The New York Jets Must Cut Mark Sanchez and Turn Franchise over to Geno Smith

Nick KostosContributor IMay 3, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 09:   Jason Babin #58 of the Jacksonville Jaguars forces  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets to fumble during the game at EverBank Field on December 9, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The New York Jets made a statement when they drafted West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the 39th overall pick in last weekend's NFL draft.

That statement? That they no longer have faith in incumbent signal-caller Mark Sanchez, once the organization's California golden boy.

And, you know what? For once, the Jets, their organization having degenerated into a veritable dumpster fire the past few seasons, are making the right decision.

But, that decision alone isn't enough. It's time for the Jets to finish the job, to extinguish at least part of the raging inferno that's enveloped their hopes and desires to become a perennial NFL powerhouse.

It's time for the Jets to cut ties with Sanchez and turn the franchise over to Smith.

That isn't easy for me to say, and it's because I've long been a Sanchez apologist.

In his first two seasons, 2009 and 2010, I saw him take the Jets to back-to-back AFC title games, and win four road playoff games in the process. After his disastrous 2011 campaign that saw him sputter down the stretch, leading to the Jets missing the postseason, I remained in the driver's seat on the Sanchez bandwagon.

Last summer, I told anyone that would listen that Sanchez was still "The Guy," that he would bounce back and qualify the Jets for the tournament.

Boy, was I wrong. In fact, given the Chernobyl-like catastrophe that was Sanchez's 2012 season, it would be hard to be more wrong than I was. 

In 2012, for the second consecutive season, Sanchez turned the ball over 26 times. 26 times! One of those turnovers was the infamous "Butt Fumble," which perfectly encapsulated his play over the course of the year.

When it comes to playing for the Jets, Sanchez should never take another snap. His confidence appears to be shot. The fanbase has turned on him in venomous fashion. By the end of 2012, he was a broken and beaten man, benched in favor of third-string quarterback Greg McElroy.

Because of this, I applaud the team's decision to draft Smith in the second round.

While the Jets didn't think enough of Smith to take him with either the ninth or 13th overall selection in the first round, they clearly like him better than Sanchez. Can you blame them?

Whether or not Smith is the immediate answer is immaterial. 

Frankly, Joe Montana wouldn't be able to succeed in an offense so utterly bereft of talent.

While I like running backs Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, I don't expect either to find success behind a below-average offensive line.

The pass-catchers are laughable. Santonio Holmes is coming off a season-ending Lisfranc injury, and Stephen Hill has hands of stone. Tight end Dustin Keller is off to Miami, and he's replaced by Jeff Cumberland, and if Cumberland is the answer, please, someone tell me what the heck the question is.

The point is, the Jets are going to be bad this season no matter who starts under center. Coach Rex Ryan could have the defense playing like an amalgamation of the 1985 Bears and 2000 Ravens, and they still wouldn't finish over .500, unless you're hoping to win 6-3 every week.

So, why not let Smith compete with David Garrard, signed earlier this offseason, for the starting job? Let Garrard mentor Smith, and allow Smith to take his lumps in what's already sure to be a "rebuilding" year.

Keeping Sanchez on the roster is completely counterproductive to the cause. He couldn't succeed with a better supporting cast, and he's supposed to have a bounce-back year with this team?

If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.

On Thursday, Sanchez showed up to Jets camp wearing a thin headband to hold his slicked-back hair. Now, guys are free to dress however they want. The NFL isn't a fashion show. You aren't awarded wins and losses based on your wardrobe. 

But, coming off two atrocious seasons where he's been criticized for decisions like posing for a GQ photo spread, Sanchez needs to know better than to wear a headband more suited for a European soccer player than an American football player. All it served to do is further promulgate the school of thought that Sanchez is a pretty boy. 

In New York, fans don't care if you're a rough and tumble, blue-collar type, or a pretty boy, as long as you win. Sanchez hasn't won. 

Remember when Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the best player in football, criticized Sanchez for his GQ shoot, calling it "embarrassing?" That should have told Sanchez something, but it didn't, and to me that's both unbelievable and unacceptable, and shows that Sanchez doesn't have a clue.

Now, there's the matter of Sanchez's contract, which is the main reason why former general manager Mike Tannenbaum lost his job.

If the Jets were to designate Sanchez as a June 1 cut, they would have to eat his $8.25 million salary and take a massive cap hit. 

I don't care about that. The Jets must do it. They must jettison Sanchez, and, like their rookie quarterback, the organization needs to take its lumps in 2013 and look to the future. 

This isn't a moratorium on Sanchez's career. He could very well find a new team in a market with less media scrutiny and potentially play decent football.

But he's done in New York. He knows it. The fans know it. The organization knows it. Everyone knows it.

It's now Geno time on Broadway.

All that's left is to make it official.

The Jets must cut Mark Sanchez.