|Joe Namath thinks Gang Green already has their franchise quarterback: Mark Sanchez. (Getty Images)|
By Ryan Wilson
The Jets are reportedly one of the dozen or so clubs interested in Peyton Manning. One team official told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman that the impression is that Manning has narrowed his list to Miami, Washington and Denver, although, ultimately, the front runner will be the team that offers the most guaranteed money.
As for the Jets, they seem like an odd fit for a couple reasons: there's the belief in the media that Peyton wouldn't want to play in the same town as brother Eli (we're not convinced but we'll include it here anyway). Then there are the locker room issues that came to a head in Week 17 and torpedoed the team's playoff chances. Or as CBSSports.com Pete Prisco tweeted Thursday:
If Peyton Manning went to Jets, he'd be one instilling discipline since there is none.
3/8/12 12:45 AM
Prisco, it turns out, isn't alone in this opinion. Former Jets great Joe Namath feels similarly.
“The Jets have to get things together on their own turf before someone with his background would be interested in coming,” Namath told Bloomberg News in a telephone interview.
The team's official response?
“We appreciate Joe and he is entitled to share his opinions,” spokesman Bruce Speight told Bloomberg News in an e- mail.
It's worth noting that former Jets running back Curtis Martin and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski both think Manning makes a lot of since for the Jets.
“That’s a great opportunity,” Martin said in late January in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com. “I’m not saying anything against Mark Sanchez, but Peyton Manning … I have a lot of respect for the guy. I played against him for a number of years. I wouldn’t care who was on my team -- if Peyton Manning was available, I would go after him.”
A month later, during a radio appearance, Jaws echoed Martin's sentiments: "I love Mark Sanchez and there are 25 other quarterbacks in this league that I would take Peyton Manning over. There’s a turf war in New York. The Giants just won the Super Bowl. The Jets are fighting for every inch of space they can get in the newspaper. How do you get that inch? How do you get the headlines? You sign Peyton Manning.”
Meanwhile, Namath, the only quarterback to lead the Jets to a Super Bowl win, thinks the franchise quarterback is already on the roster.
“These guys — the Jets — thought Sanchez was a championship quarterback. Has that suddenly changed now?” Namath told Metro New York. “I haven’t heard that. Let them come out and say it. I haven’t heard that and I don’t think they should.”
A day after the season ended ingloriously in Miami, head coach Rex Ryan announced that Sanchez was his starter in 2012 -- partly because a team can't talk about acquiring other team's players, but also because we think that some part of Ryan actually wants to believe it.
“Mark’s going to be around awhile," Namath continued. "His demeanor was angry last year with all the things going on behind the scenes. His feelings were clearly hurt. I hope they work through all that because I’m rooting for him. But I don’t see Peyton coming to the Jets."
We're not yet sold on Sanchez as anything more than a system quarterback, although we suppose he could grow into the franchise player the Jets envisioned when they traded up to get I'm in 2009. For now, however, here's our question: if, as Namath points out, the Jets are too crazy for Manning, one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, what chance does Sanchez have to succeed?
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