The Mark Sanchez era in New York is in serious danger of coming to an end after the struggling quarterback chucked four interceptions, turning the ball over a total of five times in the Jets' Monday night loss to crush any hope they had of making the postseason.
The Jets' entire 2012 season has been a circus to this point. And if one thing has been consistent in New York all year long, it's been the franchise's ongoing quarterback controversy.
But with only two weeks left in the season, let's weigh the pros and cons of New York holding on to Sanchez for the future.
There used to be a time when Mark Sanchez was praised for his ability to manage a game for New York, and for leading the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances, but that time has come and gone.
At this point, there are very few benefits of keeping Sanchez around. Here are a couple.
With Mark Sanchez guaranteed to make $8.25 million next season, the Jets can at least ensure that their money is going to a good cause by keeping Sanchez on board as the starting quarterback, or at the very least a backup.
ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini points out that if the Jets part ways with Sanchez, they will take a massive salary-cap hit.
Keeping Sanchez on as an overpaid backup may not be ideal, but it would at least mean that the Jets are paying him to practice and be available to them in 2013.
If the Jets hold on to Sanchez, they'll have an experienced option to play under center, either as the starter or a backup.
The 26-year-old has only four NFL seasons under his belt, but he's already started six career playoff games, boasting a 4-2 record in those games. Sanchez also has 61 career regular season starts coming into Week 16's matchup with the San Diego Chargers.
Not that Sanchez has phenomenal numbers to show for his experience as an NFL starter, but nonetheless, he has seen every look a defense can throw his way.
Where should we begin?
There are all sorts of cons involved with holding on to Mark Sanchez. He's inconsistent. He turns the ball over too often. He doesn't deliver in big moments.
We'll highlight the most obvious ones here.
Through 61 career regular season games, Sanchez has 68 interceptions and 19 lost fumbles. That equates to 87 turnovers in 61 games for the former USC Trojan. Entering Week 16, Sanchez leads the league in 2012 with 24 turnovers.
Clearly, he hasn't improved since turning the ball over 27 times during his rookie season in 2009.
It's not a matter of the Jets finding a better passer to play under center this offseason, but a better decision-maker who won't cost the team week in and week out with reckless turnovers.
If you take a long look at the NFL's most successful starting quarterbacks, they all have one thing in common: Their production is consistent week in and week out. Sure, there may be some games they like to forget every now and then, but for the most part, you can count on guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning to come through.
When it comes to Sanchez, though, consistency is nonexistent.
He has yet to complete more than 57 percent of his passes in a season, and he is on pace to throw more interceptions than touchdowns for the second time in four years.
The biggest problem is that Sanchez's good games are few and far between. His erratic play wouldn't be so terrible if he came through for New York more often than once every blue moon.
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