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From the moment they traded for Tim Tebow, the Jets’ quarterback conundrum has been one of the most compelling, yet unnervingly annoying storylines of the 2012 season. Mark Sanchez’s struggles have done little to quell the push for someone, anyone to take his starting job. The question of whether the Jets will win on any given Sunday has been largely replaced by how long Sanchez can continue as planned without repercussions from the coaching staff.

Now, Rex Ryan has an unmistakably difficult decision to make in front a hungry press corps, a nervous GM, an angry owner and a desperate fan base that has long since passed implosion. No pressure, Rex.

CBS’ Jason La Canfora reports Rex is leaning toward starting Greg McElroy for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville – but with a very large caveat.


So what will Rex do? All things equal, I’d bet McElroy gets a four-game audition and Sanchez’s next meaningful snap comes during minicamp next year in another city. But NFL decisions aren’t made in a vacuum and that’s why the second half of La Canfora’s report remains the most salient part.

The Jets have a lot of money tied up in No. 6 ($8.25 million guaranteed for 2013, to be exact) and a front office that has BADLY mismanaged the 2013 salary cap. All that adds up to at least another offseason and training camp with No. 6 under center attempting to win his job in some sort of “competition.” Can you bench Sanchez for the remainder of the season for a second-year, seventh-round quarterback just because he “energized the crowd?” Of course you can’t. The Jets have to make Sanchez work until they have a financial way out and they don’t have one in the immediate future.

Despite the fans’ cries for fresh blood, Tannenbaum and Woody need Sanchez to rebound from last week. They need that $8.25 million to at least go to someone “competing” for the starting job. It’s why this decision is the most interesting one Rex has ever made in his tenure as Jets coach. If he chooses McElroy, he will be bucking his superiors and alienating a quarterback that he may very well have to win back next summer. If he picks Sanchez, it’ll look like he’s just doing the front office’s bidding. And all of that says nothing to the question of whether the Jets can remain competitive with McElroy under center. At the very least, it will be an unbelievably fascinating week at Florham Park.

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