The New York Jets' quarterback situation now resembles a dumpster fire to which another dumpster fire has been added, and there may be more ignition to this series of disasters in the offseason. According to a report from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, the Jets will look to trade Mark Sanchez and his untenable contract when the 2012 season is over. That will be tough, but the Jets don't have many other options. Were they to cut Sanchez, who threw four interceptions against the Tennessee Titans on "Monday Night Football" and has benched in favor of former third-stringer Greg McElroy, they would suffer a hit of $17.1 million against their 2013 salary cap.
So, that's out. Keeping Sanchez is also apparently out, though the Jets signed him to a five-year, $58.25 million contract in March. If any team wanted to take the former first-round pick on as a reclamation project, a contract negotiation would have to be part of the bargain. No team is going to give the $8.25 million in base salary that's part of his current agreement to a quarterback that has been responsible for 50 turnovers since the start of the 2011 season, most in the league.
If the Jets find a willing trade partner, or are forced to keep Sanchez and jettison Tim Tebow, a source told Mehta, the next step for that team might be a play for current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, who will almost certainly find his way out of Philadelphia when the current season is over and major coaching changes undoubtedly happen.
The 32-year-old Vick has not played since Nov. 11, when a concussion -- and the franchise's desire to see what it had in rookie quarterback Nick Foles -- sidelined him for the rest of the season. Vick is due $15.5 million in base salary in 2013 as part of the six-year, $100 million contract he signed in August of 2011, but he's as likely to see that as Sanchez is likely to see his base salary on any other team.
“Bring it on,” one Jets source told Mehta about the Vick idea. “He was hit too many times [behind a subpar offensive line] the last two years.”
One Jets team official told Mehta that head coach Rex Ryan "loves Vick."
Of course, for that marriage to happen, Ryan would have to be on staff in 2013, and there's no guarantee of that. The 6-8 Jets were eliminated from the playoffs in that loss to Tennessee, and after appearances in the AFC championship game in his first two years as the main man, Ryan has not been able to get his team back to the postseason. The trade for Tebow, whether it had Ryan's seal of approval or not, was the kind of unmitigated disaster that frequently results in entire coaching staffs looking for new positions elsewhere. General manager Mike Tannenbaum might want to start polishing up his resume, as well.
It's not clear that Vick would be a true upgrade at this point in his career, either. While he has a stronger arm than Sanchez's, Vick has his own decision-making issues on the field, and he's been responsible for almost as many turnovers as has Sanchez in the last two seasons -- 45 to Sanchez's 50, and that's in just 22 games to Sanchez's 30. That leaves Vick with a higher per-game turnover rate than Sanchez -- 2.04 per game to Sanchez's 1.66. Vick would not have the same quality of targets in New York, and it's not completely clear that the Jets' offensive line is that much better than Philly's.
Clearly, the Jets have made several mistakes at the quarterback position. If they continue to spray gasoline on the current problem instead of taking a step back and building intelligent depth through the draft, those dumpster fires could be burning for a long time.