And just like that, the Sanchise is over.
Mark Sanchez is done for the season, with the Jets announcing Tuesday their fifth-year quarterback has had shoulder surgery for an injury suffered in the third game of preseason. The surgery not only shelves Sanchez for the season but could also spell the end for his career in New York for what was always going to be his swan-song season with the Jets.
In mid-September, Sanchez was placed on the injured reserve list with a designation for return but he likely won’t ever be seen in Jets green and white again.
“Obviously Mark, like the rest of us, was wanting to get back and contribute as a player for this team. Unfortunately, the doctors said it was probably best that he had the surgery and that’s what we did,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “He was doing everything he could to get back out. Certainly that was the opportunity this organization wanted to provide for him — to get back out there and playing. As it went on, it became clear, the doctors told us that the surgery was the best option.”
Ryan said the decision to not put Sanchez on the season-ending IR was because the Jets “were trying to give Mark every opportunity to play.”
He has a salary-cap friendly number next year, which would make him an enticing option to be cut, just two years into the contract extension he signed last March. With rookie Geno Smith developing and showing promise, the Jets will likely cut their losses with a quarterback who was drafted to lead the team for the next decade.
The past two years, Sanchez has regressed in his pocket presence and decision-making ability, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns in 2012 in his fourth year in the league.
It is now clearly Smith’s team, especially after an efficient win on Monday night in Atlanta included a two-minute drill at the end of the game to set up the game-winning field goal by Nick Folk. With no possibility of a Sanchez return, there is zero competition for Smith to maintain his starting job.
“I really don’t think Geno approaches it like that. I think he understands that nothing is for granted,” guard Willie Colon said. “The weight of New York on his shoulders, this ball club is on his shoulders. He has to prepare and be competitive like Mark was still on his heels. I’m impressed with how far he’s come. He had a great game on Monday night.”
Jets notes …
»The Jets announced that linebacker Antwan Barnes was designated for injured reserve following an injury suffered on Monday night. A team source tells Metro New York that the injury is an ACL tear.
“That’s a tough loss too. Antwan — talk about an underrated player,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t just the production he had, it was the production he caused.”
»In a practice squad move, defensive tackle T.J. Barnes was signed on Wednesday and nose tackle Junior Aumavae was released.
»After missing the past two games with a hamstring injury, cornerback Dee Milliner stretched but did not practice on Wednesday. In addition, Clyde Gates (knee) did not practice in a move that Ryan called a precaution.
»A 16-of-20 for 199 yards and three touchdown performance in Monday’s win was good enough to garner Smith the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week honors. In a Wednesday conference call with members of the New York media, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was impressed with the Jets’ rookie quarterback and specifically the two-minute drill orchestrated by Smith to set up the game-winning field goal.
“He struck me as a guy who was very even-keeled emotionally, somewhat of a flatliner,” Tomlin said. “I think it lends itself to that position because of the roller coaster ride that people can have, teams can have. I just think his personality is geared towards delivering in those moments.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.