The unfortunate news that Greg McElroy has a concussion offers an unexpected opportunity for Mark Sanchez, who will have one final shot at redeeming himself as the New York Jets' starting quarterback in the team's season finale at Buffalo on Sunday.
Coach Rex Ryan says Thursday that McElroy, preparing to make his second NFL start in place of the benched Sanchez, was lifting weights and had headaches. He went to the team's training staff and then revealed he was suffering concussion-like symptoms after being sacked 11 times in the Jets' 27-17 loss to San Diego last Sunday.
Ryan says he chose to start Sanchez over Tim Tebow because the team has just two practices and a walk through to prepare before the game and he feels "more comfortable" with Sanchez. Sanchez was benched after turning the ball over five times at Tennessee on Dec. 17.
If Sanchez is successful against the Bills he could save himself from being traded in the off season.
When rumors began that Sanchez may not be back with the team next season, the former USC quarterback did not what to think about it.
"Honestly, I'm a Jet. That's all I've known," Sanchez told reporters.
A person with knowledge of the Jets' quarterback situation told The Associated Press last week that the Jets will consider all of their options regarding Sanchez and backup Tim Tebow. Trades in the offseason cannot be ruled out, but the person, who requested anonymity because the team's personnel plans are private, told the AP that the Jets have not made any determinations involving Sanchez or Tebow.
The Jets will likely be hard-pressed to trade or cut Sanchez, who is due $8.25 million in guarantees next season after having his contract extended last offseason. He would cost the Jets a $17.1 million salary cap hit next season if he is cut, but New York could spread that amount over the next two seasons if he is released after June 1.
The salary cap hit would still be a costly $8.9 million if the Jets do find a willing trading partner. That could be further complicated by the fact Sanchez has turned the ball over an NFL-leading 50 times since the start of last season.
Tebow, who will be traded or cut before the NFL's free agency period begins in March, has two years remaining on his contract. But, it would cost the Jets only a little more than $1 million against the salary cap if they cut him.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.