Playing the what-if game at QB

Sometimes it's more fun to look back on trades that didn't happen than deals that actually got made. With the Houston Texans coming to town, it's a good time to reflect on two what-ifs.

In March, 2006, the Jets tried to get QB Matt Schaub from the Atlanta Falcons. The Jets were intent on trading DE John Abraham and, initially, they were asking for Schaub. At the time, Schaub was an unproven, but intriguing prospect.

The Falcons refused to part with Schaub even though he was only a backup at that point. Eventually, they brought in the Denver Broncos to make it a three-team trade, with the Jets sending Abraham to Atlanta and receiving a first-round pick. They used that pick (29th overall) to select C Nick Mangold, now an All-Pro. The Falcons finally traded Schaub, but not until the following year.

Schaub's current backup is Matt Leinart, the Arizona Cardinal castoff. The Jets liked him, too. During the '06 draft, after using the fourth overall pick on LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, they tried to trade up in the first round to grab Leinart, who slipped to 10th. It was more of a half-hearted effort by GM Mike Tannenbaum, who didn't offer a whole lot, but they did explore it. The Jets rated Leinart as the best QB in the '06 draft, ahead of Vince Young and Jay Cutler.

Imagine if the Jets had landed Schaub or Leinart. Chad Pennington probably would've been gone long before 2008, and there would've been no Brett Favre and, quite likely, no Mark Sanchez. Good thing they resisted the lure of Leinart, who has been a bust. They ended up with the right former USC QB.