This is looking more and more like an unlikely scenario, because everyone is saying he will probably be staying with the Jets now, but there is a chance that Chad Pennington will be playing somewhere else next season. (And it's probably still a pretty good chance, because you can't really believe what anyone in sports says anyway.)
The problem is, Pennington is going to be making a lot of money, too much to be a backup. There may be some restructuring of a contract going on, there may be a chance he beats out Kellen Clemens for the starting job in training camp next year (instead of being handed the job as he was this year), or there's a chance that's all talk, and Pennington will be gone come draft day. Let's assume the Jets move him (and here's where I stand if that happens: Wherever Pennington goes, I'll be rooting for him. He's been nothing but a professional in whatever situation he's been in with the Jets...he's a class act. Even after he had hoped he would be moving on, and heard that he might be back with the Jets - it's really out of his hands what happens - his line was, "If I'm with the Jets, I'll be the best Jet I can be."). Here's what I have worked out as the likeliest scenarios of where Pennington would end up:
It's unlikely, but not impossible, for Pennington to end up with one of these teams. He's so respected around the league, I get the impression, that any of these teams, which are pretty set at quarterback, would love to have him, at the right price, as a backup, in case they lose their star, then they would have a legitimate leader to step in and take his place:
New England (Tom Brady), Indianapolis (Peyton Manning), Green Bay (Brett Favre, then Aaron Rodgers), Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger), New York Giants (Eli Manning), San Diego (Phillip Rivers), Dallas (Tony Romo), Seattle (Matt Hasselbeck), New Orleans (Drew Brees), Jacksonville (David Garrard), Denver (Jay Cutler), Cleveland (Derek Anderson or Brady Quinn), Cincinnati (Carson Palmer), Tennessee (Vince Young), Arizona (Matt Leinart), St. Louis (Marc Bulger), Oakland (JaMarcus Russell), and Washington (Jason Campbell).
That leaves 13 teams (not counting the Jets) that could use some help at quarterback, and in a year where the free agent class is pretty weak, Pennington might be an attractive option (which is why it might be a leverage thing that the Jets are saying he's coming back next year).
Here are the teams that would likely make a play for Pennington.
Miami - The Dolphins need a quarterback. So that's number one. Secondly, Bill Parcells is there now, and he drafted Pennington with the Jets. He likes players he's familiar with. I think this is a pretty strong option. The only issue is the 'in the division' factor. (And the fact that earlier today, word came out of Miami that Trent Green was Parcells' man next year........but things change....and people lie.)
Kansas City - The Herman Edwards connection. The Chiefs' QB position was a disaster last year. Edwards and Pennington teamed up for three playoff appearances, and by all accounts, still get along.
Chicago - The QB position is just about the only reason this team isn't a playoff contender year after year.
San Francisco - QB issues out west - Mike Nolan dressed down his quarterback of the future, Alex Smith, and he didn't take it well. Pennington's arm, which isn't strong, wouldn't be a big deal in the land of Joe Montana and the West Coast Offense.
Baltimore - Starting fresh, and a new quarterback would help change the face of the offense.
JUST PLAIN POSSIBLE
These teams aren't definites or out-of-the questions...they're just possibilities.
Buffalo - Trent Edwards stole J.P. Losman's job - but is he blowing anyone away? Losman probably won't be back with Buffalo - he is in the same boat as Pennington, but has flat-out asked to be traded. This is unlikely, though, because of the division factor, and they wouldn't be willing to give up as much, most likely, as Miami.
Houston - They're kind of set with Matt Schaub, but when he went down, it was Sage Rosenfels. You'd probably feel better with Pennington coming in in that situation.
Philadelphia - Word is, now, that Donovan McNabb isn't going anywhere either (do you believe it?). But if he does, Pennington would be a good replacement. He's coming from New York, which is as close as you can get to the scrutiny of Philly.
Minnesota - This way he'd be backed up by Brooks Bollinger again.
Detroit - Jon Kitna didn't make many friends with their disastrous end to the season. They are undergoing a lot of changes in the coaching ranks...wouldn't be surprised to see a bunch of players gone, too...or brought in.
Atlanta - Need to change everything - why not Chad Pennington at quarterback?
Tampa Bay - Unless they're married to Jeff Garcia.
Carolina - They learned this year that a few extra quarterbacks never hurt.
Just so I'm on the record - If Chad Pennington is back with the Jets, and he's playing, they will be better than this year (can't be much worse). The protection needs to be better, and the run game needs to be better. And I'll love it. But I think with the Jets' current state, he's probably better off going somewhere else and getting a fresh start.
ONE MORE SOB STORY: I know I've been laying it on thick with the 'woe is me' stuff lately, but I think I have a right, since it's Giants-Patriots in the Super Bowl. That's almost worst-case scenario for a Jets fan. But I just want to say - here's the difference between the Jets and the Giants. The Giants have a Doug Brien moment, and their kicker misses two field goals, what happens? He gets the chance to redeem himself and connects. The Jets have their Doug Brien moment, and they actually get Doug Brien, and it's heartbreak after heartbreak. That just about sums it up right there.