Jets 2011 Offseason QB Analysis

This will be the first of a series of five fanposts breaking down the offseason offensive plan for the Jets.  I'd love to hear some comments and suggestions.  Today, we start with an overview of the QB situation.

What we have:

Mark Sanchez- cap value: $17.7m, $ saved if cut: $1.25m,

Mark Brunell- cap value: $1.3m, $ saved if cut: $1.3m

Eric Ainge- cap value: $603k, $ saved if cut: $562k

Kevin O’Connell- cap value: $487k, $ saved if cut: $487k

Drew Willy- cap value: $330k, $ saved if cut: $330k

Greg McElroy- unknown, but likely a contract in the same neighborhood as Kevin O’Connell’s


More after the jump.

Roster Analysis:

Mark Sanchez may not be a franchise QB in the NFL, but he is certainly a serviceable starter with flashes of brilliance.  Brunell is old but is pretty cheap and seems to be a good mentor to the younger QBs on staff.  I think it is important to have a veteran clipboard holder especially with a young guy like Sanchez at the helm.  Ainge and O’Connell have been massive disappointments at the NFL level and have never shown any ability or potential.  I think the Greg McElroy pick spells the end of their Jet careers.  Cutting Ainge and O’Connell saves us about $1m in cap space.  Willy is a training camp body and will be a practice squad player at best. 


Potential Additions:

With six bodies under contract it is unlikely the Jets bring on anyone else into the fold.  That said, former Jets practice squader and preseason maestro Brett Ratliff is a free agent.  He was traded for Sanchez and is well regarded within the team brass so he might be brought in to compete for the #2/#3 job.  He’d be a downgrade from Brunell though so not likely worth the trouble.



Erik Ainge (save $562k)- Spent the 2010 season in rehab for drug abuse.  Never played well before when given the opportunity.  Most likely UFL bound.

Kevin O’Connell (save $487k)- Has some upside and was a high draft pick (3rd round) by the Patriots a few years ago but has played terribly in preseason and was the #4 QB on the Jets roster last year since he was unable to beat out Kellen Clemens.  That  says a lot about his ability since the coaching staff hated Clemens.  Probably too good for practice squad, but not good enough for active roster spot.

Drew Willy (save $330k)- Young, but not that good.  A training camp body that is not worth a roster spot, but could develop into an avg #3 QB with time.

Total cap savings after the cuts= $1.4m. 

I wanted to keep Willy here since he has size and youth on his side and could become the 3rd QB next year behind McElroy.  He is worth keeping on the practice squad to develop but not worth a roster spot.



QB1: Sanchez- he’s one of the most entrenched starters in the league and developing into a fine leader (and slightly above average QB)

QB2: Brunell- one more year as a clipboard holder before retiring and giving the #2 job to McElroy

QB3: McElroy- high IQ game manager who should one day challenge for a starting job in the league

Practice Squad: Drew Willy- He might be a perfect practice squad player- not good enough for a team to pluck and give a roster spot too, but enough athleticism and upside to intrigue as a long term prospect.


2011 cap implications (assuming 2009 rules):

Sanchez: $17.75

Brunell: $1.3

McElroy: $487k

Total QB cap hit: $19.537m

QBs as a % of total cap (using $128m, the figure in 2009, as a benchmark): 15.6%.  Sanchez is really expensive, but what are you gonna do, not pay your young franchise quarterback?  I think the stability and leadership he brings to the offense pays for itself.  Having continuity at the HC, OC, and QB is critical to NFL success.

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