It seems more than likely that the Jets can't and should not be content going into 2013 without adding another QB from somewhere. Sanchez may have to be kept on the team because of his guaranteed contract, or not, but there is more than ample evidence to suggest that relying on Sanchez alone is a recipe for disaster.
The consensus both here and elsewhere seems to be that there are no QB's in the 2013 draft that can help the Jets in 2013. The Jets may take a QB somewhere, but even if they do, the Jets can not depend on anyone from the draft to start next year.
Finally, the Jets now have 2 games to see what they have in McElroy. We're all interested to see how he does, and we would all love to see him play great and fill the void. But its just not very realistic. The fact is that he is a 7th Rd pick who has been active for 1 game and has just a few passes on his NFL resume. Its possible he will be the answer, but he probably isn't.
So given these assumptions, which are all likely, the Jets will have to add a veteran QB from somewhere, either in FA or in a trade. In doing this, the Jets simply are not in a position to spend a great deal, even though the QB position is of primary importance. They just don't have the cap room, they will have a great deal of positions to fill in the offseason, and they are already on the hook for over $10mil to the QB position, even in the best case that Sanchez is traded to another team that will pick up part of his salary.
So lets take a quick look at some of the veteran QBs that will probably be available and try to identify which one the Jets should target. But we need to be realistic about it. The QB in question needs to be available and affordable.
1) Michael Vick. Career passer rating: 80.7 2012 passer rating: 79.2
Pros: This is the lone QB that is available and may be somewhat affordable that is a dynamic player and can win games on his own. He had a miserable 2012, but that can largely be explained by the total collapse of the Eagles OLine. In coming to the Jets, Vick would have an above average OLine, with a strength in pass protection. Obviously, he is an elite athlete, and the Jets would be acquiring the most dynamic QB they have had since Namath.
Cons. He is prone to turnovers, especially fumbles, and for this reason he is not a good fit with the Jets overall philosophy. He is also a pretty serious medical risk and had to sit out the entire 2nd half of this year with concussion issues. Finally, some fans will simply object out of hand because of his past crimes, and there is no doubt that Vick would bring added attention and controversy to the team, something the Jets have had an overabundance of.
Still, all of these negative issues are reasons why the Jets may be able to afford him in the first place. Vick still owes millions and absolutely needs to go to the bidder with the highest offer. The Jets just may be able to land him on a short term deal.
2) Alex Smith. Career passer rating: 79.1 2012 passer rating: 104.1
Pros: The 2005 no. 1 pick in the draft was this close to being forever labeled as a colossal bust before his career was rejuvenated to some extent by Harbaugh and the excellent 49er team. Smith took his team to the NFCC last year, and had a very good year this year before getting benched for the more dynamic Kaepernick. He seems like he would be a good fit as a game manager, having thrown only 5 INTs in 9 games this year.
Cons: He is widely seen as being a limited passer. He will also come with a $7.5mil contract, something the Jets can ill afford. Finally, the Jets will have to outbid other teams in terms of giving up draft picks.
3) Matt Moore. Career passer rating: 80.5 2012 passer rating: 96.6
Pros: Moore should be experienced enough at this point to be entering the prime of his care. He has had quite a good run with the Dolphins. He largely rescued their season last year, and looked very good in his lone significant appearance this year, against an excellent Jets pass defense. Finally, Moore would be a more affordable option than the above, and he will want to go to a team where he has a chance to start.
Cons: Moore's career overall has been inconsistent at best. He would be seen more as just a game manager, and the 2010 season, in which he threw 10 picks in 6 games for the Panthers is especially troubling.
4) Jason Campbell career passer rating: 82.5 2012 passer rating: 72.8
Pros: Cambell has had a pretty respectable career, with a passer rating averaging in the 80's for some pretty bad teams. He doesn't throw a lot of picks. He should also be maybe the most affordable player in the list.
Cons: This is a marginal player. His career completion percentage is 60.9, and he doesn't throw a lot of touchdown passes. In his limited appearances this year, he was horrible.
5) Kirk Cousins: Fans can forget it. There's no way the Jets can give up what Shanahan will demand.