Say goodbye to the Sanchize

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Don't listen to the spin emanating from One Jets Drive. The Quarterback Decision came down to this:

Their lack of faith in Mark Sanchez was greater than their love for Geno Smith.

If they considered Smith a franchise quarterback, the New York Jets would've taken him with their first pick, ninth overall.

If they were convinced he'd be a step below elite, they would've stopped his infamous slide with their second pick, 13th overall.

But, no, they waited overnight and waited seven picks into the second round Friday night before making The Pick Heard 'Round the World.

A second-round quarterback is the NFL version of the ultimate hedge bet. There's a long list of second-round flops, but the Jets were willing to take the chance because they're so, so down on Sanchez.

Now Rex Ryan might have to get that infamous tattoo removed from his arm.

They're mulling the possibility of cutting Sanchez, eating his $8.25 million guarantee and taking a massive salary-cap hit. This would be like the New York Mets sending off Jason Bay, except it's rare -- and stunning -- for an NFL team to swallow this much money.

Oh, by the way, they're also considering another year for Tim Tebow, another insult to Sanchez.

What next? Are they going cancel Sanchez's security code at the team facility?

Owner Woody Johnson, once so smitten with the golden boy from Southern California, got tired of watching fumble after fumble. He might not be a football expert, but Johnson knows a quarterback isn't supposed to run into the rear end of an offensive lineman.

Let's be real, Sanchez is done in New York. If the Jets keep him into training camp, we'll know it's a charade, just like the Darrelle Revis charade that lasted three months. Sanchez is finished.

Frankly, they should cut him now. It's the right thing to do for him and for the team, although maybe not for Johnson's bank account.

It wouldn't be a shock if Sanchez is handed a pink slip on Saturday.

Only two years ago, the Jets were reveling in Sanchez's play, thinking they had solved their quarterback situation for a decade.
He won four road playoff games and reached two AFC Championship Games in his first two seasons.

Ryan thought so much of Sanchez that he honored him (kind of) with body art, a tattoo of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey.
Now the coach and the quarterback are on the verge of breaking up.

"Change happens," said Ryan, speaking in general but knowing he's about to attach himself to another young gun.

If they cut Sanchez -- when they cut him -- the Jets probably will take a $12.35 million cap hit. Add in the cap charge for the departed Revis, and you're talking about $25.35 million in ghost money -- 20 percent of the salary cap devoted to two players no longer on the team.

The Jets deserve some blame here. They contributed to Sanchez's downfall by allowing his supporting cast to slip into a state of decay, by hiring a coordinator (Tony Sparano) that didn't know quarterbacks and by bringing in Tebow.

Instead of building around him, like the Miami Dolphins are doing with Ryan Tannehill, the Jets put Sanchez on an island. He didn't respond well, not at all, and the Jets started falling in recent weeks for Smith.

Is he the answer? Anybody who watched Smith struggle in the snow last December in the Pinstripe Bowl knows he's no Russell Wilson. He's talented, yes, but also inconsistent.
He's a system quarterback. He fumbled 32 times in his career, although none were forced by a lineman's backside.

If Smith is so good, why did no fewer than five quarterback-needy teams pass on him? If the Jets didn't take him at 39, he might have dropped into the third round.

General manager John Idzik was a member of the Seattle Seahawks' front office last season when they found Wilson in the third round. He's hoping the once-in-a-lifetime pick can happen two years in a row. Many are skeptical of Smith.

"He's a second-round guy," said an opposing personnel director, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "He's best holding the clipboard for a little."

It'll be very little. The Jets might as well prep him to start in 2013 because it's already a lost year -- i.e. rebuilding. It'll be Smith versus Garrard in training camp, just like it was Tannehill versus Garrard last preseason in Miami.

Johnson wants marquee value at the quarterback position. It's why he got Brett Favre in 2008, why he traded up for Sanchez in 2009 and why he traded for Tebow.

Now the boss has a new toy. That should keep the fans mildly interested during the losing that will inevitably occur. The Jets have six quarterbacks, which means they have none.

"Six?" an NFC scout asked incredulously. "That makes it a mess, doesn't it?"