fits their profile.
If the Jets do go out and get Manning or another a new starting QB, it would be almost certain that they’d have to move Sanchez. There are too many teams desperate for a QB right now not too. Someone will give the Jets a first round pick for him, and they’d be stupid not to take it just to have a sulky and divisive player sitting on their bench.
If the Jets did make him available, where would he go:
- Miami would be the perfect fit, but I doubt the Jets would give their division rivals a starting QB.
- Washington makes sense, and I think they’d push to get him. Then again, there will be the “is he really better than Rex Grossman?” crowd that will be pretty vocal, and they will have a valid point. Washington doesn’t get a whole lot better by trading their first round pick to get Sanchez.
- Cleveland would be my front runner to get Sanchez. They have 2 first round picks, so trading one wouldn’t hurt them too much. Sanchez is also the type of QB who will look better in a Mike Holmgren style west coast offense than in other systems. It’s a good fit for both him and the team.
- Seattle will inevitably be connected to Sanchez. The Pete Carroll connection as well as the Seahawks desperate need for a QB make for an easy story line for lazy national reporters, but I really don’t buy it. Sanchez isn’t a great fit for Seattle’s offense, which is very different than the one Carroll ran with Sanchez at USC.
- Kansas City would be another option, and an intriguing one. The Chiefs still have Matt Cassel, who’s entering the final year of his contract, but it appears that the Chiefs have come to the realization that Cassel is a player who’s in that “better than a backup but not quite good enough to be a starter” no man’s land. Trading for Sanchez, makes a bit of sense for them at this point, though it’s also possible that the new coaches think they can get more out of Cassel than the old coaches did.