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Focus Shifts to Sanchez & Vick

Posted Mar 21, 2014

After agonizing over cornerbacks for a few days, Jets Nation now will turn its collective head towards the quarterback position. The two men in the crosshairs are Mark Sanchez and Michael Vick.

“We’re all excited about having Geno (Smith) as part of the Jets, but we will always look to improve every position in any manner we can and that doesn’t change going into 2014,” said GM John Idzik at his season-ending news conference. “We’ll look at quarterbacks — yes we’ll look at quarterbacks.”

There are three quarterbacks on the Jets roster. Matt Simms, who served as Smith’s backup last season, appeared in three contests. David Garrard is an unrestricted free agent.

The Jets have not committed to Smith as their long-term starter. A healthy Sanchez or an inspired Vick, whom NJ.com reported will visit the Jets on Friday, would provide Smith with competition and give the Green & White some veteran insurance.

“He grew by leaps and bounds,” Rex Ryan told us today of Smith. “That’s what I was so excited about. The competition and whoever we bring in and all that stuff, that is going to be outstanding. But make no mistake — Geno is going to be hard to beat out. I’m just telling you.”

On March 25, Sanchez is reportedly due a $2 million dollar bonus if he is on the Jets' roster.

"That's a very important decision for us and for Mark," Idzik told us today. "We've kept in close contact with him and his representation. Obviously we talk about it every day here... We're going to take the advantage of time and information, so that when we do make a decision — if we do make a decision — it will be well-informed."

Let's take a closer look at Sanchez and Vick.

Mark Sanchez
6’2”, 225
27 Years Old
Entering 6th NFL Season
2013: Injured in preseason & placed on injured reserve in September
Career: 55% Passer with 68 TD & 69 INT, has rushed for 12 TD

Case For: In 68 Career Starts (including postseason), Sanchez has posted a 37-31 record.  He was playing well under OC Marty Mornhinweg and QB Coach David Lee before going down last summer against the Giants.  After undergoing season-ending right shoulder surgery last fall, Sanchez told TMZ last weekend that, “Shoulder feels great, already throwing and I’ll be ready to go here soon.”  He has produced 10 comeback wins in the 4th quarter or OT.  Sanchez ranks first in team history with nine postseason touchdowns and second in passing yards.  He has a first-rate work ethic and is liked and respected by his teammates.  If you took away the name and past history here, he might be the perfect fit for the Jets.

Case Against: Under contract, Sanchez is reportedly due a $2 million roster bonus next week and his release would save the Jets an additional $8.3 million.   Shoulder surgery is never minor for a quarterback and Sanchez also had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee.  Sometimes fresh starts are good for both sides. 

Michael Vick
6’0”, 215
33 Years Old
Entering 13th NFL Season
2013: Appeared in 7 games with the Eagles, completing 54.6% of his passes with 5 TD & 3 INT.  Also averaged 8.5 yards/carry and scored 2 TD on the ground
Career: 56.2% Passer, 128 TD and 85 INT.  Only Player in NFL history to pass for 20,000 yards and rush for 5,000 yards. 

Case For:  The Jets always stress competition and Vick would bring just that.  Not the same athlete who blazed to a 4.25 at his pro day years back, Vick still possesses tremendous athleticism.  Picking up the system wouldn’t be a problem either because Vick thrived with Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg when the two were together in Philly.  From 2010-‘12, Vick had a completion rate of 60.2 percent after having a career 53.8 percentage in Atlanta.  Mornhinweg and Vick had success with the explosion plays, ranking 1st 40+ passing plays in 2010 and 12th in 2011.   He is a system fit too because you have to take into account Smith’s progress with his legs down the stretch.  His 366 rushing yards were the second most for a Jets passer and he could learn a thing or two from arguably the greatest dual threat in NFL history.  Once criticized for his work ethic, Vick was the model teammate in Philly

Case Against: Some fans have already lined up and expressed their displeasure in links between the Jets and the controversial quarterback.  He served 19 months in federal prison for his role as a mastermind of a dogfighting operation and Vick will never be forgiven by some.  While still a quality player, Vick is no longer in his physical prime after absorbing a number of licks.  Also with the desire to still be an NFL starter, would Vick want any assurances from the Jets?

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