Pennington holds key to franchise

It is imperative that the Jets re-sign Chad Pennington, who is entering the final year of his contract.

Updated: August 16, 2004, 11:11 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com Insider
Training camps have finally arrived. ESPN.com senior writers John Clayton and Len Pasquarelli are traveling the country to bring you the latest news on all 32 NFL teams.

The Jets were 12-9 over the past two seasons when Chad Pennington started at quarterback, and 3-8 when he didn't. In his 21 starts, the New York offense rated among the top dozen in the league. In the other 11 games, the unit was statistically in the bottom quartile of the NFL.

So if you are looking for a pretty bad-case scenario, it would be that Pennington sustains an injury like the broken left wrist which sidelined him for the first seven games of the '03 season. And if you are seeking the absolute worst-case scenario, it would be that the Jets fail to re-sign Pennington, who is entering the final year of the original NFL contract he signed as a first-round pick in 2000.