Several media outlets have reported that the Jets' new general manger John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan are ready to "move on" from Mark Sanchez. The move comes as a bit of a surprise since releasing Sanchez will cost the Jets against the salary cap, but it is the right move for all involved, especially Sanchez.
As a rookie in 2009, Sanchez played, well, like a rookie, during the regular season where he had 12 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions with a passer rating of only 63, but he saved his best for last. The Jets sneaked into the playoffs with a 9-7 record and won 2 road playoff games, ultimately losing to the Indianapolis Colts in the 2009 AFC Championship Game. That postseason, Sanchez threw 4 touchdown passes and 2 interceptions, with a passer rating of 93.
In 2010, the Jets again reached the playoffs as a wild card team, and again, Sanchez saved his best for last, winning two more road playoff games. This time, Sanchez threw 5 touchdowns and only 1 interception for a rating of 96. The Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game, 24-19, but the future looked bright for Mark Sanchez.
Having reached the AFC title game for two straight years, expectations were high for the Jets heading into 2011. At 8-5, the Jets looked to be headed for another wild card berth, but lost their final three games, finishing 8-8 and missing out on the postseason. Though Sanchez had his best season statistically, infighting and drama surrounded the team with Sanchez getting much of the blame for the disastrous finish.
There's really no need to rehash all that went wrong for the Jets in 2012 but the image of the Thanksgiving Day "butt fumble" against the New England Patriots serves as the metaphor. The Tim Tebow circus came to town, number one receiver Santonio Holmes missed most of the season and Sanchez regressed. All of this led to a 6-10 finish, the firing of general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who gave Sanchez a three year extension in March 2012, and the drafting of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in 2013. Pretty much everyone wanted Sanchez gone, but it didn't make sense for the Jets to release him given Sanchez's contract and the resulting salary cap implications.
Now it appears that the Jets are willing to release Sanchez regardless of the salary cap hit and I say, good for Mark Sanchez. When fans cheer your getting injured, as they did this preseason against the New York Giants, it is time to go. But as shown above, Sanchez has performed well under pressure, in fact, he played his best during those two postseasons which leads me to believe that he has "it" in him. Yes, he did not always play well and deserves blame for that, but he had a head coach who basically would just run the ball every down if he had his way and, more importantly, tell me who exactly Sanchez has had around him, especially last year.
What Sanchez really needs is to get his confidence back. If he could go to a team like New Orleans or Green Bay where he could sit and watch for a year or two, all while getting superior coaching, that would be an ideal situation for him. He is still young and given the overall quarterbacking situation in the NFL (see Matt Flynn's contract), someone will take a chance on a proven playoff performer.