The curious, confounding career of Mark Sanchez has ended in New York, less than five years after it began.
The decision to cut Sanchez comes only two years and four months after coach Rex Ryan made a clear and unequivocal vow regarding Sanchez’s tenure with the team.
“He’s going to be our quarterback for as long as I am here, which I hope is a long, long time,” Ryan said in November 2011. “We know we got the right guy.”
They still believed that after the 2011 season, signing Sanchez to a contract extension with so much guaranteed money over the first two years that there was no way out of the deal after a disastrous 2012, which included the infamous, nationally-televised “butt fumble” on Thanksgiving night. That same year, the Jets traded for Tim Tebow, an experiment that failed as badly as an experiment ever has failed since the day Peter Brady showed off his volcano to Marcia and her snooty friends.
Last year, Geno Smith became the de facto replacement for Sanchez via round two of the draft. But for a preseason shoulder injury during garbage time of the annual exhibition game against the Giants that Ryan seems to think actually matters, Sanchez would have played at some point in the season. He possibly would have been the opening-day starter.
Lost in the last three seasons is the fact that Sanchez won four postseason road games during his first two NFL seasons, beating Carson Palmer in Cincinnati, Philip Rivers in San Diego, Peyton Manning in Indianapolis (his final game there as a member of the Colts), and Tom Brady in Foxborough.
His exit allows the Jets to avoid $11 million in non-guaranteed compensation, making the 2009 top-five pick a free agent. And unless Mike Vick opts to wear Sanchez’s No. 6, it means that Ryan will have to alter a tattoo that’s nearly as notorious as Sanchez’s signature blunder into the backside of Brandon Moore.