Why the New York Jets Must Trade Mark Sanchez This Offseason
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The New York Jets are in a state of turmoil, as Rex Ryan took three days to announce that Mark Sanchez would be his starting quarterback this week in Jacksonville over Greg McElroy, who has thrown all of seven passes in the NFL.
After throwing three first-half interceptions last week against the Arizona Cardinals, Sanchez was pulled in the third quarter in favor of McElroy, who made his NFL debut by leading the Jets on a 69-yard touchdown drive to take the lead for good.
This was a new low for Sanchez, who has started every game of his four-year NFL career and has never been benched due to performance—he has only come off the field for the Tim Tebow-run Wildcat package.
After four seasons in New York without much improvement (barring a drastic turnaround to finish this season), it seems as though Sanchez's time is up.
It may be difficult to do because of the expensive contract extension Sanchez received this past offseason, but Mike Tannenbaum needs to move Sanchez as soon as possible. It has become increasingly clear with every passing week that New York isn't big enough for Sanchez and Tim Tebow.
Each of those quarterbacks alone draws enough media attention to drive any fan or head coach crazy, but the two of them together make it almost unbearable to read the Jets' weekly quarterback controversy articles.
One needs to go, and it should probably be Sanchez.
The argument can be made (and most do make it) that Sanchez is the better quarterback. However, he is the classic example of a player whose career is destined to go nowhere on his original team and needs a change of scenery.
Sanchez was thrown into the fire in his rookie season, starting his first game and every game since on what was then one of the better teams in the AFC. Sanchez "led" the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship games and seemed destined to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to New York.
Jets fans would say that the only reason Rex Ryan's team didn't advance to the Super Bowl in each season was that Sanchez needed more time for development.
Since then, not only has Sanchez's development been stagnant, the Jets have regressed on the whole as a team and most noticeably on offense.
This can be blamed on Brian Schottenheimer, who was pushed out of New York for his spotty play-calling, Rex Ryan for his inability to put Sanchez in an offense where he can succeed or Mike Tannenbaum for failing to surround Sanchez with adequate talent at skill positions.
However, when push comes to shove, Mark Sanchez throws the passes and runs the plays on the field.
His throws don't fall behind receivers because of play-calling or poor talent. His throws haven't dropped into the hands of the defense 13 times this season and 64 times in four seasons (not including the final four games of this season) for any reason other than his own inability to improve his playmaking ability.
Most realistic Jets fans would agree that this team is not built to win a championship and that there is no hope of returning to the AFC elite with the current group.
Unless Sanchez miraculously becomes an elite quarterback overnight, this offense is doomed for the foreseeable future. The front office needs to rebuild on the offensive side of the ball and must start with its centerpiece in Mark Sanchez.
Trading Sanchez while he still has some value (he is still just 26 years old) could net the Jets a few draft picks and give them payroll flexibility that they could use to start building a balanced offensive attack.
This would be accomplished by drafting/signing a running back or netting themselves a true No. 1 wide receiver who can be relied on to catch passes from Greg McElroy as the Jets search for a franchise quarterback—I do believe McElroy would succeed Sanchez because of the coaching staff's apparent disdain for Tim Tebow as a traditional every-down quarterback.
The front office attempting to convince itself that Sanchez will bring the Jets to the promised land is only delaying the inevitable. This team will have to be torn down eventually and prolonging that destruction of the Jets as they currently stand only prolongs the rebuilding process that New York fans hate so very much.
Trade Sanchez now and send a message to the Jets' fanbase that the front office and ownership won't stand for the embarrassment that has been New York Jets football since the end of last season.
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