Somewhere in SoCal or New Jersey, Mark Sanchez must be fuming, wondering where he will play football in 2014 if/when he gets cut by the New York Jets. As the slow-moving John Idzik prepares to meet Friday night with free agent Michael Vick, the most experienced quarterback on the roster is twisting in the wind, watching the number of potential landing spots dwindle.
In the last 24 hours, Ryan Fitzpatrick signed with the Houston Texans, who are now in the process of trading Matt Schaub to the Oakland Raiders, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The Texans and Raiders were thought to be possible destinations for Sanchez.
No fewer than 10 teams have signed or re-signed veteran quarterbacks, leaving few options for Sanchez. The Jets don't have to make a decision until Monday, because he receives a $2 million roster bonus if he's still on the team after Monday.
Idzik is taking his sweet time, letting the market come to him. It stinks for Sanchez, who isn't permitted to speak to other teams, but it may work out for the Jets in terms of negotiating leverage with Vick -- and perhaps Sanchez, if it comes to that. The Jets could be the only team left offering a competitive quarterback situation.
We should point out that, in an interview Friday with SNY, Rex Ryan said, "Make no mistake about it, Geno Smith is going to be hard to beat out, no matter who we add." That was simply a verbal pat on the back for Smith, who might be wondering about his status with all the speculation about Vick. The truth is, it would be an open competition. Obviously, the organization wants Smith to succeed, but there's a reason why they haven't named him the starter.
At that the same time, Vick knows there's a short supply of quality quarterbacks on the market, so he can try to use that to his advantage. Meanwhile, the Jets are holding on to Sanchez to strengthen their perceived leverage, perhaps presenting him to the Vick camp as a fallback option. If they fail to sign Vick, their options would be Sanchez (if he takes a pay cut), Josh Freeman, Rex Grossman, Shaun Hill, Matt Flynn ... do we need to go on?
For the next 72 hours, it'll be a big poker game between the Jets, Vick and Sanchez.