Mark Sanchez Returning to Jets? Rex Ryan Refuses To Commit To Smith as Starter in 2014 [VIDEO]
If New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith thought he was going to have a less stressful offseason than he did last season, coach Rex Ryan made sure that wasn't going to happen with comments he made about Smith during Super Bowl Week.
And the source of Smith's stress could be someone quite familiar.
Ryan told the New York Daily News that just because he handed the keys of the Jets offense to his then-rookie quarterback doesn't mean that he's ready to hand over the keys to Smith again in 2014. In the process, Ryan suggested that the franchise could be quarterback-shopping during the offseason.
"We could say it, but with us, you can't really say with any certainties on anything right now because you're just starting the offseason," Ryan said during a promotional event for New Era caps that included handing out ice cream to fans on Super Bowl Boulevard. "You don't know what your roster is going to be. It's probably not the best thing to say, 'Hey, this guy is going to be a starter.' Let's let it play out."
The Daily News said the Jets intend to sign a veteran free agent, meaning Ryan wouldn't yet even allow Smith the honor of entering offseason workouts as the No. 1 quarterback.
"We'll see who's on our roster before we make that decision," Ryan said.
The free-agent quarterback market is not exactly a list flooded with big names outside of Michael Vick. ESPN already has reported that the Jets' recent signing of former Philadelphia Eagles assistant Marty Mornhinweg likely means Vick won't entertain thoughts of going to New York.
The two were not on good terms with the Eagles at season's end, sources told ESPN.
Among the Chad Hennes and Josh Freemans who will be available, the other biggest quarterback name out there: Mark Sanchez.
The Jets are expected to release Sanchez before his $2 million roster bonus is due in March, but he has indicated a preference to stay in New York, and ESPN reported that Mornhinweg has a reputation as a quarterback guru (see Nick Foles).
Sanchez, who has had several months to heal from his season-ending shoulder injury that occurred in the preseason, just had arthroscopic left knee surgery that the Daily News described as a "minor cleanup."
In fact, general manager John Idzik told the Daily News that the team is "keeping tabs on Sanchez's shoulder and knee rehabs."
If the Jets can renegotiate with Sanchez, round two of the Smith-Sanchez quarterback battle could be on the horizon.