Leave Sanchez behind?
PACK UP THE CIRCUS
The Jets finally did something right and put Tim Tebow out of his misery on Monday.
The only problem is, they should have sent Mark Sanchez packing, too.
Why prolong this charade?
The team has clearly given up on the Sanchize. That was obvious the moment Geno Smith's name was called Friday night. You don't waste the 39th overall pick on a quarterback if you believe in the one you've got.
It's not like Sanchez hasn't had time to prove himself in New York. He's been a starter for four years now. And he has regressed, rather than improved, committing a league-high 52 turnovers the past two seasons.
Last year he threw just 13 touchdown passes, with 18 interceptions, and had a passer rating of 66.9 -- the second worst in the NFL -- just barely above the Chiefs' Matt Cassel (who's since been released).
Dumping Tebow won't end the circus-like atmosphere surrounding this team. As long as Sanchez, a former first-round pick and matinee idol, is left twisting in the wind, the Jets will continue to draw intense scrutiny -- which a rebuilding franchise shouldn't want, and doesn't need.
It's time for a fresh start in Florham Park. Cut Sanchez loose now, and begin anew -- the gigantic salary-cap hit will be the same, no matter when you sever ties.
Let David Garrard take the reins for a little while. Or hand the keys to Smith from the start, throw him into the fire and see what he can do.
You've already seen what Sanchez can do.
Haven't you seen enough?
Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.
EXPERIENCE AND DURABILITY
Upon further review, the right call is to wait -- which is what the Jets intend to do. Despite Sanchez's well-documented issues, he remains the only experienced and durable quarterback on the roster. That makes him an insurance policy.
Ultimately, the Jets may enter the regular season with Smith and David Garrard as the top two quarterbacks, but have you checked Garrard's recent history? He hasn't played a single snap in two years, having undergone back surgery in 2011 and knee surgery last year.
A year ago, Garrard couldn't make it through the Dolphins' camp because of his knee. He's 35 years old. At some point, a football player's body starts to break down, even if he hasn't been hit in a couple of years.
How foolish would the Jets look if they cut Sanchez now only to see Garrard blow out a calf muscle in a training-camp practice? That would leave Smith and Greg McElroy, who has only one career start.
Let's be clear: The Jets want Smith to start, the sooner the better, and they'd like Garrard to be his mentor, kind of what Mark Brunell was to Sanchez. But it's worth keeping Sanchez, at least into the preseason. Another team could suffer a quarterback injury, and suddenly there could be some trade value for Sanchez.
Sanchez's contract ($8.25 million guarantee) is an albatross, but if another team is desperate, it might be willing to pick up some of that in a trade. No matter how it plays out, the Jets will get clobbered on the salary cap when they part ways with Sanchez. There's no avoiding that.
Will there be a quarterback circus in training camp with Sanchez, Smith, Garrard & Co.? Yeah, probably, but at least it would be all about football, meaning no Tim Tebow sideshow. It wouldn't be the ideal situation, but when you're a team without a proven quarterback, there's no such thing as ideal.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.