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Thursday, January 30, 2014
Ex-Jets: Time for team to boot Sanchez

By Rich Cimini

NEW YORK -- The New York Jets soon have to make a decision on quarterback Mark Sanchez. Based on an informal poll of former players-turned-analysts (including ex-teammates) on "Radio Row" at Super Bowl XLVIII, it's a no-brainer:

Sanchez has to go.

Sanchez
"Nothing against Mark, but his time in New York is over," said Tony Richardson, who played with Sanchez on the 2009 and 2010 playoff teams. "For Mark and the organization, it's time for a fresh start. He deserves a fresh start. It would be hard to put people in the stands if you go back to the table with Mark."

Bart Scott, another former teammate from the playoff years, said a Sanchez-Geno Smith competition (essentially, a repeat of 2013) would create problems in the locker room.

"Sanchez has to be the star because he's still in his prime," said Scott, who believes the Jets should pursue Matt Schaub, who could be released by the Houston Texans. "Schaub understands where he's at in his career. He's a gate keeper. Sanchez thinks he can play for another eight, nine years. That created a tension."

Anthony Becht never played with Sanchez, but he follows the team closely and said, "It's time to move on. If somebody wants him in a trade, fine. If not, just cut him."

The Jets have to make a decision by March 25, when a $2 million roster bonus is due. Sanchez is signed for three more seasons, but his cap charge ($13.1 million) is prohibitive. Chances are, they will part ways with their former starter, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. They could try to trade him (that would mean renegotiating the contract) or, failing a trade, they can just release him to save $8.3 million against the cap.

"I can't imagine Mark Sanchez will be back with this team," said former NFL MVP Rich Gannon, who worked several Jets games for CBS. "A lot of players go through it. I had to go somewhere and get a new start. ... I don't think he'll want to come back and be a backup and I don't think you can run him out as a starter. I think his cap number will prevent him from being part of this team."

Former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer said Smith "is just better than Sanchez. Throwing-wise, I think Geno has a bigger arm. Geno is a better decision-maker even though he has made some bad decisions. I just don't think you bring Mark Sanchez back. You move on. He had his time here. He had a lot of opportunity to play. If you think he's going to get better ... I don't."