NFL Trade Speculation: Peyton Manning In, Mark Sanchez out

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IJanuary 12, 2012

A familiar sight for Jets fans
A familiar sight for Jets fans

Move over Oakland, there is no more dysfunctional team in the National Football League right now than the New York Jets

In what has been a downright bizarre couple of weeks, accusations and rumors have been coming out of the woodwork. 

First, sources reported that the Sanchez, who was the recipient of a very hefty contract extension just last offseason, reportedly gave up on his team in the Jets' final regular season game against the Miami Dolphins

On Wednesday, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer "resigned" after a lackluster season, finishing 8-8 and 25th in total offense. Schottenheimer's offense struggled immensely, scoring only 377 points on the season.

The Jets, who had previously rode their defense to two consecutive AFC Championships, finished 22nd in the run. The run game was the hallmark of the Jets offense—it was a safety net for a team with a young quarterback who has shown through three years that he could be little more than a game manager. 

Mark Sanchez statistically did not regress. He raised his completion percentage nearly by two points, and his quarterback rating by three points. Sanchez threw for a career-high 3,474 yards.

Owner Woody Johnson and head coach Rex Ryan cannot simply accept the fact that their franchise quarterback marginally improved. The fact that Sanchez couldn't carry his team into the playoffs is a much bigger deal.

The Giants are once again the toast of New York
The Giants are once again the toast of New YorkAl Bello/Getty Images

Even bigger is the fact that it was almost promised that the Jets would make it over the hump of the AFC Championship game and earn themselves a trip to the Super Bowl.  

After two years of outshining their nonconference archrivals the New York Giants, the Jets find themselves in all too familiar territory. Ryan and his Jets are sitting in the back seat watching the Giants march forward into the playoffs.

What makes matters worse is that the Giants humiliated an equal (by regular season record) opponent in the Atlanta Falcons when the G-Men allowed the Dirty Birds to score a mere two points all game. Unlike their name, the Giants are known to be giant killers.

When they won the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, the Giants lost a close regular season game to Brady, Moss, and their array of supermen that ran one of the most dominant offenses the league had ever seen. The Giants lost, the Pats won and went 16-0, but when the two met again, well, the rest is history.

The Giants are hoping they can catch lightning in a bottle a second time, and take down the powerhouse Green Bay Packers en route to another Lombardi Trophy.

Enter the solution to the Jets' woes: Peyton Manning. It has been confirmed—yes, confirmed—that the Indianapolis Colts will select highly touted, surefire quarterback prospect Andrew Luck.

There are two things you must do for Andrew Luck to play on your team. The first is pay him. The Colts will be the second lucky team of the new CBA to not have to break the bank on a rookie quarterback.

That's all and well for them. What is not good is that Peyton Manning is due a $28 million bonus in March. I will let those key words sink in again. $28 million. Bonus. March. 

Even multimillionaires have to be a little cautious around a situation like this. The Colts have already committed a lot of money to a man they knew would not play a single down for the 2011 season. There is no absolute guarantee Manning will be 100 percent next year, and you have a rookie stud QB coming in who has no business playing second chair.

What do you do? Well, that's another story for another day. Let's consider what would happen if Colts owner Jim Irsay decides he doesn't want to shell out $28 million, and then some. 

Manning In, Sanchez Out! What are the benefits of this?

Peyton provides veteran leadership that will instantly command respect and control of a dysfunctional locker room. If the players surrounding Peyton do not immediately clean up their act and straighten up and fly right, they will be ostracized by the serious players who want to win a championship.

Manning comes with proven regular season and playoff experience, has credibility, a ring and a couple MVP awards, to boot. 

He is someone who can run an offense in spite of a weak offensive coordinator. Manning may as well be a coach himself, and if he would like the opportunity after his career is done, there is a 100 percent chance someone will bring him on as a quarterbacks coach, then an offensive coordinator and possibly one day, a head coach. 

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after a touchdown in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Pho
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Jets would finally get the most out of their receivers. The offensive line is good enough to provide Manning the protection he needs, and the stalwart quarterback would have weapons on both sides of the field with Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Johnson and Ryan would not be subject to criticism.

The New York media can’t start their biweekly witch hunt on Rex Ryan, where angry New Yorkers resemble Romanian villagers with torches and pitchforks from an old Dracula or Frankenstein movie. When the Jets lose and it’s because of the offense, the blame will go on Peyton.

The former MVP and Super Bowl champion will take the fall because that’s the kind of guy he is. Meanwhile, Ryan might have to answer for some defensive flubs, but that’s old news. And with Manning in town, all eyes will be on the offense.

Woody Johnson will be left blameless.

The owner can claim that he went after and got one of the best quarterbacks in modern NFL history. He has paid his offensive and defensive stars what they deserve, and he has a head coach who has been to two championship games. Everything else is just bad luck or bad timing.

But either way, if something goes wrong, it's not on him.