On Aug. 6, 2008, the New York Jets traded for legendary quarterback Brett Favre and released their quarterback at the time, Chad Pennington. The opportunity to have a quality, future Hall-of-Fame quarterback was too big to pass up for the Jets.
Fast forward to the 2012 offseason. The New York Jets may have a similar opportunity on their hands, with all-time great Peyton Manning possibly being available to teams. Thursday, Newsday NFL columnist Bob Glauber spoke with Jets coach Rex Ryan and brought up the possibility: Would the Jets try to acquire Peyton Manning?
Ryan immediately responded with an emphatic answer: “We’ve got our quarterback,” he said. But the question remains—after the 2011 season is officially over, is Mark Sanchez really the Jets’ quarterback of the future?
When you look at Sanchez’s regular season numbers through his first three years, nothing really jumps out at you: a 48-44 TD-INT ratio, 8,413 passing yards, a 73.6 passer rating, a 55.1 completion percentage, and 26 fumbles (all stats are through Week 13 of the 2011 NFL season).
Don’t let this fool you, however, as Sanchez has shown life in the postseason. In his six playoff appearances (all on the road), he has gone 4-2, with both losses coming in the AFC Championship Game. And although he has performed slightly better in the playoffs than in the regular season, the goal is to win the Super Bowl, and you cannot do that without winning the conference championship.
Manning has not played this year because of a neck injury, and it looks as though he will not return until next year. The Colts are eyeing Andrew Luck in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft, and they would be best served not to keep both Manning and Luck.
Choices must be made, and the media is slowly concluding that Manning may be on his way out of Indy. The Colts would be foolish not to trade their 4-time MVP and try to get something in return to help with the rebuilding process. Lots of teams need a quarterback right now, and teams will come calling to Jim Irsay and Bill Polian for Manning's services.
Depending on how Mark Sanchez does this season, he could also be on his way out of his starting gig. With all of their trade assets, it just makes sense for the Jets to trade for Manning.
What could Manning bring to the table as the starting QB for the New York Jets? Well, for one, he would bring that veteran leadership that teams value. Manning has been around the NFL block, winning 4 MVP awards and a Super Bowl. He will go down as one of the smartest to play his position, which will help this sometimes lacking Jets offense.
In his years with the Colts, Manning never had any real weapons at his disposal. This would change in NY, with players such as Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller running routes for him. He could make smart plays with the ball that Sanchez just can’t quite make. He could also be a mentor for other QBs, such as Greg McElroy.
On the other side of the ball, Peyton would finally have a defense that would no longer rely on him every game. The Jets defense has been solid over the last few years, being lead by Darrelle Revis, and it can stand on its own.
The other asset Manning would bring to the Jets would be consistency at the quarterback position. The Jets have not had a consistent QB in ages. While Mark Sanchez is inconsistent at times, Manning always on-target and smart with the ball, with twice as many touchdowns in his career as interceptions (399-198) and a 64.9% completion percentage.
Manning is also a proven playoff winner, winning nine postseason games and playing in two Super Bowls. Though we don’t exactly know how we will play post-injury, my bet is that he will play near the level he has throughout his career. Getting Manning would be a definite upgrade at the QB position not only for the Jets, but also for a lot of NFL teams.
After the Lombardi trophy has been hoisted at Super Bowl XLVI in (ironically) Indianapolis, the Jets have some thinking to do. If Peyton Manning, a 4-time MVP and proven winner, is available, should they go after him? Is Rex Ryan truly sure that Mark Sanchez is his quarterback of the future? Do the New York Jets make the same trade they did back in 2008 for another legendary quarterback?
Only time will tell at this point.