Geno Smith is heading to New York, and Mark Sanchez may be on his way out.
The Jets added another high-profile quarterback Friday, drafting the West Virginia standout Smith in the second round. That gives them an even bigger logjam at QB, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the team will consider cutting Sanchez, its high-priced starting QB.
Sanchez, who got a five-year, $58.25 million contract in March 2012, will make $8.25 million this season whether he plays or not. He counts $12.85 million toward the salary cap this season, and that amount would be reduced by only $500,000 if the Jets cut him, but next year’s hit would be only $4.8 million.
But the Jets may be willing to eat that contract. Sanchez, the team’s first-rounder in 2009 who led the Jets to consecutive AFC championship game appearances, has struggled mightily the past two seasons. The Jets’ passing offense ranked 30th in the NFL last year, with Sanchez completing 54.3 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions for a 66.9 QB rating as the Jets missed the playoffs. New York reportedly tried to unload his contract on Tampa Bay in the Darrelle Revis trade.
Sanchez’s brother Nick, who’s also his agent, told ESPN that his brother was informed of the Jets’ intention to draft Smith. Asked if Mark still wants to be a Jet, Nick replied in a text message, "I haven’t asked him that question yet. He will comment at a later time."
With the addition of Smith, the Jets have six QBs on their roster, including Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms and veteran David Garrard, who signed earlier this offseason.
According to Schefter, both Tebow and Garrard have impressed those high up in the organization this offseason, with the former showing up slimmer and with improved mechanics and the latter shaping up to be an ideal mentor to a young quarterback like Smith.
However, Tebow struggled in limited action in his first season in New York, while McElroy has been a career backup, Simms has yet to play in the NFL, and Garrard hasn’t played since 2010.
“I’m coming in with intentions to compete,” Smith said. “We’ll see where it goes from there.”
Smith, who owns almost all of West Virginia’s passing records, gets rid of the ball quickly, but has had some accuracy problems. He can make completions on the run and is capable of making big plays, something the Jets sorely lacked last season.
Smith threw for 11,662 yards, including back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons, 98 touchdowns and only 21 interceptions in four years at West Virginia. The Miami native had dinner with new Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg before the draft, and Mornhinweg reportedly raved about Smith to Ryan and general manager John Idzik.
”I had pretty good meetings with them and when I visited, it went well,” Smith said. ”But, as you can see, nothing is really 100 percent. Right now, I’m just proud to be a Jet and I’m ready to get to work.”