After drafting Geno Smith, Jets GM John Idzik says any of the quarterbacks on his team's roster could be the starter next year, not guaranteeing Mark Sanchez the gig - or even a spot on the team.
Smith, who many expected to be the first quarterback off the board, fell to the second round, leading to many an awkward shot of Smith waiting to be selected Thursday night. Despite having Sanchez, who has been the starter for the past four seasons, the Jets seized the opportunity to grab the West Virginia signal caller. But selecting Smith, who threw for over 4,000 yards in Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid his junior and senior seasons, immediately sparked conversation about what type of role he'd have with the Jets with Sanchez the incumbent starter. Idzik said that's up for grabs:
John Idzik said it will be open QB competition with Sanchez, Smith and everybody. Refused to guarantee Sanchez will be on team. #Jets— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) April 27, 2013
It's a bold move to say that a guy who seemed like a franchise quarterback just a few seasons ago isn't even guaranteed a roster spot going forward, but its a testament to the dire situation the Jets have at quarterback.
Last year, the Jets' passing offense was one of the worst in the league: 30th out of 32 in completion percentage, yards per game and interceptions. It was an unmitigated mess, with Sanchez performing dismally in his fourth year in the league, completing just 54.3 percent of his passes and tossing 18 picks against just 13 touchdowns. And with first-round pick turned religious figure turned backup quarterback turned punt protector Tim Tebow on the roster, there were constant calls for Tebow to start. Although when Sanchez was benched at the end of the season, it was former-Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy - not Tebow - who got the opportunity to start. Now, Sanchez is a lightning rod for criticism, despite a No. 5 selection in 2009 and back-to-back AFC Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010.
The situation would easily be solved, but a contract blunder led to Sanchez getting $8.25 million this season and for the next four. Idzik says the team could cut Sanchez, but it seems unlikely considering the massive amounts of money and cap space dedicated to him over the next few years.
Smith completed 71.2 percent of his passes in college with 42 touchdowns and only six interceptions, leading the nation's No. 2 scoring offense in 2012. He has a strong arm and his completion percentage speaks to his accuracy, but questions remain about his consistency and his ability to make reads in a less pass-heavy system. It should be noted that Sanchez was also an amazing college quarterback, completing 65.8 percent of his passes with 34 touchdowns and ten interceptions his senior year.
The Jets also have former Jacksonville Jaguars starter David Garrard and Matt Simms, son of former Giants quarterback Phil, on the roster.