Make no mistake about it; the New York Jets are in full fledge rebuilding mode. General manager John Idzik isn’t hiding the fact that Gang Green will need to fill a variety of holes on the depth chart this offseason, and is busily fielding trade offers for star cornerback Darrelle Revis. At the end of the day, it’s hard to believe that Rex Ryan will let the franchise’s best player walk out the door at Florham Park unless the Jets are presented with an offer they can’t refuse.
That offer would likely require multiple first-round draft picks, which teams have refused to put on the table considering Revis is still rehabbing from last year’s ACL tear. Revis, having staged two contract holdouts over the past four years, is widely regarded as the league’s premier defensive back, but Jets owner Woody Johnson isn’t exactly signing off on No. 24’s big pay day given the poor financial state of the organization.
While fans of the Green and White divert their attention to Revis’ potential landing spot, the question that looms larger is who will be the Jets starting quarterback on opening day of the 2013 season?
If you said Mark Sanchez, then you’re probably right; unless Idzik and company opt to trade up in April’s NFL draft. Gang Green holds the No. 9 overall pick, just behind the Buffalo Bills, who released Ryan Fitzpatrick this week and are in dire need of a quarterback. No prospect’s value has skyrocketed the way West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith’s has following his stellar 60-62 passing performance at last week’s Pro Day.
As the Jets front office ushers in a new wave of players, why would they move forward with an embattled Mark Sanchez, who has floundered the past two seasons?
If Gang Green is truly all-in on revamping its roster from top to bottom, it has no other choice than to draft a quarterback with its first round pick. With Smith climbing up NFL scout’s draft boards, the Jets are among a laundry list of teams who are taking a closer look at the Mountaineers’ prolific gunslinger. Unfortunately for Ryan and company, they’re sitting one spot behind their AFC East rivals in Buffalo, who will likely select the best available quarterback and could potentially look to move up in the draft order.
In essence, New York is in no-man’s land, and will need to trade up to ensure it grabs a top-rated signal-caller in the first round. As Smith sits tantalizingly close to the Jets’ grasp, they’ll need to leapfrog the Bills in order to secure the West Virginia standout.
As Idzik weighs his options in advance of next month’s NFL draft, Geno Smith could represent hope for Jets fans across the country and officially put an end to the Mark Sanchez era in New York.