Mark Sanchez is the odd-man out in Denver

Steve Nehf/Denver Post via Getty Images

The Broncos’ starting quarterback job was Mark Sanchez’ to lose.

Saturday night, it became painfully obvious that he lost it.

Sanchez was the third choice at quarterback for Broncos in their third preseason game Saturday — the one considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season, as starters play — for the most part — for the entire first half.

But Sanchez wasn’t taking the snaps in the first half, Trevor Siemien was, and when the second half started, he remained on the bench as rookie Paxton Lynch played.

Sanchez remained on the bench the whole contest. He didn’t even get a snap against the Rams’ third-string defense.

He isn’t injured, he’s out of favor.

So what are the Broncos going to do with their unplayable quarterback?

Well, considering that they can recoup $3.5 million of Sanchez's $4.5 million salary and the late-round draft pick they sent to Philadelphia in March, the most likely outcome is that he’s cut.

The Broncos could try to find a trade partner — the Tony Romo-less Dallas Cowboys might be interested in sending a low draft pick to Denver, and San Francisco coach Chip Kelly worked with Sanchez in Philadelphia — but it’s unlikely that any team would take on Sanchez's contract instead of waiting to sign them to their own terms.

No matter what the Broncos do with Sanchez, his time in Denver will be considered a disappointment.

Sanchez was handed the starting quarterback job for the defending Super Bowl champions this spring, and in a few months, he lost not only that role, but the backup job as well. And consider to whom he lost the jobs: Siemian has no career starts and was the unknown third-string QB behind Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler last year — his parents probably didn’t expect him to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, much less for the Broncos; and then, to add insult to injury, a rookie quarterback outplayed him and showed enough to be the backup quarterback.

It’s not like Siemian has thrown the cover off the ball. Saturday was his best preseason game, and he went 10-for-17 with a touchdown and an interception. There were some nice throws, yes, but there were also 10-yard outs that nosedived into the turf after eight yards — not exactly All-Pro stuff. Lynch completed fewer than half of his passes until the Rams’ third-string defense entered the game.

Somehow, Sanchez played worse than both. He had three turnovers in the Broncos’ first two preseason games, including two fumbles that were particularly in character.

And now the quarterback we all presumed would be the starter will in all likelihood be looking for a new start somewhere else.

Denver Broncos quarterbacks Trevor Simian (13) Mark Sanchez (6) Paxton Lynch (12) (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)