Since his first day with the New York Jets, general manager John Idzik has been taking steps to restructure and rebuild the struggling franchise. His latest move sent Darrelle Revis, arguably the best talent on the team, for sunnier skies in Tampa. Revis joins a laundry list of players who Izdik has allowed to walk out the doors at Florham Park; the same list that includes former household names, Bart Scott and Dustin Keller.
The elephant in the room has yet to be addressed by Izdik and that is the Gang Green's quarterback situation. Jets fans were subjected to the NFL’s largest quarterback controversy since San Francisco flip-flopped between two future hall-of-famers in Steve Young and Joe Montana. The 2012 season started business as usual for the Jets with Mark Sanchez entering his fourth year as team's starter. The former Sanchize struggled with his mechanics and precision; getting pulled in favor of third stringer Greg McElroy who spurred a second half comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals. McElroy earn the starting spot for one game before being sidelined for New York's regular season finale due to concussion symptoms.
With the NFL Draft scheduled to begin Thursday, April 25, Idzik is now in a position to draft two players in the top 15. The Jets hold their own pick at Np. 9 in the draft order and acquired the No. 13 pick in the Revis trade. With the two picks the Jets have some leeway in taking a position player that fills a need in addition to taking a player that they truly want for their future. The quarterback class for this draft is not as strong as in years past and one of the decisions Idzik will have to make is whether he is justified in using one of these picks to select a replacement for the incumbent Sanchez. The team has not made their plans public and thus, the question remains, has Sanchez played his final game as a starter in a Jets uniform?
While management may be tempted to take the quarterback route in the draft this year, it may not be the best draft class to pursue a future signal-caller. Sanchez is signed to a deal that is set to pay him $20 million in guaranteed money. The contract makes Sanchez virtually unmovable as the Jets would have to take a massive salary cap hit for a player that is not even on their roster. Drafting a Geno Smith or Matt Barkley would not be a huge improvement over No. 6.
The team should use the picks to upgrade the weapons surrounding their current quarterback instead of covering up the team’s issues with moving the ball downfield. Sanchez has already proven twice that he can lead a team one game away from a Super Bowl appearance. In his rookie and sophomore campaigns, backed by a dominant run game and pass protection, Sanchez came within minutes of securing an appearance on football’s grandest stage.
With those pieces gone, Sanchez has been forced to work with what some are calling a glorified expansion team. The Jets should use at least one of their picks to bolster their offense. The No. 13 overall pick could yield a great pass protector in Chance Warmack or a dynamic receiver in Tavon Austin. These players would provide great building blocks on which to revive Sanchez’s passing game and return the Jets to a prominent position again in the NFL.