We're not sure what Rex is smiling about, but it is shaping up to be an amusing offseason for the Jets.
If you were to imagine the most ridiculous phone call an NFL general manager could receive, it would probably sound a little something like this:
"Hey, Jim, it's Mike Tannenbaum from the Jets. I was just calling to see if you might be interested in making a trade for Mark Sanchez?"
According to a report in the Daily News, the Jets are ready to trade Sanchez (who you might recall was their unquestioned and unchallenged starting quarterback just a few days ago) after the season. It doesn't include any note of what team is looking for a signal caller who will make north of $8 million (some of which the Jets would assume) next season and lost his job to a seventh-round pick, likely because the XFL went out of business a long, long time ago.
Lest you think that's the only bit of wheeling and dealing the Jets will do, they are also reportedly down with trading Tim Tebow. This actually has a chance of happening, although there's zero chance that the Jets will receive the fourth-round pick they paid in an atmosphere that makes it clear they will release him if they can't swing a trade.
The Jets haven't come out and said any of this publicly, of course. It's all coming via leaks, which isn't surprising since the Jets love to generate buzz any way they can as long as there's absolutely no chance that buzz will translate to wins on the field.
It's even more aggravating listening to Rex Ryan weave imaginary narratives about Tebow's usage and his decision-making on Sanchez -- no one has ever gone from giving a team the "best chance to win" to the bench faster -- during his daily press conferences. All Ryan has done this season is repeatedly underline the fact that the Jets have no plan or clue on offense, which is what got them into this predicament in the first place.
In an insightful piece for Grantland, Bill Barnwell outlined two possible ways for the Jets to move forward into next season. One is to bolster the players around Sanchez (or Greg McElroy, presumably) and improve the offensive coaching staff while otherwise staying the course with what they've been doing since Ryan got to town.
The other is to just blow the whole thing up and start rebuilding from the ground up, a scenario which would include shopping Darrelle Revis, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and anyone else who would net some young talent for the team. Even without knowing who would be the G.M. or the coach, this is a pretty appealing option for a team heading nowhere at present.
Unfortunately, what's best for the football team has rarely mattered a whit to the Jets. That's why you're already seeing stories linking them to Michael Vick and will start seeing links to Alex Smith and assorted other quarterbacks who are on the discard pile for a reason.
In the case of Vick, that reason is that he turns the ball over at a rate that would seem stunning if you haven't watched Sanchez hand the ball away 50 times over the last two seasons. The Eagles have a terrible offensive line, but the Jets' ain't that hot and the rest of the Eagles offense is light years ahead of what the Jets throw on the field every week.
With the right offense and the right coaching, Vick might work out but so might a lot of other guys who aren't magnets for attention. It's hard to think that Vick's on the radar for a reason other than his celebrity and that's basically repeating the Tebow move with the slight change in the groups of people who love or hate the player.
Well that and the fact that they'd probably actually play Vick. A significant difference, although not nearly as significant as one that actually put the Jets into a place where they are making reasoned and realistic decisions about the direction of their offense.
There's none on the horizon, but Christmas is the time for miracles.