Question: Who could possibly be a worse quarterback than Mark Sanchez was last year?
Answer: JaMarcus Russell.
That is why, when reports surfaced that the New York Jets were having "some very exploratory, informal discussions" (per Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger) about bringing in the former No. 1 overall pick of the Oakland Raiders, it was met with a bit of sarcasm and the discerning "same ol' Jets" response from fans and media.
First things first: "very exploratory, informal discussions" is about as vague as it gets in the reporting industry. Talks could have gone something like this:
Someone: "Maybe we should look into signing JaMarcus Russell?"
Someone else: "Maybe not."
In that sense, let's not launch into the Jets-are-a-circus narrative that has dominated headlines for the better part of a year.
In fact, at least one Jets fan, @LilMissNYJet, has (somewhat) the right idea.
Was Jamarcus Russell brought in for a workout? Or seriously talked about? No? Well that’s about all the attention that story needs…. #Jets— Deb (@LilMissNYJet) January 29, 2013
That being said, the Jets don't have much of a choice but to at least consider any possibility—even the seemingly crazy ones—especially the inexpensive ones. Currently sitting an estimated $19.4 million over the salary cap (per ESPN's John Clayton), their dire straits dictate they're going to have to find cheap options at quarterback and they are going to have to get creative if they want to create a quarterback competition for Mark Sanchez.
Russell, trying to make a comeback at quarterback at 308 pounds, would probably come on the cheapest of cheap—whichever team signs him will probably give him a contract starting at the veteran minimum, with incentives for making the roster, playing games, not drinking sizzurp, etc.
But perhaps no man would know more than general manager John Idzik when it comes to making a reclamation project out of a top draft choice-turned-overweight bust.
As Brian McIntyre of Shutdown Corner points out, Idzik witnessed in Seattle the rebirth of wide receiver Mike Williams, who bottomed out with the Detroit Lions after he ballooned to over 270 pounds. The Seahawks took a chance on him in 2010, and Williams went on to haul in 65 catches for 751 yards and two touchdowns in 2010, adding three touchdown catches in the playoffs.
His glorious comeback would be short-lived, as he struggled in 2011 and was ultimately released during the summer of 2012.
Of course, as Bomani Jones points out, this all leaves one very prominent, equally controversial but not drug-addled or overweight quarterback in question:
so really, if the jets are kicking the tired on jamarcus russell, it might be time for tebow to start up a building fund.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) January 29, 2013
Again, before we get too far ahead of ourselves in anticipation of what many would consider a laughable move, these "very exploratory, informal discussions" need to progress to in-depth, formal discussions.
After publishing the story, Orr responded to tweets about the nature of his report and how it came to be such a hot topic, reminding his followers that talks were very informal. He even responded to one follower who questioned the motives of the headline-writers at ProFootballTalk:
@evanjehle: Exactly. Story is about the Jets looking for ways to bring in competition. Very informal discussions are just that.— Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) January 29, 2013
There would be discerning thoughts around any team exploring the idea of adding Russell, no matter how informal. These are the Jets, though, and the media's affinity for turning them into a punching bag has given this story legs of its own.
UPDATE—1:32 pm ET Tuesday
Orr sent out this tweet to confirm the Jets' lack of interest in Russell:
Per person w/ knowledge of #Jets plans, no interest in Russell. Reported Monday there were some very informal discussions. No interest tho— Conor Orr (@ConorTOrr) January 29, 2013
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.