Good as gone?
IT'S ABOUT THE FUTURE
He's the reason why Mark Sanchez won't ever play for Gang Green again.
When the Jets invested a second-round pick in the talented quarterback from West Virginia this April, they did so with the intention of Smith wrestling away the starting job from Sanchez and hopefully developing into their quarterback of the future.
Now, as Smith prepares to make his debut against the Buccaneers on Sunday, the Jets have no reason to turn back to the embattled Sanchez. It would only hinder the franchise in its path back to contention.
From the benching of Sanchez to the drafting of Smith, the Jets have made it clear that their relationship with Sanchez is not for the long haul. If Sanchez were their quarterback of the future, the team would have drafted an upgrade for one of many other positions that need fixing.
While Sanchez is the better quarterback at the moment, the Jets have nothing to gain by going back to him. They are not financially tied to him after this year. This means there's no guarantee he's on the roster in 2014.
The Jets organization hasn't shown Sanchez any loyalty since last year's benching. Now's not the time to start.
The starting quarterback isn't going to make any difference this year. They won't make the playoffs. Playing Sanchez only stunts Smith's development. The smart move is to give Smith as many reps as possible so he can develop quickly.
Eight months from now, when the Jets are likely picking in the top 10 of the draft -- again -- and with a whole season of Smith under their belt, Gang Green will be better able to judge what they have under center.
LEAST WORST OPTION
If the New York Jets had their druthers, they'd turn Mark Sanchez into this year's version of Tim Tebow, marginalizing him to the point where he's just a clipboard-carrying fixture on the sideline. They want to be done with Sanchez and his $8.25 million salary, but the salary is guaranteed. And so is this: Sanchez will play again for the Jets.
At some point during the season -- probably not this month, maybe not next month -- the Jets will turn their desperate eyes to Sanchez. Not because they want to, but because they'll have to. Such is the state of their quarterback position.
Freshly-minted starter Geno Smith won't play 16 games, not a chance. The law of averages says he'll either hit a prolonged slump or get hurt. Hey, he's a rookie on a mediocre team, a marriage that will experience its share of rocky moments in the first year.
The Jets have the option of replacing Smith with veteran journeyman Brady Quinn, whom they just signed, but even owner Woody Johnson could tell you that Quinn isn't better than a healthy Sanchez. Quinn is Sanchez without the résumé -- a glamour quarterback from a big school, drafted in the first round.
Here's the difference: Quinn's career record as a starter is 4-16, which means he has as many regular season wins as Sanchez has playoff victories. Throw in the fact that Quinn just arrived and doesn't know the playbook and not even the Jets -- known for dumb decisions at quarterback -- could justify Quinn over Sanchez.
Make no mistake, the Jets have fallen out of love with Sanchez, their onetime golden boy. But there will come a point when they have to grin, bear it and play him.