Mark Sanchez is getting paid 8.3 million dollars from the New York Jets next year regardless of whether he is on their team, another NFL team or laying on a beach in California. The Jets are finishing up a playoff-less season against four mediocre football teams. The hope is that he plays well in these games, builds some measure of confidence and becomes a viable option to start in 2013 (he should still be forced to compete with a veteran next summer).
Believe it or not, this team is going to give every chance possible to a former first round pick who has won more playoff games than any other quarterback in franchise history. Is it worth the risk of playing him the last four games when you are 5-7 and nearly half your team won't be back next year? Yes... it is.
If you want to get mad at somebody, get mad at "cap expert" Mike Tannenbaum for how he structured Sanchez's contract. Get mad at him for the contradicting actions of doubling down on Sanchez in 2013 and then supporting him by bringing in a PR circus as a backup quarterback and not upgrading running back, wide receiver or offensive line this off-season. Sanchez already took a step back last season but the Jets front office greased the skids on his regression this year by having an awful off-season.
Sanchez has been generally terrible in 2012 but the Greg McElroy infatuation only comes from his last name not being "Sanchez." Ask yourself this, if McElroy's fourth quarter interception stood (like it should have) and the Jets lost 9-7, is this debate so heated right now? If McElroy is the savior that many are exaggerating to call him and Sanchez is truly that awful. Guess what? Sanchez will be benched at some point in the next four games and McElroy will get his chance.
We know that Mark Sanchez can guide a team with talent to successful regular seasons and playoff victories. Quarterbacks who are completely devoid of talent and redeemable NFL skills don't win in Foxboro in January. Can he carry a mediocre team on his shoulders? No. Can he be productive over the course of a NFL season if he doesn't have the worst group of skill position players in the league around him like he currently does? History says yes.
So how about finding a general manager and scouting department who won't mistake Shonn Greene for a lead back or Wayne Hunter as a NFL right tackle? How about making sure your quarterback isn't throwing passes to Clyde Gates and Jeff Cumberland on a weekly basis? How about finding a defensive player who could rush the passer, considering you haven't had a player with double digit sacks since 2005?
Mark Sanchez is going to be on the roster next year, Rex Ryan knows this and is trying to make it work. Every Jets fans is ready to kick both these guys to the curb because all they've done in their first three full years is be .500 or above every season and win four playoff games. I forgot the Jets had such a pronounced history of excellence, which warrants immediate firing after this year's likely 8-8 finish in year four.
Look at the Jets roster and find me three teams with worse overall talent... you can't. Rex should be a candidate for Coach of the Year for being 5-7 at this point with this group. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt with this decision as he attempts to salvage his former first round pick for 2013.