Indianapolis - The Jets have been generally supportive of Mark Sanchez as their quarterback of the present and future, but head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum sure did sound today like they'd consider Peyton Manning if he's on the free agent market.
Manning is still under contract with the Colts, but he will be released if the team doesn't pay out a $28 million bonus due on March 8. Manning has undergone four neck surgeries over the past two years, and did not play in 2011. He is currently rehabbing from his injuries, but it's uncertain whether he's able to return to playing football.
That said, the Jets said they would investigate any and all possibilities when it comes to quarterbacks - or any other positions, for that matter.
"Peyton's under contract to a different team, so I can't talk about him specifically," Ryan said today at the NFL's annual Scouting Combine. "With our organization, we'll look at everybody. In my opinion, we have the best cornerback in the history of football [in Darrelle Revis] and we're still looking at a million corners. That doesn't mean we aren't going to do our due diligence, regardless of the position.
"We'll do what's in the best interest of our organization," Ryan said. "That means we'll be prepared. We'll look at all the possibilities."
Tannenbaum, who orchestrated the 2008 trade for Packers quarterback Brett Favre, said he supported Sanchez and expected him to remain as the team's starting quarterback. But the general manager also said he would investigate all options.
"Mark's our starter. We're really excited about what we think he can do," Tannenbaum said. "He's won won a lot of games for us and we're excited about his future. With that said, just from a general standpoint, the day I got hired, I meant what I said - ‘every rock, every day.' There is a relentlessness about how we go about things and every day, we’re going to look for opportunities to improve the team, regardless of position. But as it relates to Mark, he's our starter. We feel great about him. He has to get better, but if you were interviewing Mark, he would tell you that and his competitiveness and his desire to be great gives us the belief that he’ll be a really good player for a long time."