Thursday, September 12, 2013
Analysis: Sanchez's days in NY appear over
By Rich Cimini
Takeaways on the news that New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has a labral tear in his throwing shoulder and likely will have surgery at some point, as reported by ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen:
1. Turn out the lights: Sanchez's once-promising career with the Jets is effectively over. Even if he doesn't opt for immediate surgery, he'd be a candidate for injured reserve. He probably would have been released after the season anyway, but the injury all but cements it. He's signed through 2016, thanks to the three-year contract extension he received in March 2012; however, there's no guaranteed money left in the deal. New York can cut or trade him after the season with a minimal impact on the salary cap. He's due to count $13.1 million against the 2014 cap, but the Jets can reduce that figure by $8.3 million by unloading him before June 1. He's due to receive a $2 million roster bonus next offseason -- $2 million he'll never see.
2. Shaky QB situation: Now we know why the Jets signed journeyman Brady Quinn. Even though they called it a day-to-day issue, the Jets absolutely knew Sanchez had suffered a significant injury. The organization's credibility takes a hit here. In terms of the actual impact on the team, the Jets will play the season with rookie Geno Smith, Matt Simms and Quinn. They have a combined total of five career wins as starting quarterbacks. Clearly, the Jets are building for the future, not 2013. They're committed to Smith for the season. Even if Sanchez returns, he'll ride the bench.
3. What a shame: The organization should be embarrassed by the way it has treated Sanchez in recent weeks. Coach Rex Ryan made the irresponsible decision to insert Sanchez in the fourth quarter of a preseason game -- behind a bunch of scrubs on the offensive line. At that point, Sanchez was to be the opening-day starter. Ryan tried to rationalize the decision, saying he wanted to beat the Giants -- lame. To make it worse, owner Woody Johnson suggested recently that Sanchez should have protected himself on the play during which he was injured, intimating that the signal-caller was partially to blame. That's not how you treat players, especially a quarterback you're paying $8.25 million this season.
4. Star-crossed career: Early in his career, Sanchez had it all. He was known as "Sanchize," a handsome young quarterback in New York with a bright future. He won four postseason games in his first two years, and there were more big wins on the way. The Jets' 30-year search for the next Joe Namath appeared to be over, but the good times faded quickly. The front office did a poor job of maintaining Sanchez's supporting cast, and his performance in 2011 and 2012 regressed significantly. The low point came last Thanksgiving, with the infamous "Butt Fumble." As Mortensen reported, Sanchez conceivably could try to rehabilitate the injury in hopes of returning this season, but for what? At this point, he needs to think of his career, not the franchise that will surely discard him after the season.