Mark Sanchez may be atop the Jets’ quarterback depth chart right now. But he may not be on the Jets’ quarterback depth chart at all in four months.
There’s increasing talk that if rookie Geno Smith looks good this summer, and if veteran David Garrard stays healthy, that the Jets will go into the season with Smith and Garrard as their top two quarterbacks, and go into the season without Sanchez at all.
Peter King writes at SI.com that it wouldn’t be surprising if the Jets traded Sanchez or cut him before Week One, while the New York Post reports that the Jets are smitten with Smith and view the starting quarterback job as Smith’s to lose. In fact, the Post‘s Brian Costello believes the only way Sanchez will be a Jet this season is if Smith simply can’t figure out an NFL offense by September and Garrard simply can’t stay healthy at age 35.
The problem, of course, is Sanchez’s contract, which guarantees him $8.75 million whether he’s on the Jets or not. But the Post suggests that the Jets might agree to eat about $6 million of that as part of a trade. No team would trade for Sanchez on his current deal, but some team might trade for Sanchez if the Jets are paying most of his salary.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has said that Sanchez will get the first snap of the first practice with the first-string offense, and that after that, it’s an open competition for the job. But the competition with Smith and Garrard will be a tough one for Sanchez to win. And if he doesn’t win, he may be done in New York.