If Peyton Manning becomes a Jet, the Mark Sanchez project is over.

The only shelter Mark Sanchez can find in New York from the angst directed towards him may or may not lie in the arms of Kate Upton. That’s why the Jets have been attached to Manning rumors ever since the regular season ended and it became clear the Colts would select Andrew Luck, and likely jettison their long-time Hall of Fame quarterback and state hero.

With that move inching closer to its inevitable conclusion today during a noon press conference, the talk of Manning coming to New York to start a city-wide quarterback sibling rivalry has grown.

Sanchez has been slow to mature both in the pocket as a consistent passer, and in the huddle as a leader, with the latter particularly glaring because of his deteriorating relationship with Santonio Holmes. A healthy Manning who’s operating at even 75 percent would then be more than just a significant upgrade at the most important offensive position. He’d be a fresh start.

At least one Jet who spoke to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News wants some freshness in a locker room that saw little more than turmoil in 2011.

From Mehta:

Less than two hours after word leaked out that the Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis was coming to an end, a prominent member of the Jets wondered what life would be like with No. 18 wearing green.

β€œI want him in New York,” a Jets player told the Daily News. β€œHe needs to be a Jet.”

The major hesitancy for the Jets will lie in their familiarity with this path. This is a franchise that spent on the reliable veteran just a few years ago when they brought in Brett Favre for one season in 2008, and he wasn’t reliable at all, leaving the Jets with a bunch of losses, interceptions, and penis pictures.

Manning comes with significant baggage because of his unique and unpredictable injury. Even if we entertain the best case scenario, that still only has Manning playing three years, and then the Jets will be starting over and developing the next Mark Sanchez, when they already have three years invested in this Mark Sanchez.

To do that, there needs to be complete confidence that Manning is the final piece needed for a Jets Super Bowl. And right now, that doesn’t exist.

And the rest…

  • Whether the Jets will win the mad dash for Manning that will officially start today about at 4 p.m. ET remains to be seen. But they will indeed be pursuing the four-time MVP. [Bob Glauber]
  • The New York Daily News’ back page was rather blunt. We wouldn’t expect anything less. [New York Daily News]
  • Even though the fine people of Indianapolis have had plenty of time to prepare themselves for the reality of Manning’s departure, this is still a highly emotional day. [Bob Kravitz]
  • Last night at the airport Manning was chillin’ in the car with the guy who’s set to cut him. They were smiling and jovial. [Sportsgrid]
  • Jerry Rice wants to see Manning land in the Bay Area. [San Francisco Chronicle]
  • The Cardinals will be another prime player, and if this spills into next week the structure of Kevin Kolb’s contract and his bonus that’s due on March 17 will force their hand. [Arizona Republic]
  • The Chiefs are a bit of a darkhorse in the Manning race, and that’s just the way they want it. [Arrowhead addict]
  • Is Reggie Wayne the key to landing Manning? He’s been Manning’s favorite target in Indy, and he’s a former Miami Hurricane who also lives in South Florida every offseason. [Omar Kelly]
  • The ideal situation for the Redskins is an even greater overhaul of the quarterback position that centers around Manning. With Manning added, Washington could still use an early pick (likely a second rounder) in April’s draft on a QB who has a high upside, but is still a bit of a project. Thinks Kellen Moore. [Hogs Haven]
  • And we end with likely one of the few non-Manning items we’ll have all week day: Chad Ochocinco once dated Kate Uton, not Kate Upton. [The Big Lead]