Joe Namath Says Mark Sanchez Could Beat Out Ryan Fitzpatrick in QB Competition

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 06:  Former NFL player Joe Namath attends the 5th Annual NFL Honors at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on February 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

NFL Hall of Famer and former quarterback Joe Namath said he believes Mark Sanchez could beat out Ryan Fitzpatrick for a starting quarterback gig if they were on the same team and had to compete, per Bob Glauber of Newsday.

He also spoke about Fitzpatrick's future with the New York Jets, per Glauber:

Bob Glauber @BobGlauber

Joe Namath said he's hopeful Ryan Fitzpatrick will return to the Jets. Still no contract. "It's business, man." #jets

Fitzpatrick remains a free agent, and Rich Cimini of ESPN reported on Tuesday that "the two sides are far apart on a new contract" and that "people who know Fitzpatrick believe he's not going to budge on his demands."

Jets owner Woody Johnson added on Tuesday, per Glauber: "No news. Until both sides come together, there's no deal."

Fitzpatrick, 33, is coming off of his best NFL season, throwing for 3,905 yards, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 59.6 percent of his passes. His yards and touchdowns were career highs, and he led the Jets to a 10-6 record.

Fitzpatrick's excellent campaign in 2015 is what makes Namath's comments worthy of dissection. After all, Sanchez spent the past two seasons as a backup to Nick Foles and Sam Bradford with the Philadelphia Eagles. His career highs in passing yards (3,474) and touchdowns (26) pale in comparison to Fitzpatrick's 2015 totals and came all the way back in 2011.

Sanchez did lead the Jets to the AFC title game twice, though it could be argued the team's fearsome defense was the driving force behind those teams.

Of course, once the Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round of this year's draft, the possibility of Fitzpatrick signing with Denver pretty much went out the window. The Broncos seem settled with Sanchez as the starter until Lynch is ready to play, and the most likely scenario for Fitzpatrick still seems to be re-signing with New York, especially now that the quarterback market has largely settled.

But had Fitzpatrick signed with Denver, past performances indicate that he would be the favorite to win the starting gig, despite Namath's opinion to the contrary.

You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.