What Will It Take for New York Jets to Bench Mark Sanchez?

Jamal Collier@@JCollierDAnalyst IIINovember 12, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 11:  Quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets throws in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 11, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle defeated New York Jets 28-7. (Photo by Kevin Casey/Getty Images)
Kevin Casey/Getty Images

The idea of Tim Tebow supplanting Mark Sanchez as the New York Jets’ starting quarterback has legs, but Tebow-mania still has not officially taken over New York. Because Sanchez’s big contract extension seems to be the driving force behind his remaining under center, a fan-fueled uproar may be the only thing that can reverse the trend.

Just like in Denver.

In October, ESPN NFL senior writer John Clayton named Sanchez’s contract the third worst in the NFL:

The Jets aren't "Tebowing" about this contract. Four years into his career, Sanchez is at a career-low 53.2 completion percentage and Rex Ryan has to explain weekly why he doesn't replace Sanchez with Tim Tebow. Though he was part of an AFC Championship Game participant his first two seasons, Sanchez's performance has declined with the shrinking offensive talent around him. The problem is twofold. The Jets are more than $7 million over next year's cap, and Sanchez has a $10 million guarantee in 2013. It would be hard to get rid of him. 

It appears that the New York fans have to prove to Jets management that its money is not as important to them as their own—and that Sanchez’s performances are not something that they’re interested in witnessing right now.

As the only apparent alternative, Tebow's might be.

Sanchez is completing a career-low 52.0 percent of his passes through Week 10 and has more combined interceptions and fumbles (15) than passing touchdowns (10). His quarterback rating is the lowest it’s been since his rookie year.

And none of that matters to head coach Rex Ryan; ESPNNewYork.com’s Jane McManus reported that Sanchez will remain the Jets’ starter.

If Sanchez’s numbers are below his own standards, it’s questionable that New York hasn’t attempted to see what Tebow can do with the offense. What’s even more perplexing is the decision to acquire him in the first place.

Tebow wasn’t free.

New York traded a fourth- and sixth-round draft pick to acquire the former Denver Broncos star quarterback. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the players selected in those rounds primarily contributed on special teams—but that’s not what Tebow was supposed to do.

Since Sanchez won’t be asked to have a seat by the Jets coaching staff, Tebow’s ascension to the starting lineup may only be driven by two factors: vocal ownership or a seething fanbase.

Jets owner Woody Johnson has not propelled Tebow onto the field—at least, not as a QB—so the fans will have to do it if it’s going to happen.

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