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Who will be the opening-day QB for the New York Jets next season?

December 18, 2012
  • Greg McElroy, left, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are the New York Jets' quarterbacks this season. But will any of them be the starter when next season begins?
Greg McElroy, left, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are the New York Jets'… (Tom Uhlman / Associated…)

The New York Jets announced Tuesday that former third-stringer Greg McElroy will replace the struggling Mark Sanchez and leapfrog No. 2 Tim Tebow to start at quarterback against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

The Jets are going nowhere this season, with their playoff hopes put to rest after their 14-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. So is this McElroy's audition for next season? Will Sanchez and Tebow even be around for the 2013 training camp? Or will someone new take over behind center?

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss who will be the Jets' starting quarterback on opening day next season. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

Believe it or not, it could be Mark Sanchez starting next season’s opener for the Jets, if only because of the financial handcuffs involved. The Jets owe him $8.25 million next season, no matter where he winds up.

But set that aside for a moment, as that would surely cause a revolt among Jets fans. Tebow's gone. Alex Smith could be an interesting option, because he’ll be looking to get out of San Francisco. Another interesting scenario would be Seattle dealing Matt Flynn, then acquiring Sanchez to back up Russell Wilson. Sanchez could be the prodigal son returning to Pete Carroll, who warned him not to leave USC early for the NFL.

Or what if the Jets reach for USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the draft? That’s a long shot, but not entirely outside the realm of possibility. Sanchez might have some words of advice to Barkley when handing off the baton – namely, “Look out behind you!”

Aaron Wilson, Baltimore Sun

It's time for the Jets to put Mark Sanchez out of his misery: Cut him or trade him.

His regression is complete. His play has been horrible. And now they should pay him handsomely to go away, at a cost of $12.35 million against the 2013 salary cap, $4.8 million in 2014 by releasing him.

Sanchez's erratic play can't be tolerated anymore, and Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy aren't the answer. Regardless of whether Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum return, Sanchez shouldn't.

If the Jets want to upgrade at the quarterback position, it won't be easy. Alex Smith or Matt Flynn aren't bad choices via trades but would be tough to pull off.

That's why the Jets wind up with a retread like Michael Vick once the Eagles discard him. Vick turns 33 before next season and is a flawed quarterback, but it's better than sticking with Sanchez.

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

The opening day starting quarterback for the Jets in 2013 might be Michael Vick. It might be Matt Moore. It might be Geno Smith. It might be Matt Barkley. We can’t say for certain. But what we can say for certain is their opening day starting quarterback won’t be Mark Sanchez. 

Changes are coming for the Jets, and one of those changes is going to be at quarterback. It is likely the Jets will have either a new general manager or head coach, or both, and the new man or men will want a new quarterback. The Jets can’t sell Sanchez to their fans anymore. So the Jets will be in the quarterback market this off-season. Whether by free agency, trade or the draft, they will find one.

Keith Groller, Allentown Morning Call

The Jets' 2013 opening-day quarterback is not on the current roster, and maybe the guy who will make the decision isn’t on board yet, either.

Rex Ryan’s steadfast support of Mark Sanchez could be his undoing. Both careers have hit the iceberg.

It’s likely that Sanchez has taken his last snap as a Jet. Only ABC has had more prime-time disasters than Sanchez this fall and even though Ryan may return, his leash got tighter with every turnover Monday night.

Tim Tebow is probably gone as well and Greg McElroy remains unproved. That means next year’s starter is wearing another NFL uniform. Alex Smith is the favorite, but Michael Vick wouldn’t have to change coasts or uniform color and has performed a Meadowlands miracle once before.

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