Mark Sanchez has been the quarterback of the New York Jets since the 2009 season, leading the team within a game of two Super Bowls and winning 33 games in the process. A potential torn labrum, though, would give the Jets the perfect excuse to move on from a player that has done more bad than good over the last two seasons.
Chris Mortensen reports (via ESPN News Services) that Sanchez will seek a second opinion on his throwing shoulder after an MRI revealed a partially torn labrum. Sanchez injured the shoulder in the team's third preseason game against the New York Giants and hasn't played a snap since.
Sanchez was even seen throwing left-handed prior to the Week 1 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a game where Geno Smith proved that he could replace Sanchez. The Jets won 15-14 thanks to some late-game heroics by kicker Nick Folk, and Smith's solid (yet unspectacular) performance should signal to the Jets that there is such thing as life after Sanchez.
Head coach Rex Ryan has been committed to Sanchez since the beginning. To his credit, he had plenty of reason to after Sanchez led the Jets to two-straight AFC Championship games. But then, everything seemed to fall apart for the Jets.
A depleted offensive line and lack of weapons on offense has led to a 14-17 record for Sanchez over the past two seasons and, even prior to his shoulder injury, his status as team leader and starting quarterback were in question.
Now that he's out (at least for the time being), the Jets have the excuse they need to move on from the joke that Sanchez has become. That may seem harsh, but let's be honest here. Sanchez has quickly become the laughing-stock of the NFL (see: "Butt Fumble"), and the Jets organization desperately needs a new face.
Whether that face is Smith or somebody else remains to be seen but, with a Week 1 win, Ryan and the upper management of the Jets should realize that life after Sanchez isn't going to be a drag. There are quarterbacks that can win games in New York, even if they aren't the most flashy or productive of guys. As long as Smith can manage games and limit turnovers, he can have at least a decent career in New York.
A torn labrum would allow the Jets to test the waters of a full season without Sanchez, as it would be highly unlikely that he could return this season after tearing a major ligament in his shoulder.
If having success without Sanchez comes to fruition over the first few weeks of the season, then the Jets should look to release him and his $8.25 million guaranteed salary—something that has been speculated over the past week, via Scooby Axson of SI.com.
Ridding themselves of Sanchez would free the team of the stigma that they aren't a successful franchise, while also signaling to the rest of the league that they're ready to move on and compete. Another team would more than likely give Sanchez a shot as a backup quarterback, but it would be hard to see a team giving him a shot at a starting spot.
If the past two seasons have proved anything, it's that Sanchez isn't capable of leading an NFL team.