2012 NFL Draft: How to Improve the New York Jets' Quarterback Situation

James ChristensenContributor IFebruary 18, 2012

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets talk on the field prior to playing against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

After discussing the quarterback situations for the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, we finally set our sights on the Big Apple.

Can the New York Jets upgrade their quarterback situation this offseason?

Broadway Average Joe

Jets players are on record saying, "We're only as good as our quarterback." In today's NFL, that is right on the mark. Unfortunately for New York, Mark Sanchez just isn't that good.

No matter how much Rex Ryan wants to build up Sanchez's confidence, there is an air of realization surrounding Met Life Stadium—realization that Sanchez might not be the guy the Jets thought they were getting when they traded up to draft him.

Realization that maybe it wasn't all Brian Schottenheimer's fault.

Realization that their quarterback that will count over $10 million against the cap in 2012 might be the fifth best quarterback... in his own division.

So will GM Mike Tannenbaum have the guts to make a change?

Needin' Weeden?

Ryan wants a Super Bowl ring. Now. Not in 2013, not this decade—now. After Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, there is one prospect that is ready to lead an NFL team this fall: former professional baseball player and Oklahoma State Cowboy Brandon Weeden.

We currently have Weeden ranked behind Ryan Tannehill, but the Jets don't have the luxury of waiting for Tannehill to develop.

Weeden isn't going to be Tom Brady. He doesn't have to be—the Jets need to run the ball and eliminate mistakes. He has a lot of poise, rarely makes huge mistakes, and can make all the throws when needed.

The only reason Weeden won't be off the board by the Jets' 16th pick is the fact that he will turn 29 years old during his rookie season. Ryan couldn't care less if Weeden can't play for 10 years—he'll be fired if he hasn't won the Super Bowl by then.

There is another player out there, even older than Weeden, who might also pique the Jets' interest this spring.

Planning on Manning?

Brett Favre was the last big-name free agent quarterback to sign with the Jets. Like most things concerning Favre, results were mixed. These lingering Favre thoughts might make some New Yorkers a bit gun-shy regarding impending free agent Peyton Manning.

However, if Manning can pass a physical, the Jets would be wise to pursue him. Manning would give the Jets offense instantaneous credibility—something lacking the last few years in Florham Park.

Facing Manning and a Ryan defense twice a year is nothing that the rest of the AFC East wants to deal with.