The New York Jets have gone back and forth on the matter of what to do with Mark Sanchez ever since he suffered a labral tear in his right shoulder against the New York Giants in an Aug. 24 preseason game. There had been rumors about Sanchez getting season-ending surgery after consulting with Dr. James Andrews about his shoulder, and just as many people opining that Sanchez was happy with his rehab process and was looking to return sooner than later.
Finally, on Saturday, the Jets announced a compromise. Sanchez was placed on the league's Injured Reserve, Designated to Return list. He will be eligible to return to practice after six weeks, and he can be placed on the active roster eight weeks from now. The earliest he could potentially see the field would be Nov. 17 against the Buffalo Bills, the week after the team's bye.
"If we didn't think it was realistic that Mark would get back on the field, we'd put him on injured reserve, and that's not the case," Rex Ryan said on Friday when he was asked about Sanchez's progress. "He's doing a great job in rehab. Our doctors and trainers are pleased."
"That's his opinion. It's not about a company line," Ryan said Friday. "If that's what he said, that's his opinion. Again, there is that ongoing competition. I never said he won the competition."
Sanchez is due an $8.5 million salary in 2013, and that's guaranteed no matter what happens. The Jets can more easily offload the rest of the onerous five-year, $58.25 million contract extension he signed in March, 2012. He's due a $2 million roster bonus, and in the end, the current posturing between the two sides is mere preamble to Sanchez's inevitable release before that roster bonus comes due.
Smith threw three fourth-quarter interceptions in the Jets' 13-10 Thursday loss to the New England Patriots, but looked fairly consistent in his regular-season debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an 18-17 last-second win for the Jets. Sanchez has completed 1,028 passes in 1,867 attempts for 12,092 yards, 68 touchdowns, and 69 interceptions in his NFL career. The Jets, under the auspices of new general manager John Idzik, selected Smith in the second round of the 2013 draft.