Rex Ryan might be done making guarantees, but he's not done making headlines.
Speaking at the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, Ryan admitted that it was a mistake to make Super Bowl promises at last year's event and called the Jets' season "terrible." The only promise he made was that the Jets are going to have more fun in 2012 than they did in 2011.
That's not what's going to be the big takeaway from his comments, though. The part that everyone is going to be talking about is the way Ryan answered questions about why neither he nor anyone else from the team has ruled out the possibility that the team is going to pursue Peyton Manning in the next couple of weeks.
Ryan started his answer by saying that he couldn't comment on Manning while he was still a member of the Colts, but he then moved on to a statement that's going to be parsed to death in the coming days.
"We will do what’s in the best interest of our organization," Ryan said, via Bob Glauber of Newsday. "That means we’ll ... look at all the possibilities."
It won't much matter that Ryan went on to say that Mark Sanchez is the Jets' quarterback and that he believes Sanchez will be a star, because anything other than a firm denial of plans to look for a different starting quarterback is going to fuel the fire of a Manning pursuit. Will there be anything more than smoke to this fire, though?
The gut feeling is that there won't be, although you can't really rule out anything before we know for sure that Manning is heading to a different team. For starters, it seems hard to believe that Peyton would want to share a stadium and a city with his little brother a year after Eli won the Super Bowl.
On the Jets' side, the salary cap situation isn't all that strong, even after D'Brickashaw Ferguson restructured his contract to give the team some breathing room. There are plenty of needs on the roster and, if Peyton were to come to the team, taking care of all of them would be awfully difficult without cutting some useful players off of the roster.
Bringing in a quarterback who can push/relieve Sanchez during the season makes a lot of sense, but that's a world of difference from bringing in Manning and pushing all the chips right back into the center of the table with a player who no one can be sure is physically ready for the task at hand. If you were talking about the Peyton Manning of old, it would be hard to argue with the move, but the risk is just too great when there are so many other holes on the roster.
That won't stop people from talking about it, though.