Even though head coach Rex Ryan has publicly stated otherwise, the Jets are in the market for a starting quarterback. Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff are young and full of potential, but if New York can land a Pro Bowl-caliber veteran, why wouldn't they?
The short answer, I guess, is: they did ... last year, and look how that turned out. Fair enough. Blowing a second-round pick on an old, slow and banged-up Brett Favre was a tad impetuous in hindsight, but surely there is some middle ground between an over-the-hill, future Hall of Famer and a fourth-year guy with 12 career starts.
Last week, word leaked that the Jets would hold a private workout for USC's Mark Sanchez, considered by many the second-best quarterback available in the April draft. And today, Dave Hutchinson of the Newark Star-Ledger writes that the club is monitoring the slow-motion train wreck that is the Jay Cutler situation.
The Jets are doing their due diligence regarding the tenuous situation in Denver and the possible availability of Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler, according to a person with knowledge of the team's thinking. ...
The Jets, he said, will never say never regarding a player of Cutler's ability and don't want to publicly take themselves out of the running should Cutler be traded. Denver has said it has no intention of trading the Pro Bowl quarterback, who Monday requested a trade.
Right. But Broncos owner Pat Bowlen also said he was "very disappointed" in the way Cutler has handled the two-week saga, so who knows who'll be under center for Denver when the season starts.
Hutchinson thinks it might all be moot, anyway; even if the Broncos decide to ship Cutler out of town, the Jets don't have much to offer. Denver will presumably need a starting quarterback -- even if for just a year -- and there's no reason to think Clemens or Ratliff is an upgrade over Chris Simms.
There's always the possibility of a three-team trade, but as Hutchinson points out, "A third team could [provide a starting-caliber type quarterback] but that team would likely want Cutler for themselves." Which is why the Lions, flush with draft picks, still seem like favorites. Plus, if the Broncos organization wanted to be spiteful, they'd send Cutler to a team that lost 16 times last season.