Mark Sanchez has reportedly been drawing serious interest from at least one "quarterback-needy" team—a rumor that, if true, shows just how bad the quarterback market is in the league right now.
Brian Costello of the New York Post has the story:
One coach of a quarterback-needy team said his team already has discussed Sanchez internally as an option to be its starting quarterback in 2014.
“We’d take Sanchez,” the coach said. “He’d be the starter as soon as he walked in the door for us.”
Upon reading this, one cannot help but immediately reflect on the pure putridity of Sanchez's play over the past few seasons and wonder how such a statement can exist in reality.
This is the still the same Mark Sanchez who turned the ball over a league-high 52 times between 2011 and 2012, Costello reminds us, before sitting out the 2013 campaign with a shoulder injury.
Sure, he took the Jets to the playoffs two years in a row when he first arrived in New York, winning four postseason contests. In the end, though, Jets fans will surely tell you that Sanchez will be best remembered for his many blunders—chiefly one of the NFL's absolute worst: the infamous butt fumble.
With Costello reporting that the team would save $8.3 million by cutting Sanchez, it's a given around the league that the Jets will axe him—especially with the emergence of Geno Smith, who showed promise at times playing with a bunch of nobodies on offense.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to think that the team would keep him,” a team executive told Costello.
But as crazy as it sounds for Sanchez to be handed the starting job on a new team immediately, it also makes sense. It's not like there's a bunch of elite talent available in free agency, as radio host Dan Clasgens notes:
If I were a GM I'd take Mark Sanchez over other free agent QB options (Michael Vick, Josh McCown, Josh Freeman, Shaun Hill & Chad Henne).— Dan Clasgens (@DanClasgens) January 22, 2014
Furthermore, the upcoming 2014 NFL draft features a handful of "top" quarterbacks nobody's really sure about. Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo and others all feature traits scouts like, but there's nobody that jumps out as a "sure thing."
Before hitting a brick wall in his development, Sanchez proved capable of moving an offense in a similar fashion to Alex Smith. He's never going to do what Peyton Manning or Tom Brady can do for an offense, but he's certainly decent enough to manage an offense under the right circumstances.
So, while it seems crazy to think that Sanchez could potentially be the best option for a team in need, just consider how well Smith did under the tutelage of Jim Harbaugh and then Andy Reid.
There's hope for Sanchez yet.
Which quarterback option would you choose in 2014?
Given his limited ceiling, however, it is a bit surprising to hear a team would be willing to hand him the starting job. This brings us back to the fact that there's not really much else to choose from.
Teams are smartly locking up their franchise signal-callers with long-term deals. Even if it seems exorbitant to the average fan, Joe Flacco's mega-deal kept him in Baltimore because the Ravens understand there isn't a better option.
Elite passers don't come along all that often. For every Andrew Luck, there are dozens of Ryan Leafs.
While Sanchez won't ever be confused with an elite passer, he is still a step above an untested rookie who may or may not turn out to be decent in five years. In the NFL, that's good enough sometimes to get a team into the playoffs—as Kansas City found out last year.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.