|Mark Sanchez should be looking over his shoulder this offseason. (US Presswire)|
Even though Mark Sanchez will make $8.25 million in 2013, there's no guarantee he'll be the Jets' starting quarterback. In fact, the biggest issue facing new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is how he'll right a Jets offense that was among the worst in the league this season. (And -- no joke -- Sanchez was ranked dead last in QB efficiency, according to Football Outsiders.)
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Tebowmania never materialized in New York, which means this offseason will be about bringing in legitimate competition for Sanchez instead of creating the circus-like atmosphere that followed Tebow to the Big Apple. So who are these candidates?
The most obvious name: Michael Vick, who worked with Mornhinweg in Philadelphia. The Eagles aren't expected to pay Vick the $15.5 million he's due next season, and while he's no longer mentioned as a top-tier quarterback, he's a substantial upgrade over Sanchez.
There's also Seahawks backup Matt Flynn, signed last offseason to start before Russell Wilson happened. The organization admitted last week that Flynn will be available via trade, and the Jets are certainly in the market. Then there's Alex Smith, benched midway through the season in San Francisco after Colin Kaepernick came on like gangbusters.
But none of these three may be serious options because, as the New York Post's Brian Costello pointed out Sunday morning, the Jets have to sort out some serious salary-cap issues (they're some $20 million over the cap limit) before they can move forward with rebuilding the roster (and as ESPN's Adam Schefter notes, Mornhinweg and Vick ain't looking to reunite).
Both Flynn and Vick … (and) Smith, seem unrealistic for the Jets because of their salary cap issues. Even after making roster cuts to get under the cap, the Jets will not have much to spend and a lot of positions to fill. The Jets could have as many as 12 new starters next year.
Cheaper veterans are more realistic targets, including Matt Moore, Tarvaris Jackson, Jason Campbell or David Garrard. The Jets also could decide to draft a quarterback in the second or third round. It is unlikely they would use their first-round (No. 9 overall) pick on a quarterback with the lack of elite passers in this year's draft.
Moore might be the best of the bunch, but he's not a long-term answer. That said, we can't imagine there's a GM in the league who would rather start Sanchez over Moore. Given that Moore wants to be a starter and is likely to hit free agency in a few weeks, he makes some sense for the Jets in 2013.
New York could choose to find its next franchise quarterback in the draft (while this year's QB crop doesn't compare to 2012's, perhaps New York can an unearth a Russell Wilson or Nick Foles in the second or third round), and have Moore penciled in as the starter in '13. It's not ideal -- and there's a lot of uncertainty -- but it's a step in the right direction after what passed for quarterbacks the last few years.
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